Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Got My Mojo Working (But It Just Won’t Work on You)

First performed and released by Ann Cole with The Suburbans and Orchestra (1957).
First recorded by Muddy Waters (1957).
Also recorded by Louis Jordan (1957), Muddy Waters (1960).
Hit version by Jimmy Smith (US #51/R&B #18/UK #48 1966).

From the wiki: “Late in 1956 Ann Cole went on a short tour through the Southern states with Muddy Waters, during which she regularly performed a new song written by Preston Foster, ‘Got My Mo-Jo Working’. The song impressed Muddy Waters, who recorded it in December 1956 when he returned to Chess Records, adding some of his own words and allocating himself the songwriting credit. Ann Cole recorded her version of ‘Mojo’ in January 1957, with The Suburbans and Orchestra, for Baton Records, as the follow-up to ‘Are You Satisfied’. Both versions of ‘Mojo’ were released in the same week in April 1957.

“The song has been the topic of copyright litigation. Dare Records, holder of songwriter Foster’s copyright, and Arc Records, holder of the McKinley Morganfield (a.k.a. Muddy Waters) copyright, settled out of court, with Arc deferring to Dare’s copyright. The two versions are still separately copyrighted. Nonetheless, MCA/Chess Records has credited the song to Foster in more recent years.

“Muddy headed to England in 1958 and shocked audiences (whose only previous exposure to Blues had come via the acoustic folk/blues sounds of acts such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and Big Bill Broonzy) with his loud, amplified electric guitar and thunderous beat. His performance at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, recorded and released as his first live album, At Newport 1960, helped turn on a whole new generation to Muddy’s sound. Waters expressed dismay when he realized that members of his own race were turning their backs on the genre while a white audience had shown increasing respect for the blues.

“Waters’ rendition of ‘Got My Mojo Working’ was featured on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at #359 and it was also inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000. It has been included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The only recording of ‘Got My Mojo Working’ to reach the Billboard charts was a rendering by Jazz organist Jimmy Smith, which charted Top-20 R&B in the US and Top-50 in the UK in 1966.”

Muddy Waters, “Got My Mojo Working” (1957):

Louis Jordan, “Got My Mojo Working” (1957):

Muddy Waters, “Got My Mojo Working” live at the Newport Jazz Festival (1960):

Jimmy Smith, “Got My Mojo Working” (1966):

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