Who Did It First?: Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artists by Bob Leszczak
“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 Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artists
Here readers will discover the little-known history behind legendary rhythm and blues numbers on their way to the majors. As Leszczak points out, the version you purchased, danced to, romanced to, and grew up with is often not the first version recorded. Like wine and cheese, some tunes just get better with age, and behind each there is a story. Who Did It First? contains interesting facts and amusing anecdotes, often gathered through Leszczak’s vast archive of personal interviews with the singers, songwriters, record producers, and label owners who wrote, sang, recorded, and distributed either the original cut or one of its classic covers.
The first in a series devoted to the story of great songs and their revivals, Who Did It First? is the perfect playlist builder. Whether quizzing friends at a party, answering a radio station contest, or simply satisfying an insatiable curiosity to know who really did do it first, this book is a must-have.
Bob Leszczak has spent the last three decades as an on-air personality all over the United States. He sang and toured in the 1980s with the Duprees of “You Belong to Me” fame, and he is the former writer and producer of a weekly syndicated five-hour music trivia program called Solid Gold Scrapbook. His passions are record collecting, music trivia, classic TV sitcoms and game shows, and baseball.