Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Georgie Fame

Yeh Yeh

First recorded by Mongo Santamaria (1963).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (UK #1 1964/US #21 1965), Matt Bianco (UK #13 1985).
Also recorded by Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan (1963), Hugh Laurie (2013), Diana Krall & Georgie Fame (2015).

From the wiki: “‘Yeh Yeh’ is a Latin Soul tune first composed as an instrumental by Rodgers Grant and Pat Patrick, and first recorded by Mongo Santamaría (‘Watermelon Man‘) on his 1963 album Watermelon Man. Lyrics were written for ‘Yeh Yeh’ shortly thereafter by Jon Hendricks for the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and recorded by them at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival.

“The vocal arrangement of ‘Yeh Yeh’ was taken to the top of the UK Singles Chart by Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (‘Peaceful‘), breaking The Beatles’ long-term hold on the #1 spot (five weeks, with ‘I Feel Fine’). A month later, ‘Yeh Yeh’ appeared on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart to peak at #21. (The US single edited out the saxophone solo break.)

Seventh Son

First recorded by Willie Mabon (1955).
Hit versions by Johnny Rivers (US #7/CAN #1 1965), Georgie Fame (UK #25 1969).
Also recorded by Mose Allison (1959), Willie Dixon, writer (1969).

From the wiki: “‘The Seventh Son’, also recorded as ‘Seventh Son’, was written by Willie Dixon and first released as a single by Willie Mabon on Chess Records in 1955 (with Dixon on bass). Dixon recalled (via, ‘The seventh son is part of the scriptures of the Bible. ‘The seventh son of the seventh son born on the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month.’ I was born in the seventh month and I was the seventh child of my family.’ In the same interview, Mose Allison, who covered the song in 1959, remembered, ‘I thought that was a great song of that type. One of the common things is to feel that you are supernatural sometimes. And most people have felt that at one time or another.’


Written and first recorded by Kenny Rankin (1967).
Also recorded by Bobbie Gentry (1968), The Friends of Distinction (1969), Kenny Rankin (1972).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame (UK #16 1969), Helen Reddy (US #12/MOR #2 1973).

From the wiki: “Early in his career Rankin worked as a singer-songwriter, penning songs for pop-jazz artists like Carmen McRae (‘My Carousel’), Peggy Lee (‘In the Name of Love’), and Mel Tormé (‘Haven’t We Met’). He developed a considerable following during the 60’s & 70’s with a steady flow of his own albums, three of which broke into the Top 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. (Rankin also performed session work for other Columbia Records artists. Among other sessions, he played acoustic guitar on Bob Dylan’s breakthrough disc Bringing It All Back Home.)

“He appeared on The Tonight Show more than twenty times. Host Johnny Carson was so impressed by him that he wrote the liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut album Mind Dusters, which featured the single ‘Peaceful.’ Kenny’s friend Helen Reddy would reach #2 on the MOR chart and #12 Pop in 1973 with her cover recording.

“Earlier covers of ‘Peaceful’ were recorded by Bobby Gentry and The Friends of Distinction. Georgie Fame (‘Yeh Yeh’) was the first artist to chart with ‘Peaceful’, in the UK in 1969.”