First recorded by The Champs (US #40 1961).
Other hit version by Chubby Checker (US #2/R&B #3 1962).
Also recorded (as “Let’s Limbo Some More”) by Chubby Checker (US #20 1963).
From the wiki: “Limbo Rock” is a popular song about limbo dancing written by Kal Mann (under the pseudonym Jan Sheldon) and Billy Strange. An instrumental version was first recorded by The Champs in 1961, a band of studio musicians that included a touring configuration of Earl Palmer (drums), Tommy Tedesco (guitar), Plas Johnson (saxophone) and its newest member, Glen Campbell (guitar).
“Originally composed as ‘Monotonous Melody’, for the lack of any other name, the recording was retitled ‘Limbo Rock’ for release as the B-side to ‘Tequila Twist’, the 45 rpm followup to the Champs’ Top 10 hit ‘Tequila’. ‘Tequila Twist’ debuted at #98 in February 1962 on the Billboard Hot 100 … and then promptly disappeared. ‘Limbo Rock’ was then released as the A-side. It too debuted at #98 on the Hot 100 in May 1962 but managed to peak at #40, taking a very slow 12 weeks of chart progress to get there.
First recorded (as “Beddy Bye”) by Bert Kaempfert (1965).
Possibly based on “Stranci u noći” by Ivo Robić (1966)
First English-language recording by Jack Jones (1966).
Also recorded (in German, as “Fremde in der Nacht”) by Ivo Robić (1966).
Hit version Frank Sinatra (US #1/MOR #1/UK #1 1966).
From the wiki: “‘Strangers in the Night’ is credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. It is sometimes claimed that the Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of ‘Strangers in the Night’ (performed as ‘Stranci u noći’), and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. These claims have not been substantiated.
“Robić, a pioneer of popular Yugoslav music from the early 1950s on, was the only artist from Yugoslavia whose records were available in the record shops of Europe and the rest of the world. He performed and collaborated with Kaempfert, Freddy Quinn, and Dean Martin. Robić would go on to record Yugoslav and German versions of ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘Stranci u Noći’ with lyrics by Marija Renota and ‘Fremde in der Nacht’ with lyrics by Kurt Feltz.
“Kaempfert originally recorded the melody under the title ‘Beddy Bye’ as part of the instrumental score for the movie soundtrack to A Man Could Get Killed, which went on to win a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.
First recorded by Freddy Martin & His Orchestra (US #7 1946).
Other hit version by B. Bumble & the Stingers (US #21 1961).
From the wiki: “Earl Palmer, René Hall and Plas Johnson were the house band at Rendezvous Records. According to Palmer, the three friends ‘always talked about how we could make some money and not leave the studio. One day I said, ‘Let’s do a rock version of ‘In the Mood”.’ The single, credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra, became a hit, peaking in the US Top 5 in early 1960. Hall then came up with the idea for B. Bumble and the Stingers, taking the same approach to a piece of classical music. Pianist Jack Fina was approached. His 1946 swing arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ for Freddy Martin and his Orchestra, titled ‘Bumble Boogie’, had reached #7 on the Pop charts and was later used in the 1948 Walt Disney animated film Melody Time.
“Using Fina’s arrangement, producer Kim Fowley recorded pianist Ernie Freeman on two tracks, one using a grand piano for the rhythm part, while the other track featured a ‘tack piano’ – a modified upright piano with tacks attached to the hammers that created a tinny ‘honky tonk’ sound. The other musicians on the session, at Gold Star Studios, included Wrecking Crew regulars: Palmer on drums, Red Callender on bass, and Tommy Tedesco on guitar.”
First recorded by The Ever-Green Blues (1967).
Hit version by The Grass Roots (US #5 1968).
From the wiki: “‘Midnight Confessions’ was written by Lou T. Josie and originally recorded by the Ever-Green Blues in 1967 for their album 7 Do Eleven (because The Ever-Green Blues were a 7-piece band doing eleven songs). Their recording caught the attention of producer Steve Barri who was looking for a song for The Grass Roots to record that was a ‘West Coast’ approximation of a Motown-style production.
“Because of the way The Grass Roots was handled by its producers, it is unlikely that any of the members of the band actually played on their recording of ‘Midnight Confessions’ (members of The Wrecking Crew did) except to provide the vocals and to perform it in concert. Regardless, it was the Grass Roots’ first single to feature a horn section and was a departure from the group’s previous singles and thus caused worry for the band members that it might not have become a hit. The Grass Roots, however, did not need to worry as the single became their biggest hit in the United States, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”
Recorded (as a demo) by The Jet Set (1964).
First album release by Bob Dylan (March 1965).
