When was it recorded? Jun. 22-23, 1961
When was it first released, and on which album? Oct. 23, 1961 as a Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers B-side
Who wrote it? Traditional (arranged by Tony Sheridan)
Have I heard this song before? Just the traditional folk version
What my research dug up:
On Day 174: “My Bonnie,” I discussed how the Beatles backed Tony Sheridan on that song as well as a number of his songs from the album, “My Bonnie” (back when they were credited as the Beat Brothers). In retrospect, I’m going to have to go back and talk about all the songs from that album I missed on my first go-through of the Beatles’ catalogue. In the meantime, let’s cover this cover.
“When the Saints Go Marching In” is an American gospel hymn. We all know it; it’s like a requirement to live in Louisiana, I think. There’s a great debate over who the writer was that I couldn’t make heads or tails of – suffice it to say, the song is old. Though traditional, Louis Armstrong recorded the first version known to be commercially available on May 13, 1938. According to Wikipedia, “Armstrong wrote that his sister told him she thought the secular performance style of the traditional church tune was inappropriate and irreligious. Armstrong was in a New Orleans tradition of turning church numbers into brass band and dance numbers…”
Tony Sheridan recorded his version in 1962, calling it simply “The Saints.” It was first released as the B-side to his single “My Bonnie,” which also featured the Beatles backing him.
Eh, I don’t like this one as much as “My Bonnie.” A little too cool-cat, not enough swing for my Friday night.