Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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That Old Black Magic

First performed by Johnnie Johnston (1942).
First released by Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra with Johnnie Johnston (1942).
Other hit versions by Judy Garland (1943), Margaret Whiting (US #10 1943), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1943), Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #16 1955), Louis Prima & Keely Smith (US #18 1958), Bobby Rydell (US #21/CAN #13 1961).

From the wiki: “‘That Old Black Magic’ was written in 1942 by Harold Arlen (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics). The two wrote it for the 1942 film Star Spangled Rhythm, when it was sung by Johnnie Johnston and danced by Vera Zorina. ‘That Old Black Magic’ was nominated for the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song’ in 1943 but lost out to ‘You’ll Never Know’ (from the movie Hello, Frisco, Hello).

“It was first recorded by Johnston, backed by Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra on July 9, 1942 at a time when Jenkins was employed by Paramount Pictures for sound-stage recordings and by NBC Radio. Glenn Miller recorded an arrangement in Chicago with Skip Nelson and The Modernaires on July 15, 1942. Shortly thereafter, on July 26, 1942, Judy Garland recorded her own version (Mercer had written the lyrics with Garland in mind), which was released as a single in January 1943 – just after the movie’s release on December 30, 1942.

“A total of six recordings were released as singles within the first two weeks of 1943, including an instrumental arrangement by Charlie Barnet. Of the six, the recording by the Glenn Miller Orchestra proved most popular, topping the Hit Parade and spending a total of 14 weeks on the Billboard magazine charts.

“Sammy Davis, Jr. covered ‘That Old Black Magic’ in 1955, charting Top-20 on the Billboard Hot 100, as did Louis Prima & Keely Smith’s 1958 cover arrangement. Teen idol Bobby Rydell’s 1961 cover peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 but hit #13 on the Canadian RPM chart.”

Judy Garland, “That Old Black Magic” (1943):

Margaret Whiting with Freddie Slack & His Orchestra, “That Old Black Magic” (1943):

The Glenn Miller Orchestra, “That Old Black Magic” (1943):

Sammy Davis, Jr., “That Old Black Magic” (1955):

Louis Prima & Keely Smith, “That Old Black Magic” (1958):

Bobby Rydell, “That Old Black Magic” (1961):

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