Hit version by The Byrds (US #1/UK #1/CAN #2/IRE #1 April 1965).
Also recorded by The Brothers Four (recorded 1964, released May 1965).
From the wiki: “In 1964, The Byrds – then known as The Jet Set – first recorded ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ as an audition demo prior to being signed to Columbia Records. Two other songs from the session (but not ‘Tambourine Man’) were released by Elektra Records in a one-off deal and had no chart impact. For the Columbia Records recording session leading to their first hit record, The Byrds did the vocals and lead guitar on the recording but session musicians (the infamous ‘Wrecking Crew‘) were brought in to play the other instruments. Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and Glen Campbell were among the assorted session players used for The Byrds’ first recordings.
“The very first recording ever of ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ was a 6+-minute demo completed by Bob Dylan (along with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott) during a marathon session for the Another Side Of Bob Dylan album (on June 9th, 1964). The song had been written by Dylan while driving cross-country from New York to San Francisco via New Orleans. He wrote the song and recorded the demo with Elliot that eventually found its way to The Jet Set née The Bryds. (Dylan’s demo would later resurface on the soundtrack to the Dylan bio-doc No Direction Home.)
Co-written and first recorded (as “Groupie (Superstar)”) by Delaney & Bonnie (1969).
Also recorded by Rita Coolidge (1970), Bette Midler (1970 |1972).
Hit versions by The Carpenters (US #2/CAN #3/JPN #7 1971), Luther Vandross (US #87/R&B #5 1983).
From the wiki: “Accounts of the song’s origin vary somewhat, but it grew out of the late 1969-early 1970 nexus of English and American musicians known as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, involving Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and various others. The song’s working title during portions of its development was ‘Groupie Song’. In its first recorded incarnation, the song was titled ‘Groupie (Superstar)’, and was recorded and released as a non-album B-side to the Delaney & Bonnie single ‘Comin’ Home’ (promoting the album On Tour with Eric Clapton) in December 1969. ‘Groupie’ would see an eventual album release in 1972, on D&B Together.
First recorded (as a demo) by Jimmy Radcliffe (1964).
Hit released by Sammy Ambrose (US #117 1965)
Other hit version by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (US #1 1965).
Also recorded by Al Kooper (1976).
From the wiki: “‘This Diamond Ring’ was written by Al Kooper (who would later record with Bob Dylan, and found the group Blood, Sweat & Tears), Bob Brass, and Irwin Levine (‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’, ‘Candida‘) in 1964. The song was first recorded as a demo that year by Jimmy Radcliffe in a session produced by Kooper.
“Sammy Ambrose, a Miami soul singer who had begun his recording career fronting the Afro-Beats, was the first to release a commercial single of ‘This Diamond Ring’, in December 1964. This was quickly followed by the January 1965 release of ‘This Diamond Ring’ by Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Both recordings appeared on Billboard magazine’s ‘Bubbling Under the Hot 100′ chart on January 9, 1965 – Ambrose’s recording at #117 and the Playboys’ recording at #101. But, that one appearance by Ambrose would mark his single’s only chart appearance while the Playboys continued the ascend the Hot 100 all the way to #1, on February 20, 1965, becoming the group’s only #1 single of their career.
“Ambrose’s biggest liability was that he didn’t have the same caché as being the son of a famous comedian (name recognition is everything in show biz) nor could make use off the chutzpah of producer Snuff Garrett, who promised radio disc jockey Murray the K a performance by the Playboys if he could break the Playboys’ record in New York City, and who also got Gary’s famous dad to call Ed Sullivan about booking an appearance on the The Ed Sullivan Show.
“None of the Playboys played their instruments on the hit recording and Lewis’s vocals were heavily supported by Ron Hicklin’s overdubs. The music was performed by members of The Wrecking Crew, including Hal Blaine (drums), Carol Kaye (bass) and Leon Russell (keyboard).
Written and first recorded by John Hartford (1967).
Also recorded Tompall & the Glaser Brothers (1967).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #62/C&W #30 1967 |US #39/C&W #44/MOR #8 1968).
From the wiki: “‘Gentle On My Mind’ won two 1968 Grammy Awards. Hartford himself won the award for Best Folk Performance. The other award, Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance (Male), went to Country music singer Glen Campbell for his hit version of Hartford’s song.
“Hartford reported that he was inspired to write the song after seeing the film Doctor Zhivago when his own memories took over, and that it took about fifteen minutes for him to write down the music and lyrics, and he would record it in-studio on February 2, 1967 and release it on the album Earthwords & Music. Hartford would later re-record ‘Gentle On My Mind’ in 1977 for inclusion on the album All in the Name of Love.
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