History buffs who spend too much time reading and not enough time hunting for weird audio artifacts might not realize this, but the fabled coincidences between the lives and deaths of Presidents Kennedy and Lincoln have been documented for the ages on vinyl records.
Though it's unclear, at least to me, exactly who started spreading the word about some of the odd parallels connecting Lincoln and Kennedy, one thing is certain. Buddy Starcher, a journeyman country singer from West Virginia whose only previous charting record dated all the way back to 1949, cooked up the idea of reciting a long series of these coincidences and setting it to the tune of the Battle Hymn Of The Republic. The name of his song was History Repeats Itself and it went all the way to #2 on Billboard's Country chart in the spring of 1966 and #39 on the Pop chart. Originally released as a 45 on the Boone label, the record's success prompted a phone call from Decca and soon Starcher was back in the studio cutting enough additional material to fill up an LP. Lucky for us, one of those tunes was History Repeats Itself Pt. 2. According to Starcher's obituary, Red Sovine counted Buddy as a big influence.
In a move that still has people scratching their heads and wondering what the hell's going on, Cab Calloway recorded a cover version for the Boom label. The fact that Calloway and Starcher were on the same page is further established by the b-side of Calloway's record, a tune called After Taxes which closely mirrored A Taxpayer's Letter from Starcher's Decca LP. Both tunes cataloged the frustration of paying a seemingly endless parade of taxes.
The last word goes to Homer & Jethro, who recorded a brilliant Batman-inspired parody.
Buddy Starcher - History Repeats Itself (2:33)
Buddy Starcher - History Repeats Itself Part 2 (2:22)
Cab Calloway - History Repeats Itself (2:31)
Homer & Jethro - Great Men Repeat Themselves (2:55)
If you're thinking that perhaps all this sounds a bit familiar maybe it's because Station Manager Ken blogged a couple of these tunes a few years back, proving that history really does repeat itself.