Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Yakety Sax

Co-written and first recorded by Randy Randolph (1958).
Hit version by “Boots” Randolph (US #35 1963).
Also recorded as “Yakety Axe” by Chet Atkins (C&W #4 1965).

From the wiki: “‘Yakety Sax’ was jointly composed by James Q. ‘Spider’ Rich and Homer ‘Boots’ Randolph III. The selection, which includes pieces of assorted fiddle tunes, was originally composed by Rich for a performance at a venue called The Armory in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

“Randolph’s song was inspired by the saxophone solo in the Leiber and Stoller song ‘Yakety Yak’, recorded in 1958 by The Coasters. Randolph first recorded ‘Yakety Sax’ that year for RCA Victor, under the name he used early in his career, ‘Randy Randolph’, but it did not become a hit until after his 1963 re-recording for Monument Records released under his better-known nom de plume, ‘Boots’ Randolph.

“Guitarist Chet Atkins recorded a version of ‘Yakety Sax’ in 1965 called ‘Yakety Axe’. Atkins’ version used a similar tempo and showcased his Country guitar picking style in place of a saxophone. The title change referred to the colloquial term for an electric guitar as an ‘axe’. Atkins’ version of ‘Yakety Axe’ was his highest-charting song ever on the Billboard Country Singles chart.

“‘Yakety Sax’ is often used in television and film as a soundtrack for outlandishly humorous situations. It was frequently used to accompany comedic sketches in the Thames Television comedy program The Benny Hill Show, where it accompanied otherwise silent, rapidly paced comedy sequences that typically involved a farcical chase scene. Indeed, thanks to Hill, ‘Yakety Sax’ is so closely linked to the show that it is also known as ‘The Benny Hill Theme’.”

“Boots” Randolph, “Yakety Sax” (1963):

Chet Atkins, “Yakety Axe” (1965):

Benny Hill, “Benny Hill Theme” (1969-1986):

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