The Sparks of Rhythm were the first to record the classic "Handy Man" (Merentstein - Jones) in 1959. The lead is bass Andrew Barksdale. Co-composer Jimmy Jones was a member of the group but not when they recorded it.
One of rock's early successful writers, Otis Blackwell was the next composer involved and, although it was recorded much later, we present a taste of his version next.
Otis Blackwell produced and whistled on the first hit version by the other writer and former tap dancer, Jimmy Jones. "Handy Man" (Jones - Blackwell) hit in 1960 and went to the number two position.
In 1964 Del Shannon (Charles Westover) again featured the keyboards of Mark Crook on his version which hit the top forty.
James Taylor's slower top ten cover came in 1977 and won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance.