First performed by Johnnie Johnston (1942).
First released by Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra with Johnnie Johnston (1942).
Other hit versions by Judy Garland (1943), Margaret Whiting (US #10 1943), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1943), Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #16 1955), Louis Prima & Keely Smith (US #18 1958), Bobby Rydell (US #21/CAN #13 1961).
From the wiki: “‘That Old Black Magic’ was written in 1942 by Harold Arlen (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics). The two wrote it for the 1942 film Star Spangled Rhythm, when it was sung by Johnnie Johnston and danced by Vera Zorina. ‘That Old Black Magic’ was nominated for the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song’ in 1943 but lost out to ‘You’ll Never Know’ (from the movie Hello, Frisco, Hello).
First performed by Lucille Ball & Paula Stewart (1960).
Popular versions by Peggy Lee (1963), Rosemary Clooney (1963), Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney (1963), Judy Garland (1963), Louis Armstrong (1964).
From the wiki: “‘Hey, Look Me Over’ was from the 1960 Broadway musical Wildcat, and was first performed by comedy actress Lucille Ball in what was the only Broadway appearance of her career.
“Co-producer and writer N. Richard Nash had envisioned the main character of Wildy as a woman in her late twenties, and was forced to rewrite the role when Lucille Ball expressed interest not only in playing it but financing the project as well. Desilu, the company co-owned with Ball by her (soon-to-be ex-) husband Desi Arnaz, ultimately invested $360,000 in the show in exchange for 36% of the net profits, the rights to the original cast recording (ultimately released by RCA Victor), and television rights for musical numbers to be included in a special entitled Lucy Goes to Broadway, a project that eventually was scrapped. Ball also was permitted to choose her leading man. Kirk Douglas’s salary demands and heavy film schedule eliminated him from the running. Gordon MacRae, Jock Mahoney, and Gene Barry were also considered before Ball selected Keith Andes.
First performed (in Meet Me in St. Louis) by Judy Garland (1944).
Popular recorded versions Judy Garland (1944), by Frank Sinatra (1957), Barbra Streisand (1967), The Pretenders (1987), Sam Smith (2014).
From the wiki: “‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, was introduced by Judy Garland in a poignant moment in the 1944 movie musical Meet Me In St. Louis. When presented with the original draft lyric, Garland, her co-star Tom Drake and director Vincente Minnelli criticized the song as depressing, and asked Martin to change the lyrics.
“Though he initially resisted, Martin made several changes to make the song more upbeat, e.g. the lines ‘It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past’ became ‘Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight’. Garland’s version of the song, which was also released as a single by Decca Records, became popular among United States troops serving in World War II; her performance at the Hollywood Canteen brought many soldiers to tears.
First released by The Larry Clinton Orchestra feat. Bea Wain (US #10 1939).
Other hit versions by The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1939), Judy Garland (US #5 1939), Bob Crosby & His Orchestra (US #2 1939), The Demensions (US #16 1960), Patti LaBelle & The Bluebells (R&B #20 1966), Eva Cassidy (UK #42 2001), Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (US #22 2002).
From the wiki: “‘Over the Rainbow’ (often referred to as ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, with music by Harold Arlen (‘Stormy Weather‘, ‘Blues in the Night‘) and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. Arlen came up with the melody while sitting in his car in front of the original Schwab’s Drug Store in Hollywood. Harburg hated it at first because he thought the tempo was too slow. After Arlen consulted with his friend, Ira Gershwin, he sped up the tempo and Harburg came up with the lyrics. A lot of effort went into the first line. Ideas that didn’t make the cut included ‘I’ll go over the rainbow’ and ‘Someday over the rainbow’.
First performed and recorded by Ukulele Ike (US #1 1929).
Also performed by Judy Garland (1940).
Most familiar version performed by Gene Kelly (1952).
From the wiki: “‘Singin’ In the Rain’ is a song with lyrics by Arthur Freed and music by Nacio Herb Brown, published in 1929. However, it is unclear exactly when the song was written; it has been claimed that the song was performed as early as 1927.
“We do know it was first performed by Doris Eaton Travis in the 1929 revue The Hollywood Music Box Revue. The song became a hit and was recorded on disc by a number of artists, first and most notably by Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards) on May 28, 1929, in Los Angeles, for Columbia Records. Edwards would also perform the number on-screen with the Brox Sisters in the early MGM musical The Hollywood Revue of 1929. The song was also performed on film by Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily (1932), and by Judy Garland in Little Nellie Kelly (1940).”
Originally recorded by The Vipers Skiffle Group (1957).
Also recorded by Judy Garland (1964), and The Beatles (1969).
From the wiki: “Banned by BBC Radio on its release because of the sexual content of the lyrics, ‘Maggie May’ (also known as ‘Maggie Mae’) is a traditional Liverpool folk song about a prostitute who robbed a ‘homeward bounder’: a sailor coming home from a round-trip. The song specifies several real streets in Liverpool, notably Lime Street in the center of the town.
“The Vipers Skiffle Group formed in the spring of 1956 in central London, originally as a trio of singer-guitarists, including future radio and TV personality Wally Whyton. The group became the resident band at the 2i’s Coffee Bar in Soho. After a number of hit records produced by future Beatles producer George Martin, including Whyton’s song ‘Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O’, the group split up in 1960, and Whyton moved into television work. (Martin would later comment that working with the Vipers gave him important experience in working with an ‘informally trained but enthusiastic group of musicians.’)
First performed by William Gillespie (1941).
First released by Artie Shaw & His Orchestra (US #10 1941).
Other hit versions by Woody Herman & His Orchestra (US #1 1941), Dinah Shore (US #4 1942), Cab Calloway (US #8 1942), Rosemary Clooney (US #29 1952).
Also recorded by Judy Garland (1941), Chicago (1995).
From the wiki: “The song was first performed by William Gillespie, in the movie Blues In The Night, and was nominated for an Academy Award.
“Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer wrote the entire score for Blues in the Night. When they finished writing ‘Blues in the Night’, Mercer called a friend, singer Margaret Whiting, and asked if they could come over and play it for her. She suggested they come later because she had dinner guests — Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Mel Tormé, and Martha Raye. Instead, Arlen and Mercer went right over. Margaret Whiting remembered what happened then:
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