First recorded (as “Happy Day”) by The Trinity Choir (1913).
Hit versions by The Edwin Hawkins Singers (recorded 1967 |US #4/UK #2/CAN #2/IRE #2/GER #1 1969), Glen Campbell (US #40/MOR #7/C&W #25/CAN #11 1970).
From the wiki: “The popular recording of ‘Oh Happy Day’ was a 1967 gospel music arrangement of an 18th-century hymn with an equally long long pedigree. It was written in the mid-18th century (‘O happy day, that fixed my choice’) by English clergyman Philip Doddridge, based on Acts 8:35 and set to an earlier melody (1704) by J. A. Freylinghausen. By the mid-19th century it had been given a new melody by Edward F. Rimbault, who also added a chorus, and the song was commonly used for baptismal or confirmation ceremonies in the UK and US. Hawkins’ new arrangement contained only the repeated Rimbault refrain, with all of the original verses omitted.
“The first known recording dates from July 17, 1913, on Victor 17499, by the Trinity Choir.
First recorded by Arthur Collins & Byron G. Harlan (US #1 1911).
Other hit versions by Billy Murray (US #1 1911), Prince’s Orchestra (US #3 1912), Bessie Smith (1927), The Boswell Sisters (1935), Louis Armstrong (1937), Bing Crosby & Connee Boswell (1938).
From the wiki: “‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ was written by Irving Berlin in 1911, one of his oldest compositions and his first major hit.
“It is believed by some (especially in New Orlean jazz and ragtime circles) that Berlin was writing about a real band and bandleader, which were popular at the time in New Orleans, and actually was known as Alexander’s Ragtime Band, after its leader, Alexander Joseph Watzke. Others regard the song as a sequel to ‘Alexander and His Clarinet’, which Berlin wrote with Ted Snyder in 1910 (and which was not a hit), with the newer composition telling the story of Jack Alexander, a cornet player and bandleader.
“‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ was first popularized in 1911 by Emma Carus, a big shouter from Chicago, who worked it into her local vaudeville act. (Her picture’s on the oldest sheet music edition.) The song was more widely introduced that same year by Eddie Miller and Helen Vincent performer in the Frolic of Berlin’s New York City ‘Friars Club’ chapter. In 1911-1912, no fewer than four of the first recordings of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ charted nationally, including #1 hits by Arthur Collins & Byron Harlon, and Billy Murray.
“The 1927 Bessie Smith cover of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ featured Coleman Hawkins on clarinet, Fletcher Henderson on piano, along with Joe Smith (cornet) Jimmy Harrison (trombone) and Charlie Dixon (banjo).”
First recorded (as “At the Darktown Strutters’ Ball”) by Six Brown Brothers (US #10 1917).
Other hit versions by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band (US #2 1917), The Jaudas’ Society Orchestra (US #9 1918), Ted Lewis and His Band (US #12 1927), Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers (R&B #7 1948), Lou Monte (US #7 1954), Joe Brown & the Bruvvers (UK #34 1959), Ted Mulry & His Gang (AUS 1976).
Also recorded by Coleman Hawkins (1933), Ella Fitzgerald (1936), Fats Waller (1939), Alberta Hunter (1978).
From the wiki: “‘Darktown Strutters’ Ball’ was written by Shelton Brooks. First published in 1917, the song has been recorded many times and is considered a Popular and Jazz standard. There are many variations of the title, including ‘At the Darktown Strutters’ Ball’, ‘The Darktown Strutters’ Ball’, and just ‘Strutters’ Ball’.
“The song was first performed in 1917 by Sophie Tucker in her Vaudeville routine. It was first recorded on May 9 that same year by the Six Brown Brothers, a comedic musical ensemble. The best-selling early recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was recorded on May 30, 1917. It would be this version that was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006.
First recorded by Charles Harrison (US #1 1913).
Other hit versions by Henry Burr (US #2 1913), The Three Suns (US #1 1947), Buddy Clark (US #1 1947), The Harmonicats (US #1 1947), Ted Weems & His Orchestra (US #5 1947).
Also recorded by Dropkick Murphys w/ Bruce Springsteen (2011).
From the wiki: “‘Peg o’ My Heart’ was written by Alfred Bryan and Fred Fisher. The song was inspired by the main character, Peg, in the very successful musical comedy of the time, Peg O’ My Heart, starring Laurette Taylor in the title role. It would be first performed publicly by Irving Kaufman in 1912 at The College Inn in New York City after he had stumbled across a draft of sheet music on a shelf at the Leo Feist publishing offices. ‘Peg o My Heart’ would be featured in the 1913 musical Ziegfeld Follies where it gained wide attention.
“The first recording of ‘Peg o’ My Heart’ was made by Charles Harrison, in July 1913. Henry Burr followed in August 1913 with his rendition. Both proved to be nationally-popular recordings. ‘Peg o’ My Heart’ saw a resurgence of popularity after WWII with numerous covers jockeying for popularity in 1947, including #1 recordings by The Three Suns, Buddy Clark, and The Harmonicats. In 2011, Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys would revive the song, with a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen.”
First recorded by The American Quartet with Billy Murray (1910).
Hit version by Eddy Arnold (C&W #15 1956).
From the wiki: “‘The Ballad of Casey Jones’ is a traditional song about railroad engineer Casey Jones and his death at the controls of the train he was driving. The song helped preserve the memory of Jones’ feat down through the years in its 40+ versions and enhanced Casey’s legendary status to the extent that he has even become something of a mythological figure like Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan to the uninformed. Soon after Casey’s death, the song was first sung by engine wiper and friend of Casey’s named Wallace Saunders to the tune of a popular song of the time known as ‘Jimmie Jones’.
