Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Tommy Edwards

My Melancholy Baby

First recorded by Walter Scanlan (US #9 1915).
Other hit versions by Gene Austin (US #3 1928), Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (US #6 1936), Bing Crosby (US #14 1939), Sam Donahue & His Orchestra (US #5 1945), Tommy Edwards (US #26/R&B #27/UK #29 1959).

From the wiki: “‘Melancholy Baby’ was written by Ernie Burnett with lyrics by George Norton. The song was first publicly performed (as ‘Melancholy’) in 1912 by William Frawley (‘Fred Mertz’ on I Love Lucy, and ‘Bub’ on My Three Sons). According to IMDb:

‘[Mertz] was appearing at the Mozart Cafe in Denver, Colorado. He happened to visit a pub on Curtis Street, where he knew the proprietor. Knowing Bill was looking for a new song for his act, the proprietor directed him to the pub’s back room, where Ernie Burnett and George Norton were in the process of composing ‘My Melancholy Baby’.

‘Mertz introduced the song that very night at the Mozart Cafe. In the audience was writer Damon Runyon, well known for his drinking. After Frawley introduced the song, Runyan, drunk and maudlin, repeatedly called out ‘Get Frawley to sing ‘Melancholy Baby’!’ throughout the rest of the evening. Bill sang many encores. The comedy staple of a drunk requesting ‘My Melancholy Baby’ actually has a basis in fact.’

“Forty-five years later, Frawley would record ‘My Melancholy Baby’ in 1957, for his album Bill Frawley Sings the Old Ones.

It’s All in the Game

First recorded by Tommy Edwards (US #18/R&B #1 1951).
Also recorded by Louis Armstrong (1953), Nat “King” Cole (1956).
Other hit versions by Tommy Edwards (re-recording US #1/UK #1 1958), Cliff Richard (US #25/UK #2 1963), The Four Tops (US #24/R&B #6/UK #5 1970).

From the wiki: “‘It’s All in the Game’ is the only #1 hit ever written by a future US Vice-President. The melody was first composed in 1911 by then-banker Charles Gates Dawes, who would become VP in 1925 under Calvin Coolidge. The song garnered some popularity in the 1920s when Jascha Heifetz used it for a time as a ‘light concert’ encore. Lyrics were added in 1951 by the Brill Building songwriter Carl Sigman, who also changed the song’s name to ‘It’s All in the Game’ from its original ‘Dawes Melody in A Major’. Sadly, Dawes would not live to hear lyrics put to his song. He passed away the same day Sigman completed his assignment.

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