Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Quincy Jones

Human Nature

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Steve Porcaro (1983).
Hit version by Michael Jackson (US #7/MOR #2/R&B #27/CAN #11/BEL #12/NETH #11 1984).
Also recorded by Miles Davis (1985), Mike Porcaro (2017).

From the wiki: “‘Human Nature’ was written by Toto band member Steve Porcaro about a playground incident his daughter had at school earlier in the day. (A boy had hit her after she fell off the slide – Porcaro said ‘she asked [me] why?’ and he replied ‘it was human nature.’) Procaro wrote the song that night in a studio while the band was mixing their single, ‘Africa’, in another studio.

“Soon after, bandmate David Paich called Procaro one day to make a cassette tape of 2 songs David had written for Michael Jackson’s new Thriller album project, for someone to pick up for delivery. Procaro happened to use the cassette he recorded ‘Human Nature’ on, putting Paich’s songs on the opposite side and switching the labels to read Side-A. In a happy accident, the deck’s auto-playback kicked in while Jackson producer Quincy Jones was in his car listening to Porcaro’s cassette demo. Jones got to hear ‘Human Nature’ on Side B, and loved it.

Cast Your Fate to the Wind

Written and first recorded by The Vince Guarldi Trio (US #22/MOR #9 1962).
Also recorded by Quincy Jones (1963 |1971).
Other hit versions by Mel Torme (as “Cast Your Fate to the Winds” AUS #13 1964), Sounds Orchestral (US #10/MOR #1/UK #5 1964).

From the wiki: “‘Cast Your Fate To The Wind’ is a jazz instrumental with music composed and first recorded by Vince Guaraldi. It won a Grammy Award for Best Original Jazz Composition in 1963. Included on the album Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus, the title on the label contained a printing error and, at least some copies of the album, read: ‘Cast Your Faith To The Wind’, an unintentionally comic twist to the sentiment of the song.

“In Australia, a vocal version by Mel Tormé (with lyrics by Carel Werber) was a hit in 1963. In 1965 the British group Sounds Orchestral redirected the song away from jazz to more of a ‘nightclub sound’. That version attained #5 in the UK, #10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was #1 for three weeks in May 1964 on the US Easy Listening chart.

Killer Joe

First recorded by The Jazztet (1960).
Hit version by Quincy Jones (US #74/MOR #29/R&B #47 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Killer Joe’ was composed by tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, co-founder (with trumpeter Art Farmer) of the Jazz sextet ‘The Jazztet’. The Jazztet was ‘famous for nicely structured, precise yet soulful pieces and a swinging style,’ and benefited from having a set of strong compositions by Golson including ‘Killer Joe’ (reviewed as being ‘lean and mean, with Farmer’s muted horn in the lead and horns blowing softly over a bridge where the rhythm is suspended’). The Jazztet played at the Newport Jazz Festival in June 1960 and the first Atlantic City jazz festival two days later, and won Down Beat magazine’s ‘International Critics Poll New Star’ award in 1960 for Jazz groups.

“In 1969, Quincy Jones recorded ‘Killer Joe’ for the Walking in Space album. His production featured Ray Brown on bass and Grady Tate on drums. Released as a single, it charted in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970; also charting #47 on the R&B chart and #29 on the MOR chart.”

If I Ever Lose This Heaven

First recorded by Quincy Jones, with Minnie Ripperton, Leon Ware and Al Jarreau (R&B #74 1974).
Hit version by Average White Band (US #39/R&B #25 1975).

From the wiki: “‘If I Ever Lose This Heaven’ was co-written by Quincy Jones (‘It’s My Party‘), Leon Ware, and Bruce Fisher (‘You Are So Beautiful‘) for Quincy’s 1974 album, Body Heat.

“Ware, Minnie Riperton (whose 1975 album, Adventures in Paradise, Ware would produce and collaborate), and Al Jarreau were among the studio vocalists Jones used for the album.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Originally recorded by Big Maybelle (1955).
Also recorded by Roy Hall (1955).
Hit version by Jerry Lee Lewis (US #3/C&W #1/R&B #1/UK #38 1957).

From the wiki: “The origins of the song are disputed, but the writing is co-credited to singer/songwriter Dave ‘Curlee’ Williams and pianist, bandleader, and songwriter James Faye ‘Roy’ Hall. Big Maybelle made the first recording of it in March 1955 for Okeh Records, in a session produced by Quincy Jones.