Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Deep Purple

First recorded (as an instrumental) by Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra (1934).
Hit vocal versions Larry Clinton & His Orchestra with Bea Wain (US #1 1939), Artie Shaw with Helen Forrest (US #17 1939), Billy Ward & His Dominoes (US #18/UK #30 1957), Nino Tempo & April Stevens (US #1/UK #17 1963), Donny & Marie Osmond (US #14/UK #25 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Deep Purple’ was the biggest hit written by pianist Peter DeRose, who broadcast from 1923 to 1939 with May Singhi as ‘The Sweethearts of the Air’ on the NBC radio network. ‘Deep Purple’ was first published in 1933 as a piano composition. The following year, Paul Whiteman had ‘Deep Purple’ scored for his suave orchestra that was ‘making a lady out of jazz’ and the song became so popular in sheet music sales that Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1938.

“Larry Clinton and His Orchestra recorded one of the most popular versions of the song, featuring vocalist Bea Wain. Released in January 1939 on Victor Records, the Clinton recording was #1 on the U.S. popular music charts for nine consecutive weeks. The next popular version from 1939 was recorded by Artie Shaw with vocalist Helen Forrest. Saxophone player Earl Bostic had an up-tempo instrumental hit with ‘Deep Purple’ circa 1951 as the B-side to ‘Flamingo’. In 1957, ‘Deep Purple’ was recast as a doo-wop classic by Billy Ward & His Dominoes.

“The second most-popular version, which also reached #1 on the US pop charts (the 100th song to do so), was recorded by brother-sister singers Nino Tempo & April Stevens. It remained in the Top 40 for twelve weeks and was #1 on the Hot 100 the week before John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Tempo-Stevens recording also won that year’s Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Record. Their version is notable for Stevens’ speaking the lyrics in a low and sweet voice during the second half of the song while her brother sings. According to the Billboard Book of Number One Hits, when the duo first recorded the song as a demo, Tempo forgot the words, and Stevens spoke the lyrics to the song to remind him. The record’s producers thought Stevens’ spoken interludes were ‘cute’ and should be included on the finished product.

“Another brother-and-sister team, Donny and Marie Osmond, revived ‘Deep Purple’ in March 1976 and took it into the Top 20, peaking at #14 of the Billboard Hot 100 (with Marie intoning the balmy lyrics during the break, as April Stevens had done in the Nino Tempo/April Stevens version).”

Larry Clinton with Bea Wain, “Deep Purple” (1939):

Artie Shaw with Helen Forrest, “Deep Purple” (1939):

Earl Bostic, “Deep Purple” (1951):

Billy Ward & His Dominoes, “Deep Purple” (1957):

Nino Tempo & April Stevens, “Deep Purple” (1963):

Donny & Marie Osmond, “Deep Purple” (1976):

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