Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Lee Marvin

Wand’rin Star

First recorded by James Barton (1951).
Hit version by Lee Marvin (UK #1/IRE #1 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Wand’rin Star’ was written by Alan Lerner (lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) for the stage musical Paint Your Wagon in 1951. The song was performed on stage by James Barton, in his original role of prospector Ben Rumson, and was first recorded by Barton in 1951. When the film of the musical was produced in 1969, Lee Marvin took the role of prospector Rumson.

“Not a natural singer, Marvin nevertheless sang all of his songs in the film, rejecting the idea of miming to another singer’s voice. Despite the film being a box office flop, the soundtrack became a success. Orchestrated and arranged by Nelson Riddle, Marvin’s version of the song ‘Wand’rin Star’ becoming an unlikely #1 single (for three weeks!) in Ireland and the UK for him, famously keeping The Beatles at #2 in the UK with their single ‘Let It Be’. Marvin never released a follow-up single, so he is classed as a ‘one-hit wonder’.”