Question: Who wrote and sang the song first with the phrase “Please release me, let me go”?

A: The song “Release Me” is one of the most successful songs of the past 50 years. Written by Eddie Miller, Dub Williams and Robert Yount in 1946, the song was first recorded by Miller without much success. In 1954, a new version of the song was recorded by western swing group Jimmy Heap and the Melody Makers and reached the Top Ten. That same year, country singer Ray Price recorded “Release Me” and made it to the Top Ten of the country charts. Eight years later, it was once again a hit thanks to Esther Phillips’ R&B version of the song. Englebert Humperdinck released the best-known version of the song in 1967. The song became an international hit, reaching number 4 in the United States and number 1 in Great Britain.

Question: I watched the Major League Baseball All-Star game this week. It made me wonder about the origin of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Could you tell me?

A: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was written in 1908 by vaudeville artist Jack Norworth. Legend has it that he was driving a Manhattan elevated train one day when he noticed a sign announcing a New York Giants game at the Polo Grounds. He apparently would never have seen a professional game in his life, but he concocted enough baseball references to create a song, which he planned to use in his act. He asked his friend, Albert von Tilzer, who had never been to a play before, to write the now immediately familiar melody. As a vaudeville song, Norworth’s creation fell miserably. However, it was popularized by slides of songs from nickelodeon, which encouraged fans to sing along. Interestingly, despite the song’s popularity today, we only sing the chorus of the song. The rest of the song is about a young woman who is “crazy about baseball, had a fever and was in pain.” Norworth released a slightly revised version of the song (although it kept the same chorus) in 1927.

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