“Everybody has to start somewhere. Businessmen start on the ground floor and try to work their way up the corporate ladder. Baseball players bide their time in the minor leagues wishing for an opportunity to move up and play in the majors. Musical compositions aren’t very different — some songs just don’t climb the charts the first time they’re recorded. However, with perseverance, the ideal singer, the right chemistry, impeccable timing, vigorous promotion, and a little luck, these songs can become very famous.”
So writes Bob Leszczak in the opening pages of Who Did It First? Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists. In this second volume in the Who Did It First? series, Leszczak explores the hidden history of the most famous, indeed legendary, pop songs and standards. As he points out, the version you purchased, swayed to, sang to, and grew up with is often not the first version recorded. Like wine and cheese, some tunes do get better with age, and behind each there is a story. Included are little-known facts and amusing anecdotes, often gathered through Leszczak’s vast archive of personal interviews with the singers and songwriters, record producers and label owners, who wrote, sang, recorded, and distributed either the original first cut or one of its classic covers.
The second in a series of titles devoted to the story of great songs and their revival as great covers, Who Did It First? Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists is the perfect playlist builder. So whether quizzing friends at a party, answering a radio station contest, or just satisfying an insatiable curiosity to know who really did do it first, this work is a must-have.