Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Vibrations


First recorded by The Erroll Garner Trio (1954).
Also recorded by Dakota Staton (1957).
Hit versions by Sarah Vaughn (US #106 1959), Johnny Mathis (US #12/R&B #10/UK #12 1959), Lloyd Price (US #21/R&B #11 1963), The Vibrations (US #63/R&B #26 1965), “Groove” Holmes (US #44/MOR #7/R&B #12 1965), Ray Stevens (US #14/MOR #8/C&W #3/UK #2 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Misty’ was written by Errol Garner in 1954 and first recorded for his 1955 album Contrasts. The song was later paired with lyrics by Johnny Burke and would becoame the signature song of Johnny Mathis. Garner’s recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991; Mathis’s version of the song was inducted in 2002.

“Lyrics to the song were written by Johnny Burke a couple of years later. According to Mary Burke Kramer:

‘[Johnny] had been working every day with his pianist, Herb Mesick, who was helping him put things down on paper. Herb had heard the melody to ‘Misty,’ and knew Erroll Garner, and was very fond of it. He told Johnny about it, but by that time, Johnny had made a decision not to collaborate anymore. After he and Jimmy Van Heusen had separated, on good terms, he had been working on his own writing both music and lyrics. Herb was very persistent. Whenever Johnny would enter the room, Herb would start playing the tune. Finally, Johnny said, ‘Alright, give me the damn music, and I’ll do it. So he went into the bedroom, and two or three hours later, he came out with the lyrics.’

Making ‘Misty’: The Legendary Johnny Mathis Recording, by Joe Manning, 2010

And I Love Her

First recorded (in an uptempo arrangement) by The Beatles (1964).
Hit versions by The Beatles (US #12/CAN #15/BEL #10 1964), Esther Phillips (as “And I Love Him” US #54/R&B #11 1965), The Vibrations (US #118/R&B #47 1966).

From the wiki: “‘And I Love Her’ was written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney) for the movie soundtrack of A Hard Day’s Night. It was composed in the music room in the basement of the house in Wimpole Street, London, which belonged to the parents of Jane Asher, Paul‘s then-current girlfriend. It is likely that Asher was the inspiration behind the song.

“The Beatles began recording the song on 25 February 1964. They recorded two takes that day, with a full electric line-up, but it was evidently not the sound they were after. The second take was later released in 1995 on Anthology 1. The group returned to it the next day, recording 16 takes and changing the song’s arrangement as they went along.

Hang On, Sloopy

First recorded (as “My Girl Sloopy”) by The Vibrations (US #26/R&B #10 1964).
Other hit versions by Little Caesar & The Consuls (CAN #1/US #50 1965), The McCoys (US #1/UK #5 1965), The Ramsey Lewis Trio (US #11/R&B #6 1965).
Also re-recorded by Ramsey Lewis (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Hang On, Sloopy’ is a 1964 song owned by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell, originally titled ‘My Girl Sloopy’. A tale told around Columbus, Ohio, is that Sloopy was a waitress/singer, who used the name ‘Sloopy’ on stage. The truth is the song was never about her. It was written by a St. Louis teen who created a fictitious ‘Sloopy’ and then sold his publishing rights to Farrell and Russell.

Stranded in the Jungle

First recorded by The Jayhawks (US #18 released May 1956).
Other hit versions by The Cadets (US #15/R&B #4 released June 1956), The Gadabouts (US #39 released July 1956), The Vibrations (US #117 1961), The New York Dolls (1974).
Also recorded by The Nylons (1996).

From the wiki: “‘Stranded in the Jungle’ is a song first recorded by doo-wop group the Jayhawks. It peaked at #18 on the U.S. pop chart. A cover version of the song recorded by another doo-wop group, the Cadets, in 1956 peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #3 on the R&B chart the same week, with yet another cover version, by the Gadabouts, peaking at #34 on the Hot 100 one week later. All three groups would prove to be one-hit wonders, with ‘Stranded in the Jungle’ being the only Top 40 hit for any of them.