Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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1121 total songs ... and counting!

Suzanne

First performed by The Story Clovers (1966).
First released by Judy Collins (1966).
Hit versions by Noel Harrison (US #56 1967), Herman van Veen (NETH #4 1969).
Also recorded by Leonard Cohen (1967).

From the wiki: “‘Suzanne’, written by Canadian poet Leonard Cohen, first appeared as the poem ‘Suzanne Takes You Down’ in Cohen’s 1966 book of poetry, Parasites of Heaven. As a song, it was first performed by The Stormy Clovers in 1966 and then recorded by Judy Collins, appearing on her 1966 album In My Life. It was later released by Cohen on his own debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (backed by The Stormy Clovers).

“In 1967, Noel Harrison’s version — the second released cover of the song — entered at #125 on the Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart in late September 1967, entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #86 on October 28, peaking at #56 on November 25, 1967. (Cohen’s version would be released in December 1967.)

“In 1969, Herman van Veen’s Dutch-language version entered the Dutch Top 40 list in April 1969, peaking at #4 in May.”

Spoonful

First recorded by Howlin’ Wolf (1960).
Based on “Spoonful Blues” by Charley Patton (1929).
Hit versions by Etta & Harvey (US #78/R&B #12 1961), Cream (1966).
Also recorded by The Blues Project (1966), Koko Taylor (1978).

From the wiki: “The blues song ‘Spoonful’ was written by Willie Dixon, and loosely based on ‘Spoonful Blues’, recorded in 1929 by Charley Patton. ‘Spoonful’ was first recorded in 1960 by Howlin’ Wolf. Backing Wolf on vocals are longtime accompanist Hubert Sumlin on guitar, relative newcomer Freddie Robinson on second guitar, and Chess recording veterans Otis Spann on piano, Fred Below on drums, and Dixon on double-bass. ‘Spoonful’ would go on to become one of Dixon’s best-known and most-interpreted songs.

“Etta James had a Pop and R&B record chart hit with ‘Spoonful’ in 1961, in duet with Harvey Farqua (who would go on to become head of A&R at Motown Records). ‘Spoonful’ would become more popularized in the late 1960s when recorded by the British rock group Cream who produced a cover of ‘Spoonful’ for their 1966 UK debut album, Fresh Cream.

Eve of Destruction

Written and first recorded by P.F. Sloan (1965).
Hit versions by The Turtles (1965 |US #100 1970), Barry McGuire (US #1/NOR #1 1965)
Also recorded by Jan & Dean (1965).

From the wiki: “‘Eve of Destruction’ was written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964. Sloan was very successful during the mid-1960s, writing, performing, and producing Billboard top 20 hits for artists such as Barry McGuire, The Searchers, Jan & Dean, Herman’s Hermits, Johnny Rivers, The Grass Roots, The Turtles, and The Mamas & the Papas. He was also a session guitarist in the group of L.A. session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, working with such well-known backing musicians as drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, bassist Joe Osborn, and bassist/keyboardist Larry Knechtel, among others. It was while working with Barry McGuire that Sloan created and played a guitar introduction as a hook to a new song by John Phillips entitled ‘California Dreamin”, and the same backing track was used for the hit version by Phillips’ group The Mamas & the Papas, which led to Sloan becoming a regular in their recording sessions.

Hurt So Bad

First recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials (US #10/R&B #5 1964).
Other hit versions by The Letterman (US #12/MOR #2/CAN #14 1969), Philly Devotions (Dance #10 1976), Linda Ronstadt (US #8/MOR #25/CAN #27 1980).
Also recorded by Willie Bobo (1965), El Chicano (1970), Bobby Hart, co-writer (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Hurt So Bad’ was written especially for Little Anthony & the Imperials by Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein, and Bobby Hart. It was the follow-up to the hit single ‘Goin’ Out of My Head’ and, like that single, became a Billboard Top-10 hit as well as a Top Five R&B hit.

“After writing ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’ with Tommy Boyce for Jay & the Americans, Bobby Hart signed with DCP Records and sang background when Randazzo performed in Las Vegas. When label head Don Costa asked for another hit for Little Anthony, Hart, Randazzo and Weinstein went to a conference room between sets and came up with “Hurt So Bad,” a song about a man who feels intense pain when he sees his former love.

“Hart went on to tremendous songwriting success with Tommy Boyce, coming up with many hit songs for The Monkees. Hart considers ‘Hurt So Bad’ his crowning achievement as a songwriter, although he knows that he’ll always be remembered for his hits with The Monkees (‘Last Train to Clarksville’, ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping’ Stone‘).

