Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Darktown Strutters’ Ball

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.

“Other popular or noted pre-WWII versions included recordings by the Jaudas’ Society Orchestra (1918), the Ted Lewis Orchestra (1927), Coleman Hawkins (1933), Ella Fitzgerald (1936), and Fats Waller (1939, as the flip side of ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby’).

“Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers charted on the R&B chart in 1948 with ‘Darktown Strutters’ Ball’, while Lou Monte scored a Top-10 pop hit with the song in 1954. The recording made in 1959 by UK singer Roy Brown & the Bruvvers was his first single to chart. Australian Ted Mulry recorded a Rock ‘n roll version of ‘Darktown Strutters’ Ball” that charted in Australia in 1976. Alberta Hunter also recorded the song on her 1978 comeback album Amtrak Blues (on Columbia). (The album would later be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2009.)

“Trivia: ‘Darktown Strutters’ Ball’ was heard in the background during one scene of the 1970 motion picture M*A*S*H, and also on the premiere TV episode of M*A*S*H* in 1972 (S01E01) … sung in Japanese. Also: The Beatles performed ‘Darktown Strutters’ Ball’ in their early Liverpool and Hamburg performances, though no recording has ever surfaced.”

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1917):

The Jaudas’ Society Orchestra, “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1918):

Ted Lewis and His Band, “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1927):

Coleman Hawkins, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1933):

Ella Fitzgerald, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1936):

Fats Waller, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1939):

Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1948):

Lou Monte, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball (Italian Style)” (1954):

Joe Brown & the Bruvvers, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1959):

Unknown, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (in Japanese) from M*A*S*H (1970):

Ted Mulry & His Gang, “” (1976):

Alberta Hunter, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1978):

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