First recorded (as “Sentimental Reasons”) by Deek Watson & His Brown Dots (1945).
Hit versions by The King Cole Trio (US #1 1946), Eddy Howard & His Orchestra (US #6 1947), Dinah Shore (US #6 1947), Ella Fitzgerald & Delta Rhythm Boys (US #8 1947), Sam Cooke (US #17/R&B #5 1957), James Brown (R&B #70 1976).
Also recorded by James Brown (1969), Linda Ronstadt (1986), Rod Stewart (2004).
From the wiki: “‘(I Love You) for Sentimental Reasons’ was written in 1945 by Ivory ‘Deek’ Watson, founding member of the Ink Spots, and William ‘Pat’ Best, founding member of the Four Tunes. The song was first recorded by The Brown Dots, a group Watson had first formed as the ‘New Ink Spots’ after he left the original group in a dispute. The original Ink Spots then filed a lawsuit to force Watson from using its name, resulting in Watson changing his ‘Ink Spots’ name, just barely, to ‘The Brown Dots’.
“The Brown Dots’ original recording of ‘Sentimental Reasons’ was first recorded and released in 1945 as the B-side of their second single, ‘Let’s Give Love Another Chance’. In 1946, it was released again – as an A-side – but it did not chart nationally.
First recorded (as “Leilani”) by Sol Ho’opi’i & His Novelty Quartet (1935).
Hit version by Bing Crosby (US #1 1937).
Also recorded by Harry Owens & His Royal Hawaiians (1938), Andy Williams (1959), Sam Cooke (1960).
From the wiki: “Harry Owens wrote the song in 1934 for his just-born daughter, Leilani. The name has a figurative meaning: Small Hawaiian children were carried on their parents’ shoulders like a lei (garland), so the name took on the meaning ‘heavenly child’.
“‘Leilani’ was first recorded in Hawaii by Sol Ho’opi’i & His Novelty Quartet in 1935, as the B-side of the Brunswick Records’ 78-rpm ‘Hawaiian Honeymoon’. The song was famously featured in the 1937 motion picture, Waikiki Wedding, for which its Bing Crosby recording won the Academy Award for Best Original Song with Crosby’s recording going on to become one of the top hits of 1937. The song made another film appearance in the 1938 comedy Cocoanut Grove (set in Los Angeles; not Hawaii), starring Fred MacMurray, performed by the song’s composer Harry Owens & His Royal Hawaiians.
First released by The Charleston Chasers (1929).
Hit versions by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra (US #2 1929), Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five (US #7 1929), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (US #8 1929), Fats Waller (US #17 1929 |1943), The Teddy Wilson Quartet (US #6 1937), Dinah Washington (R&B #6 1948), Johnnie Ray (UK #17 1956), Tommy Bruce & the Bruisers (UK #3 1960), Hank Williams, Jr. (C&W #1 1986).
Also recorded by King Cole Trio & Anita O’Day (1945), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957), Sam Cooke (1958), Leon Redbone (1975).
From the wiki: “With lyrics by Andy Razaf and score by Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller and Harry Brooks, ‘An’t Misbehavin” was created specifically as a theme song for the Razaf/Waller/Brooks Broadway musical comedy Connie’s Hot Chocolates. In a 1941 interview with Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, of The Jack Benny Show fame, Fats said the song was written while ‘lodging’ in alimony prison, and that is why he was not ‘misbehavin’.’
“The song was first performed at the premiere of Connie’s Hot Chocolates at Connie’s Inn in Harlem as an opening number by Margaret Simms and Paul Bass, and repeated later in the musical by Russell Wooding’s Hallelujah Singers. Connie’s Hot Chocolates transferred to the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in June 1929, where it was renamed to Hot Chocolates and where Louis Armstrong took over as orchestra director. The script also required Armstrong to play ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” in a trumpet solo, and although this was initially slated to only be a reprise of the opening song, Armstrong’s performance was so well received that the trumpeter was asked to climb out of the orchestra pit and play the piece on stage.
First recorded by Helen Jepson (1936).
Hit versions by Billie Holiday (US #12 1936), Sidney Bechet (1939), Sam Cooke (US #81 1959), Al Martino (UK #49 1960), The Marcels (US #78/UK #46 1961), Billy Stewart (US #10/R&B #7/UK #39 1966), Fun Boy Three (UK #18 1982).
Also recorded by Janis Joplin (1968).
From the wiki: “‘Summertime’ is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy, on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin. The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as ‘without doubt … one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote … Gershwin’s highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century.’
“Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period. Gershwin had completed setting Heyward’s poem to music by February 1934, and spent the next 20 months completing and orchestrating the remainder of the score for the opera.
First recorded (as “Frankie and Johnnie”) by Gene Greene & Charley Straight (1912).
First US recording by Al Bernard (1921).
Also recorded by Mississippi John Hurt (1928), Mae West (1933).
Popular versions by Ted Lewis & His Band (US #9 1927), Brook Benton (US #20/MOR #6/R&B #14 1961), Mr. Acker Bilk (UK #42 1962), Sam Cooke (US #14/MOR #2/R&B #4/UK #30 1963), Elvis Presley (US #25/UK #21 1966).
