Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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The Umbrella Man (aka Any Umbrellas?)

First recorded by Bud Flanagan & Chesney Allen (1939).
Hit versions by The Johnny Messner Music Box Band (US #12 1939), Kay Kyser & His Orchestra (US #1 1939).

From the wiki: “‘The Umbrella Man’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Any Umbrellas?’, and not to be confused with the Partridge Family song — or the Roald Dalh story — of the same name) was written by British songwriters James Cavanaugh, Larry Stock and Vincent Rose. According to the lyrics, the ‘Umbrella Man’ was a repairman who mends umbrellas and parasols. He will also sharpen knives, darn socks, and even mend a broken heart of two.

“It was first published in 1924, first performe live in 1938 by the comedy double act Flanagan and Allen in the musical revue These Foolish Things, and first recorded by the duo in 1939. It has since been used in Dennis Potter’s motion picture The Singing Detective (1986) and the TV adaptation of John le Carré’s A Perfect Spy (1987).

“After its first public performances in Great Britain, popular recordings in the USA in 1939 were produced by the Johnny Messner Music Box Band (vocals by The Three Jacks) and by Kay Kyser & His Orchestra (vocals by Ginny Simms & Harry Babbitt), one of Kyser’s first chart-topping recordings.”

The Johnny Messner Music Box Band, “The Umbrella Man” (1939):

Kay Kyser & His Orchestra, “The Umbrella Man” (1939):

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