Who Did It First?: Great Rock and Roll Cover Songs and Their Original Artists

Who Did It First?: Great Rock and Roll Cover Songs and Their Original Artists

by Bob Leszczak
     
 

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“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

Overview

“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.

Editorial Reviews

American Reference Books Annual
As in the other books, it is easy to find a familiar song just browsing between the covers. What is often surprising, however, is the realization that the hit song you grew up with was minor compared to an earlier hit. Sometimes the situation is reversed – the massive radio hit you grew up with would never have been possible without the relatively obscure, original “unsung” recording to inspire it. This book provides good examples of both situations, as well as various other twists and turns in the life cycles of famous rock songs. . . . This compact hardcover includes also a simple navigational list of songs, a list of illustrations, an integrated index, and a convenient appendix listing select artists heavily referenced in cover songs. . . . Its usefulness to students of popular culture and music will make this reference book an easy addition to any library.
Musoscribe
Significantly, Who Did it First? never presents itself as something it is not (say, a scholarly work), and its tone is designed for a casual reader, not a trainspotting boffin who can’t help but play gotcha! when reading it. Who Did it First? is a lightweight, fun and informative trip through rock’s history.
The Journal of American Culture
[Who Did It First: Great Rock and Roll Cover Songs and Their Original Artists, Who Did It First: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists, Who Did It First: Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artists] are well organized, and everything is readily accessible. . . .[T]hese are outstanding books from which any lover of popular music, from the neophyte to the most advanced, will gain much knowledge and enjoyment.
Journal of American Culture
[Who Did It First: Great Rock and Roll Cover Songs and Their Original Artists, Who Did It First: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists, Who Did It First: Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artists] are well organized, and everything is readily accessible. . . .[T]hese are outstanding books from which any lover of popular music, from the neophyte to the most advanced, will gain much knowledge and enjoyment.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442233218
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
07/10/2014
Series:
Who Did It First? Series
Pages:
332
Sales rank:
1,160,294
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Bob Leszczak, author of Single Season Sitcoms, 1948–1979: A Complete Guide (2012), was also the writer and producer of Solid Gold Scrapbook, a weekly five-hour music trivia radio show for the United Stations Radio Network. A former member of the Duprees, he’s been an oldies radio on-air personality for over 30 years and has shared his passion for and knowledge about these classic hit songs and artists on great radio stations in Washington, DC, Boston, Denver, Tampa, Hartford, and Orlando. He is the author of Who Did It First? Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artists (2013) and Who Did It First? Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists (2014).

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