Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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(Do the) Mashed Potatoes

First recorded by Nat Kendrick & the Swans (US #84/R&B #8 1960).
Other hit version (as “Mashed Potatoes (U.S.A.)”) by James Brown (US #82/R&B #21 1962).
Also recorded (as “The Pastrami”) by The Dartells (US#11/R&B #15 1963).

From the wiki: “‘(Do the) Mashed Potatoes’ was first released as a two-part single in 1960. For contractual reasons the recording was credited to ‘Nat Kendrick and the Swans’ but was, in fact, recorded by James Brown with his band in 1959. The recording arose out of James Brown’s success in using the Mashed Potato dance as part of his stage show. (The dance moves vaguely resemble that of the twist.) Brown wanted to record a ‘Mashed Potatoes’-themed instrumental with his band in order to capitalize on the dance’s popularity. However, King Records head Syd Nathan, a frequent critic of Brown’s proposals, would not allow it.

“So, Brown approached Henry Stone, a friend in the music business who ran the Dade Records label, about recording the piece with him. Stone, although nervous about crossing Nathan (with whom he did business), arranged for Brown to record at his Miami studio and agreed to produce the session.

“‘(Do the) Mashed Potatoes’ was recorded with Brown playing the piano and shouting the song’s title. To prevent Brown’s voice from being recognized, Stone overdubbed shouted vocals by Carlton ‘King’ Coleman, a local Miami radio disc-jockey, onto the recording, although Brown’s voice remains audible in the background. Leadership of the band was officially credited to Nat Kendrick, who was Brown’s drummer at the time, while the writing was credited to ‘Dessie Rozier’, another pseudonym for Brown.

“Brown would follow-up the disguised recording in 1962 with an adaptation titled ‘Mashed Potatoes (USA)’. In that song, Brown asserts ‘Here I am and I’m back again,’ then states his plan to bring the mashed potatoes to the cities he will tour. He then name checks his itinerary, starting with New York City and ending with his home town, Augusta, Georgia.

“Both recordings charted on the Billboard Hot 100, while the single by Brown #1 (‘Nat Kendrick’) outperformed Brown #2 (James Brown) on the R&B chart in 1960 and 1961 respectively.

“The Dartells formed in 1962 while its members were Oxnard, CA, teens, and won local attention under the umbrella of manager/record producer, Tom Ayers. In 1963, they released a single titled ‘Hot Pastrami’, which was a takeoff of the original 1960 ‘Mashed Potatoes’ recording by Nat Kendrick & the Swans. It was the group’s only Top-40 hit.”

James Brown, “Mashed Potatoes (U.S.A.)” (1962):

The Dartells, “The Pastrami” (1963):

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