Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Walkin’ After Midnight

Originally recorded (as a demo) by Lynn Howard with The Accents (1956).
Hit version by Patsy Cline (US #12/C&W #2 1957).
Also recorded by Patsy Cline (1961).

From the wiki: “‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ was written in 1954 by Alan Block and Donn Hecht, and was originally intended for singer Kay Starr. But, Starr’s label passed on it. Hecht then came across Patsy Cline’s early recordings (all unsuccessful) while working in the 4 Star Records A&R department. He felt strongly enough that Cline was perfect for his song that he hocked his furniture to pay for a demo session using Pop singer Lynn Howard, and used the demo to pitch his song to Cline’s manager.

“Cline’s initial reaction to the song was negative. She felt it was not ‘country’ enough and would not be a hit. Finally, a compromise was reached: Cline said she would record ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ as long as she could also record a song she favored and thought would be a hit, ‘A Poor Man’s Roses’. Cline said if she was wrong about ‘Midnight’ she would never again argue about her material again. Cline’s recording of ‘Midnight’ was completed at the (Owen) Bradley Film and Recording Studios, Nashville, on November 8, 1956.

“On January 28, 1957, Cline was invited to perform on the CBS television program Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. She originally intended to perform ‘A Poor Man’s Rose’ on the show; instead the show’s producers preferred ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’. Although Cline did not want to sing it, she did perform ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ during the program’s 8:30 pm slot. The excessive level of audience applause caused a technical glitch and froze the applause meter on the show. Still, because of the great amount of applause, Cline won first place in the show that night. And because of the song’s popularity on the show, Decca Records (Four Star leased their music to Decca) released ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ as a single on February 11, 1957.

“Cline’s debut single hit #2 on the Country singles chart, and crossed-over to the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at #12.

“Cline later re-recorded “Walkin’ After Midnight” for Decca in 1961 with a more ‘Pop’ arrangement featuring backing vocals and a more-pronounced ‘clip clop’ percussion effect, as well as a modulation to the key of C# for the final verse. Although this version is sometimes heard as an ‘oldie’ on Country radio playlists, it is not the version that became the hit single.”

Patsy Cline, “Walkin’ After Midnight” original single (1957):

Patsy Cline, “Walkin’ After Midnight” re-recording (1961):

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