“But Saunders never had his original version copyrighted, and thus there is no way of knowing precisely what words he sang. Illinois Central Engineer William Leighton appreciated the song’s potential enough to tell his brothers Frank Leighton and Bert Leighton, who were vaudeville performers, about it. They took it and sang it in theaters around the country with a chorus they added. But apparently even they neglected to get it copyrighted.
“Finally, with vaudeville performers T. Lawrence Seibert credited with the lyrics and Eddie Newton the music it was published and offered for sale in 1909 with the title ‘Casey Jones, The Brave Engineer’, and first recorded in 1910 by Billy Murray’s American Quartet.”
First recorded by Orquesta del Zoológico (1917).
Also recorded by Los Incas (1963).
Hit version by Simon & Garfunkel (US #18/AUS #1/GER #1 1970).
From the wiki: “‘El Cóndor Pasa’ (Spanish for ‘The Condor Passes’), written in 1913, was an orchestral piece originally performed in the operetta El Cóndor Pasa by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles, and based on a traditional Andean folk tune. It was first recorded in 1917 by Orquesta del Zoológico (‘The Zoo Orchestra’).
“In 1965, the American musician Paul Simon listened for the first time to ‘El Condor Pasa’ at a performance of the group Los Incas, who first recorded their version of the song in 1963, in Paris at the Théâtre de l’Est Parisien in a concert both Los Incas and Simon & Garfunkel both participated. Simon asked the band permission to use it, to which the band replied that the song was a melody belonging to Robles and arranged by Los Incas’ director Jorge Milchberg. However, when the song was released on the album Bridge Over Troubled Water only Simon was listed as the author. Also, Simon & Garfunkel had used without permission the Los Incas’ 1963 recording as their instrumental arrangement.
First recorded by Albert Clough (US #2 1911).
Other popular versions by The Peerless Quartet (US #1 1911), Oliver Hardy & Stan Laurel (1938), Mitch Miller (1961), Timi Yuro (MOR #15 1962).
Also recorded by Bing Crosby (1934).
From the wiki: “‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ was written by Leo Friedman with lyrics by Beth Slater Whitson. The song was published in 1910 and first recorded by Albert Clough in May, 1911. The Peerless Quartet recorded their version in November, 1911, topping the sheet music chart that year. The song was also comically sung by Oliver Hardy (with Stan Laurel playing the tuba) in the 1938 motion picture Swiss Miss.”
First recorded by Walter Scanlan (US #9 1915).
Other hit versions by Gene Austin (US #3 1928), Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (US #6 1936), Bing Crosby (US #14 1939), Sam Donahue & His Orchestra (US #5 1945), Tommy Edwards (US #26/R&B #27/UK #29 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Melancholy Baby’ was written by Ernie Burnett with lyrics by George Norton. The song was first publicly performed (as ‘Melancholy’) in 1912 by William Frawley (‘Fred Mertz’ on I Love Lucy, and ‘Bub’ on My Three Sons). According to IMDb:
‘[Mertz] was appearing at the Mozart Cafe in Denver, Colorado. He happened to visit a pub on Curtis Street, where he knew the proprietor. Knowing Bill was looking for a new song for his act, the proprietor directed him to the pub’s back room, where Ernie Burnett and George Norton were in the process of composing ‘My Melancholy Baby’.
‘Mertz introduced the song that very night at the Mozart Cafe. In the audience was writer Damon Runyon, well known for his drinking. After Frawley introduced the song, Runyan, drunk and maudlin, repeatedly called out ‘Get Frawley to sing ‘Melancholy Baby’!’ throughout the rest of the evening. Bill sang many encores. The comedy staple of a drunk requesting ‘My Melancholy Baby’ actually has a basis in fact.’
“Forty-five years later, Frawley would record ‘My Melancholy Baby’ in 1957, for his album Bill Frawley Sings the Old Ones.
First recorded by The Band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth Division (1914).
Most popular versions by Malcolm Arnold (as “The River Kwai March Theme” 1957), Mitch Miller (as “The River Kwai March/Colonel Bogey March” US #20 1957).
From the wiki: “The ‘Colonel Bogey March’ is a popular march written and first published in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts (under the pseudonym ‘Kenneth Alford’), a British Army bandmaster who later became the director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth. The first recording of the march was made in 1914 by the Second Batallion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. The tune was inspired by a military man and golfer who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase instead of shouting ‘Fore!’.
“‘Going round in bogey’, starting at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in 1890, was based on the phrase ‘bogey man’. Nationally, in the UK, golfers competed against ‘Colonel Bogey’, and this gave the title to the 1914 marching tune, ‘Colonel Bogey March’. By Edwardian times, the ‘Colonel’ had been adopted by the golfing world internationally as the presiding spirit of the golf course. ‘Bogey’ is now the golfing term meaning ‘one over par’.
First recorded by Dick Burnett (as “Farewell Song” c. 1913), Emry Arthur (1928).
Hit versions by The Stanley Brothers (1951 | 1959), Ginger Baker’s Air Force (C&W #36/UK #86 1970), Soggy Bottom Boys (C&W #35 2000).
Also recorded by Judy Collins (as “Maid of Constant Sorrow”) (1961), Bob Dylan (1963), Jerry Garcia (1993).
From the wiki: “‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ (also known as ‘I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow’) is a traditional American folk song first recorded in 1913 by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky, who published the song as ‘Farewell Song’. (Some uncertainty exists as to whether Burnett himself wrote the song. One claim is that it was sung by the Mackin clan in 1888 in Ireland and that Cameron O’Mackin emigrated to Tennessee, bringing the song with him.) Another early version was commercially released by Emry Arthur in 1928.
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