Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Bob & Earl

Gee Whiz

First recorded by Bob & Earl (1958).
Hit version by The Innocents (US #18 1960).

From the wiki: “‘Gee Whiz’ was one of two similarly-titled songs that charted in 1960. This version, written by Jeanne Vicki and Jimmie Thomas (the latter an alias for Chess Records owner Leon René), was first recorded in 1958 by Bob & Earl, Bobby Day (née Bobby Byrd) and Earl Nelson. Both authors had also collaborated earlier Day’s #1 hit ‘Rockin’ Robin’ in 1958. (Note: Day left the duo in 1960, and was replaced by Bob Relf. It was the Relf/Nelson ‘Bob and Earl’ who would go on to record ‘Harlem Shuffle‘ in 1963, Bob and Earl’s only chart success.)

“‘Gee Whiz’ was covered in 1960 by The Innocents, the group who had backed up Kathy Young on ‘A Thousand Stars‘, with a single that peaked in the US Top-20.”

Harlem Shuffle

Written and first recorded by Bob & Earl (US #44/R&B #44 1963 |UK #7 1969).
Other hit version by The Rolling Stones (US #5/UK #13/NZ #1/AUS #6 1986).

From the wiki: “Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson had both been members of The Hollywood Flames, a prolific doo-wop group in Los Angeles, California whose major hit was ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’ in 1958. By 1957, Byrd had started a parallel solo career, writing and recording for contractual reasons as Bobby Day. He wrote and recorded the original version of ‘Little Bitty Pretty One‘ (a hit for Thurston Harris), but had a hit of his own with ‘”Rockin’ Robin’ (1958). In 1960, Byrd and Nelson began recording together as Bob & Earl, on the Class record label.