From the wiki: “The song ‘Frankie and Johnny’ (sometimes spelled ‘Frankie and Johnnie’; also known as ‘Frankie and Albert’ or just ‘Frankie’) was inspired by one or more actual murders. One took place in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1899 when Frankie Baker, a 22-year-old woman, shot her 17-year-old lover Allen (also known as ‘Albert’) Britt in the abdomen. The song has also been linked to Frances ‘Frankie’ Stewart Silver, convicted in 1832 of murdering her husband Charles Silver in Burke County, North Carolina. Popular St Louis balladeer Bill Dooley composed ‘Frankie Killed Allen’ shortly after the Baker murder case. The first published version of the music to ‘Frankie and Johnny’ appeared in 1904, credited to and copyrighted by Hughie Cannon, the composer of ‘Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey’.
“In 1934, John A. & Alan Lomax counted some 300 published versions in their American Ballads And Folk Songs. Comment of the Lomaxes: ‘No one has ever publicly heard the same version twice, unless from two convict performers who shared the same cell for years.’ These 300 variations begged for a doctorate’s degree paper, finally written by Bruce Buckley who makes a clear distinction between the Frankie & Albert’s following the St. Louis facts and the more popular fantasy variation, ‘Frankie & Johnny’, published in 1912.
First recorded (as “The Red Rooster”) by Howlin’ Wolf (1961).
Hit versions by Sam Cooke (US #11/R&B #7 1963), The Rolling Stones (UK #1 1964).
Also recorded by Willie Dixon (1970).
From the wiki: “‘Little Red Rooster’ (also ‘The Red Rooster’) is credited to arranger and songwriter Willie Dixon. It was first recorded in 1961 by blues musician Howlin’ Wolf in the Chicago Blues style. Sam Cooke adapted the song, sweetened it with additional instrumentation, and it saw achieve chart success in 1963 as a Top 40 and R&B hit.
“The Rolling Stones recorded ‘Little Red Rooster’ in 1964 with original member Brian Jones a key player in the recording. Their rendition, which remains closer to the original arrangement than Cooke’s, became a #1 record in the UK and is still the only blues song to reach the top of the British chart.
“The songwriter, Willie Dixon, would cover his own composition in a 1970 recording.”
First recorded by The Benny Carter Orchestra (1941).
Hit versions by Vaughn Monroe (US #1 1945), Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra (US #8 1945), The Modernaires (US #11 1945), Sam Cooke (US #81/R&B #25 1959), Bobby Vinton (US#1/UK #34 1963).
From the wiki: “‘There! I’ve Said It Again’ was written by Redd Evans and David Mann – popularized originally by Vaughn Monroe (with the Norton Sisters) in 1945, along with other charting versions by Jimmy Dorsey, and the Modernaires.
“Sam Cooke charted in lower reaches of the Hot 100 in 1959 with his arrangement. But, it was the late 1963 single release by Bobby Vinton that returned ‘There! I’ve Said It Again’ back to the top of the national charts. Vinton would remain #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks in January 1964 before being displaced by an import from England. ‘There! I’ve Said It Again’ gained the auspicious claim of being the last #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 before the Beatles’ scored their first #1 with ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, changing the course of music history – and dominating the Hot 100 the remainder of 1964.”
First recorded by Ray Noble Orchestra (1932).
Hit versions by Ruth Etting (US #16 1933), Ted Lewis & His Band (US #6 1933), Aretha Franklin (US #100 1962), Otis Redding (US #25/R&B #4/UK #26 1966), Three Dog Night (US #29 1969).
Also recorded by Little Miss Cornshucks (1951), Sam Cooke (1964), Tom Jones (1969).
Also performed by The Commitments (1991), Paul Giamatti & Andre Braugher (2000).
From the wiki: “‘Try a Little Tenderness’ is a song written by Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly, a British songwriting team who often collaborated with a third composer – in this case the American, Harry Woods. The song was first recorded on December 8, 1932 by the Ray Noble Orchestra (with vocals by Val Rosing) followed in early 1933 by Ruth Etting’s first charting version. The song quickly became a standard. Subsequent productions were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Frankie Laine, Earl Grant, Nina Simone, Etta James and others – including a discovery by Atlantic Records founder, Ahmet Ertegun: Little Miss Cornshucks.
Inspired by “Yeah Man” by Sam Cooke (1964).
Hit version by Arthur Conley, co-writer (US #2/R&B #2/UK #7 1967).
From the wiki: “‘Sweet Soul Music’ was written by Arthur Conley and Otis Redding, and was based on the Sam Cooke song ‘Yeah Man’ from his posthumous album Shake.
“J. W. Alexander, Sam Cooke’s business partner, sued both Redding and Conley for plagiarizing the melody. A settlement was reached in which Cooke’s name was added to the writer credits, and Otis Redding agreed to record some songs in the future from Kags Music, the Cooke–Alexander publishing enterprise. ‘Sweet Soul Music’ is an homage to soul music, with these songs mentioned in the lyrics: ‘Going to a Go-Go’, ‘Love is a Hurtin’ Thing’, ‘Hold On, I’m Comin”, ‘Mustang Sally’, and ‘Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa’.”
Originally recorded by Sam Cooke (US #7/R&B #2 1965).
Other hit version by Otis Redding (US #47/R&B #16/UK #28 1967).
Also recorded by The British Walkers (US #108 1967).
From the wiki: “‘Shake’ was a song written and recorded by Sam Cooke at the last session Cooke had before he meet his untimely death in December 1964. Posthumously released in 1965, ‘Shake’ reached the US Top 10, his last song to do so. Otis Redding would record his first cover of ‘Shake’ in 1965. A live version, from the 1967 album Live in Europe, would be released as a single in May 1967. Redding’s 1965 recording would later be elected to the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
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