"Watermelon Man" is a jazz standard written by Herbie Hancock, first released on his debut album, Takin' Off (1962), in a grooving hard bop version that featured improvisations by Freddie Hubbard and Dexter Gordon. A single of the tune reached the Top 100 of the pop charts. Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaría released the tune as a Latin pop single the next year on Battle Records, where it became a surprise hit, reaching #10 on the pop charts. Santamaría's recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Hancock radically re-worked the tune, combining elements of funk, for the album Head Hunters (1973).
Other recordings include: King Curtis (1962) Woody Herman (1963) Quincy Jones (1963) Jon Hendricks (1963) Erroll Garner (1964) Maynard Ferguson (1964) Gloria Lynne (1965) Manfred Mann (1965) Public Enemies (1965) The J.B.'s (1972) Buddy Guy (1972) Albert King (1973) Sly and Robbie (1981) Acker Bilk (1983) Jimmy Smith (1995) Poncho Sanchez (1995) Carla Cook (2002) and many others)