Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Sea Cruise

Written and first recorded by Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns (1959).
Hit version by Frankie Ford (US #14/R&B #11 1959).

From the wiki: “Ace Record’s biggest act in 1958 was Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and the Clowns, who had scored with ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia And the Boogie Woogie Flu’ and ‘Don’t You Just Know It’ and were chart in early 1959 with ‘Don’t You Know Yockomo’. Huey and his Clowns had cut two sides, “Sea Cruise” and ‘Loberta’, which Ace owner Johnny Vincent considered to have hit potential, but he felt both recordings needed some improvement.

“Vincent called Frankie Ford to the studio to overdub his voice onto Huey Smith’s backing tracks, overdubbed new fog horns and boat bells to ‘Sea Cruise’ (and changed the title of ‘Loberta’ to “Roberta”). At one point it was planned that Frankie would take over as lead vocalist with the Clowns, but producer Joe Caronna stepped in and said, ‘Look, Huey’s doing fine right now with ‘Don’t You Know Yockomo’, why not release the record with Frankie?’.”

Frankie Ford, “Sea Cruise” TV performance from American Bandstand (1959):

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