Art’s World – They Were Big Hits Before Rock and Roll (Updated)

Art’s World – They Were Big Hits Before Rock and Roll (Updated)

This is  an updated version with more additions.  This week’s “Art’s World” we’re going with one of my favorite subjects…………music. I was blessed to begin my radio career just prior to the rock and roll era in 1954. Then, being on the air through that entire 50’s, early 60’s period before moving to country music in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It is interesting to note many of the hits from the days of early rock and roll were actually hits years before prior to and during the big band/swing era. So, with that in mind here are some of those songs and who had the originals hits.

Blueberry Hill – 1956 – Fats Domino – The original #1 hit was done by the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1939 with the vocal by Ray Eberle.

Stardust – 1958 – Billy Ward & The Dominoes – The original chart topper of this song was done by the Artie Shaw Orchestra in 1938.

My Prayer – 1956 – The Platters – In 1939 the Glenn Miller Orchestra was, again, the first to record it and it made the top five.

You Belong to Me – 1962 – The Duprees – The original top ten hit was from Jo Stafford in 1952.

I Only Have Eyes For You – 1958 – The Flamingos – The original version was done by several back in the 1930’s, the most popular is from 1937 by the Eddie Duchin Orchestra.

Goody Goody – 1957 – Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers – It first hit the charts in 1935 by the Guy Lombardo orchestra.

Once in Awhile – 1960 – The Chimes – The original hit was done twice by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra, in 1937 as an instrumental with a small vocal refrain and again in 1940 with Frank Sinatra doing the full vocal.

Twilight Time – 1956 – The Platters – It was a top five hit in 1945 by the Les Brown Orchestra and the vocal was by Doris Day.

Till Then – 1963 – The Classics – It originally came out in 1944 and charted in the Top 10 by the Mills Brothers. The Les Brown Orchestra also had a Top 10 version of the song as well.

Who’s Sorry Now? – 1958 – Connie Francis – This one goes all the way back to 1923 when it was a hit for Isham Jones and later for several others in the 1930’s.

Love Letters in the Sand – 1957 – Pat Boone – This ballad by Boone hit the charts and stayed 5 weeks and went all the way to #2. The original version came out in 1932 by the Ted Black Orchestra and was a big hit.

Ain’t She Sweet – 1964 – The Beatles – Originally a hit in 1927 for Gene Austin, the first big band hit of the song came from Jimmy Lunceford in 1939

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – 1958 – The Platters – Once again the Platters took another old song and gave it their own style and sound for another chart topper. Originally the song was done by the Paul Whiteman orchestra in 1934, Tommy Dorsey in 1938 and other artists.

In the Mood – 1959 – Ernie Fields – The original #1 hit came from the Glenn Miller orchestra in 1940. It was also revived again by Jive Bunny in 1994.

My Blue Heaven – 1957 – Fats Domino – The original recording goes back to Gene Austin in 1927 and was the most played song on radio and was a big record and sheet music seller.

Deep Purple – 1963 – Nino Tempo & April Stevens – The original came out in 1939 and hit the charts for the Larry Clinton Orchestra with the vocal by Bea Wain.

Sunday Kind of Love – 1955 – The Harptones – The original chart topper was from the Claude Thornhill Orchestra with vocal by Fran Warren in 1944.

And there are more, but this just gives you an idea of how close these two musical eras were entwined. Do some of your own searching and you will definitely find others that got their starts long before rock and roll came along. I hope you enjoyed this segment of “Art’s World”.

Some of the info came from my book “When Swing Was King” available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN

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