Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Rock the Joint

First recorded by Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians (R&B #6 1949).
Also recorded by Bill Haley & His Saddlemen (1952).
Other hit version by Bill Haley & His Comets (UK #20 1957).

From the wiki: “‘Rock the Joint’, also known as ‘We’re Gonna Rock This Joint Tonight’, is a boogie song first recorded by various proto-Rock and roll singers, most notably by Jimmy Preston and Bill Haley. Preston’s original 1949 version has been cited as a contender for being ‘the first Rock and roll record’; Haley’s 1952 recording is widely considered to be one of the first Rockabilly records (along with Haley’s cover of ‘Rocket 88‘).

“The song’s authorship is credited to Harry Crafton, Wendell ‘Don’ Keane, and Harry ‘Doc’ Bagby (who were musicians contracted to the Gotham label in New York, owned by Ivin Ballen). The song was influenced by earlier R&B recordings such as Wynonie Harris’ 1948 R&B hit ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight‘. Label owner Ballen passed the song on to Jimmy Preston, fresh off a hit with ‘Hucklebuck Daddy’ in 1949, who, with his Prestonians, recorded ‘Rock the Joint’ in Philadelphia in May 1949. Preston’s recording charted R&B Top 10 in 1949.

“Bill Haley & His Saddlemen had already achieved some success with their cover of Ike Turner’s (and/or Jackie Brenston’s) ‘Rocket 88‘ two years earlier, in 1950, and were looking for another hit. Haley was persuaded by his producer, Essex Records owner Dave Miller, to cover ‘Rock The Joint’, using made-up verses to appeal to Haley’s largely Country audience by naming a succession of Hillbilly dances (such as the Sugarfoot Rag and Virginia Reel) in place of the original Hucklebuck and Jitterbug dances. Haley’s recording is notable because it used a prominent percussive slapped bass, played by Marshall Lytle, and electric guitar licks by Danny Cedrone that would be duplicated three years later on Haley’s seminal recording, ‘Rock Around the Clock‘.”

“Although Haley’s version did not chart when released on Essex Records in 1952, it was enough of a hit in Chicago to win him a short residency in a Jazz club there. Haley re-recorded ‘Rock the Joint’ in 1957 for Decca Records, by which time Haley had renamed his band ‘Bill Haley & His Comets’ and had made Pop music history with ‘Rock Around the Clock‘. Haley’s 1957 re-recording charted in the UK but did not chart in the US.”

Bill Haley & His Saddleman, “Rock the Joint” (1952):

Bill Haley & His Comets, “Rock the Joint” (1957):

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