Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Inspired by “Muskrat Ramble” by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five (1926).
Also recorded (as “Muskrat Ramble”) by Dean Martin (1950).
Popular version by Country Joe & The Fish (1967).

From the wiki: “‘Muskrat Ramble’ was written by Kid Ory and first recorded by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five (including Ory, on trombone) in 1926. The song served as the B-side to Armstrong’s first solo outing as a recording artist, ‘Heebie Jeebies’. In 2001, the heirs of Kid Ory launched a lawsuit against Country Joe McDonald, claiming that the music of ‘I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag’ constituted plagiarism of ‘Muskrat Ramble’. In 2005, courts ruled in McDonald’s favor primarily because the original 1926 recording had fallen into the public domain.

“Country Joe solo performance of the song on the stage of the 1969 Woodstock Festival was unexpected and unplanned; a stop-gap between two other performers. Country Joe reported being paralyzed by stage fright given the sheer size of the audience but then noticed that most of it was not paying any attention to him. ‘I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die-Rag’ was regularly broadcast into Hỏa Lò Prison (the ‘Hanoi Hilton’) POW camp, in North Vietnam, to American prisoners of war by their captors. The POWs later reported it actually boosted their morale as they sang along.”

Dean Martin, “Muskrat Ramble” (1950):

Country Joe & The Fish, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” (1967):

Country Joe McDonald, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” Woodstock performance (1969):

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