“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 Rock and Roll Cover Songs and Their Original Artists.
In this third and final volume to the Who Did It First? series, readers explore the hidden history of the most famous, indeed legendary, rock songs and standards. Did you know that the Wild Ones had a “Wild Thing” before the Troggs? Were you aware that it took a second shot for “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” to make the charts? Had you heard that Guy Villari and the Regents dated “Barbara Ann” five years before the Beach Boys? Were you privy to the fact that there was “Hanky Panky” going on with Ellie Greenwich and the Raindrops, as well as the Summits, before Tommy James and the Shondells made the song a number 1 classic? Some of the information contained within these pages will shock, rattle and roll you. You may fancy yourself a music expert, but this third and last in a series of titles devoted to the story of great songs and their revival as great covers is filled with eye openers. In many instances, one’s eyes will open even wider as a result of the list of cover artists (with Paul Anka’s remake of Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” leading the pack).
Who Did It First? Great Rock and Roll 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.