Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Pointer Sisters

Wang Dang Doodle

First recorded by Howlin’ Wolf (1960).
Hit versions by Koko Taylor (US #58/R&B #13 1966), The Pointer Sisters (US #61/R&B #24 1973).
Also recorded by Savoy Brown (1971), Willie Dixon (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Wang Dang Doodle’ is a Blues song written by Willie Dixon and first recorded in 1960 by Howlin’ Wolf. In 1965, Dixon and Leonard Chess persuaded Koko Taylor to record it for Checker Records. Her recording, produced by Dixon, charted both R&B and Pop, and ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ has since gone on to become a Blues standard.

“In his autobiography, Dixon explained that the phrase ‘wang dang doodle’ ‘meant a good time, especially if the guy came in from the South. A ‘wang dang’ meant having a ball and a lot of dancing, they called it a rocking style so that’s what it meant to ‘wang dang doodle’.’ Dixon claimed that he wrote ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ when he first heard Howlin’ Wolf in 1951 or 1952, but that it was ‘too far in advance’ for him and he saved it for later. Wolf supposedly hated the song at first and commented, ‘Man, that’s too old-timey, sound[s] like some old levee camp number.’

Should I Do It

First recorded by Tanya Tucker (C&W #50 1981).
Other hit version by The Pointer Sisters (US #13 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Should I Do It’ was written by Nashville songwriter Layng Martine and was first recorded by Tanya Tucker in 1981. The Pointer Sisters covered the song with greater chart success in 1982, releasing it, after ”Slow Hand’, as their second single from Black and White (1981).”

Yes We Can Can

First recorded by Lee Dorsey (R&B #46 1970).
Hit version by The Pointer Sisters (US #11/R&B #12/AUS #86/NETH #25/ITA #30 1973).
Also recorded by Allen Toussaint (2005).

From the wiki: “‘Yes We Can Can’ was written by Allen Toussaint (‘Java‘, ‘I Like It Like That‘, ‘Whipped Cream‘) and was first recorded as ‘Yes We Can’ by Lee Dorsey on his 1970 album Yes We Can … And Then Some, co-produced by Toussaint.


First released by Robert Gordon (1978).
Also recorded by Bruce Springsteen (1978, released 2010).
Hit version by The Pointer Sisters (US #2/UK #34 1979).

From the wiki: “Bruce Springsteen envisioned ‘Fire’ as a song which could be recorded by his idol Elvis Presley. Springsteen would later say ‘I sent Elvis a demo of it but he died August 16, 1977 before it arrived.’

“Springsteen did complete a studio recording in 1978 of ‘Fire’ which was one of 52 tracks at least partially recorded which did not make the cut for Springsteen’s album Darkness on the Edge of Town because of thematic inconsistency. Springsteen likely had an especial concern that if included on Darkness on the Edge of Town ‘Fire’ would be Columbia Records’ single of choice despite it being non-representative of the overall album.