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.)
Written and first recorded by Herbie Hancock (US #121 1962).
Hit versions by Mongo Santamaria (US #10/R&B #8 1963), Gloria Lynne (US #62/R&B #8 1965), Erroll Garner (US #40 1968).
Also recorded by Jon Hendricks (1963), Manfred Mann (1965), Herbie Hancock (1973).
From the wiki: “‘Watermelon Man’ was written by Herbie Hancock and first released on his debut album, Takin’ Off (1962) in a hard bop arrangement featuring improvisations by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and saxophonist Dexter Gordon. Hancock wrote the piece to help sell his debut album as a leader; the first piece of music he had ever composed with a commercial goal in mind. Hancock has described that, structurally, the composition was one of his strongest works due to its almost-mathematical balance.
“It was while Hancock was filling in for pianist Chick Corea in Mongo Santamaría’s band at a nightclub in The Bronx that Hancock played the tune for Santamaría at friend Donald Byrd’s urging. Santamaría started accompanying Hancock on his congas, then the band joined in, and the small audience slowly got up from their tables and started dancing. Santamaría later asked Hancock if he could record the tune. On December 17, 1962, Mongo Santamaría recorded a three-minute version, suitable for radio, and included the track on his album Watermelon Man (1962).”
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