Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Lawdy Miss Clawdy

First recorded by Lloyd Price (R&B #1 1952).
Other hit versions by Elvis Presley (UK #15 1957), Gary Stites (US #47 1960), The Buckinghams (US #41 1967), Mickey Gilley (C&W #3 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ was an R&B song written by New Orleans singer/songwriter Lloyd Price (‘Personality’) that ‘grandly introduced The New Orleans Sound’ to the world according to music writer Rick Coleman. It was first recorded by Price in 1952, along with Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino backing Price for his first session with Specialty Records.

“In 1952, Art Rupe, founder of Specialty Records in Los Angeles, had come to New Orleans in search of new talent. Local recording studio owner Cosimo Matassa introduced him to Bartholomew, who had co-written and produced many of Fats Domino’s early hit records. Bartholomew invited nineteen year-old Lloyd Price to audition for Rupe at Matassa’s J&M Studio. The accounts differ on what happened next.

“According to Rupe, Price spent too much time rehearsing and Rupe threatened to leave if he did not get it together; Rupe then relented and Price turned out an emotional performance of ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, prompting Rupe to cancel his return flight and to arrange for a full recording session.

“Producer Dave Bartholomew (‘Blue Monday‘, ‘I Hear You Knocking‘, ‘My Ding-a-Ling‘, ‘One Night‘) used his backing band for the session (although the label billed the recording as ‘Lloyd Price and His Orchesta’). The first attempts at performing the song were not successful, reportedly because Bartholomew was dissatisfied with Salvador Doucette’s piano part. When Fats Domino arrived at the studio, he was persuaded by Bartholomew to sit in on the recording.

“After one run through, Bartholomew announced ‘OK, that’s it!.’ Although Domino had recorded several songs using his trade-mark piano triplets style, Price’s hit provided Domino with his greatest exposure up to that time. Lloyd’s melody was derived from Domino’s 1950 R&B hit ‘The Fat Man’, which Domino explained ‘came from an ol’ blues tune called ‘Junkers Blues’.

“‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ became ‘R&B Record of the Year’ for 1952 in both Billboard and Cashbox magazines; it also earned Price Cashbox’s ‘Best New R&B Singer of 1952’ designation. In 1995, it was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the ‘500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’. The song reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, where it spent seven weeks. According to label owner Rupe, the single sold nearly one million copies and record distributors reported that it was selling well outside of the usual R&B market but, still, it did not appear on the Billboard pop music charts.

“Price’s song has also been identified as one of the first rhythm and blues records to attract the attention of white Southern teenagers, among them Elvis Presley, who cut his own version four years later – one of many covers recorded by a variety of artists through the years. In 1958, Larry Williams, who had been Lloyd Price’s valet, reworked the song to become ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy‘.”

Elvis Presley, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (1957):

Gary Stites, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (1960):

The Buckinghams, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (1967):

Mickey Gilley, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (1976):

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