Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jesse Stone

Don’t Let Go

First recorded by Roy Hamilton (US #12/R&B #2 1958).
Also recorded by The Four Seasons (1964), The Graham Bond Organization (1965).
Other hit versions by Mel Tillis & Sherry Bryce (C&W #11 1974), Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen (US #56 1975), Isaac Hayes (US #18/Soul #11 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Don’t Let Go’ was written by Jesse Stone, and was first a hit for Roy Hamilton (‘Unchained Melody‘) in 1958 before covers by Mel Tillis, Commander Cody, and Isaac Hayes charted in the 1970s.

“One of the more interesting of many cover recordings done of ‘Don’t Let Go’ was produced by The Four Seasons in 1964; very much against their archetypical sound. The 1965 cover by The Graham Bond Organization (including bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker) was one of the first Rock tracks to feature the Mellotron.

“Stone was the leader of a Jazz band during the 1920s that included Coleman Hawkins. In 1936, with the assistance of Duke Ellington, Stone was booked to perform at New York City’s famed Cotton Club, and would later become a staff arranger/writer at the Apollo Theater. He would go on to join Atlantic Records as songwriter and producer, where he wrote ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll‘ under the pseudonym ‘Charles Calhoun’, first recorded by ‘Big’ Joe Turner.”

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Originally recorded by “Big” Joe Turner & His Blues Kings (US #22/R&B #1 1954).
Other hit version by Bill Haley & His Comets (US #7/UK #4/AUS #18 1954).

From the wiki: “In early 1954, Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records suggested to Jesse Stone (writing under his assumed name ‘Charles E. Calhoun’) that he write an up-tempo blues for ‘Big’ Joe Turner, a blues shouter whose career had begun in Kansas City before World War II. Stone played around with various phrases before coming up with ‘shake, rattle and roll’. The shouting chorus on Turner’s version consisted of Stone, Ertegun and Atlantic’s other label executive, Jerry Wexler.

“The song, in its original incarnation, is highly sexual. [Among other salacious lyrics,] Stone stated that the line about ‘a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store’ was suggested to him by Atlantic session drummer Sam ‘Baby’ Lovett as an on-the-sly sexual reference. Turner’s recording was released in April 1954, reached #1 on the US Billboard R&B chart on June 12 and did not move for three weeks. It peaked at #22, nearly at the same time, on the Billboard Hot 100.