Cotton Fields was written by Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, who made the first recording of the song in 1940. I’m not sure if this is the first but it is from around that time.
The Beach Boys recorded a Brian Wilson arrangement of Cotton Fields on November 18 and 19, 1968 with Al Jardine on lead vocals. It was released on the group’s 1969 album 20/20.
Jardine was not happy with the arrangement and the group recorded a different version on August 8 and 15, 1969, which was released as a single. This one was called Cottonfields.
It did not make the top 100 in the States but reached No 5 in Britain in early 1970, their last top ten hit here.