“Covers included Willie Bobo’s Latin-flavored 1965 instrumental album version, released on Spanish Grease. The Lettermen scored a Top-20 hit in 1969 with their cover. El Chicano released a cover of ‘Hurt So Bad’ on their 1970 debut album, Viva Tirado. The group Philly Devotions charted Top-10 on the US Dance/Disco chart in 1976. Co-writer Bobby Hart covered of his own song in 1979 for The First Bobby Hart Solo Album.

“Linda Ronstadt covered ‘Hurt So Bad’ for her Platinum-certified album, Mad Love, in 1980. Produced by Peter Asher on Asylum Records, it was released as the disc’s second single. Linda’s version of the song featured a scorching guitar solo by Danny Kortchmar, and it remains the most successful version ever recorded of the song – peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1980.”

Sue Me, Sue You Blues

First recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1971).
First commercial release by Jesse Ed Davis (1972).
Hit album version by George Harrison (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Sue Me, Sue You Blues’ was written by George Harrison. Harrison let American guitarist Jesse Ed Davis record it first for release, for the latter’s Ululu album (1972) in gratitude to Davis for his participation in the ‘Concert for Bangladesh’. Harrison had drawn inspiration for the song from the legal issues surrounding the Beatles break-up during the early months of 1971, particularly the lawsuit that Paul McCartney initiated in an effort to dissolve the band’s business partnership, Apple Corps.

“Harrison recorded a brief demo of ‘Sue Me, Sue You Blues’, in the Delta blues style, which became available in the 1990s on bootleg compilations such as Pirate Songs. Harrison biographer Simon Leng describes this 1971 recording as ‘astonishing’ and a ‘must’ for inclusion on any forthcoming George Harrison anthology, with Harrison sounding like ‘a lost bluesman, bootlegged in Chicago.’

It’s Getting Better

First recorded by The Vogues (1968).
Also recorded by Leonard Nimoy (1968), Pierre Lalonde (1968), The Will-O-Bees (1969).
Hit version by “Mama” Cass Elliot (US #30/MOR #13/UK #8 1969).

From the wiki: “‘It’s Getting Better’ was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (‘Make Your Own Kind of Music‘,’Never Gonna Let You Go‘, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘). The earliest evident recording of ‘It’s Getting Better’ was by the Vogues for their August 1968 album release Turn Around, Look at Me for Reprise Records. Also in 1968, the song was featured on the Leonard Nimoy album The Way I Feel released that October. The first evident single release of ‘It’s Getting Better’ was by French-Canadian singer, Pierre Lalonde, in September 1968.

“The folk-rock group, The Will-O-Bees, released ‘It’s Getting Better’ as a single in early 1969 but it failed to chart. (The group had also been among the first to record ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music‘, in 1968, previous to Cass Elliot’s hit recording.)

“‘It’s Getting Better’ was recorded by Cass Elliot for inclusion on her June 1969 album release Bubblegum, Lemonade, and … Something for Mama. The Wrecking Crew (James Burton on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on keyboards, and Joe Osborn on bass) — who’d regularly backed The Mamas & the Papas — were among the instrumentalists on the album. The song peaked at #30 in August 1969 during what was then considered an unusually lengthy 19-week run on Billboard’s Hot 100. Only five other 1969 releases had longer chart runs on the Hot 100. Elliot’s ‘It’s Getting Better’ had a more pronounced chart impact in the UK, reaching #8 in October 1969.”

(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

First recorded by The Bunny Berigan Orchestra (1941).
Hit versions Kay Kyser & His Orchestra (US #1 1941), by The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #6 1942), Vera Lynn (1942), The Checkers (1952), The Righteous Brothers (UK #21 1966).

From the wiki: “So ‘British’ was its diction, imagery and tone, many Americans thought ‘(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover’ was written by an Englishman. Instead, it was composed in 1941 by a couple of Americans, Walter Kent (allegedly based on ‘Over the Rainbow‘) with lyrics by Nat Burton, inspired by an American poem written by Alice Duer Miller and Walter Kent titled ‘The White Cliffs’.

“First introduced on the radio by Kate Smith, the first recorded release of the song was by the Bunny Berigan Orchestra in late 1941. Kay Kyser & His Orchestra topped the Hit Parade with their recording, while Glenn Miller’s recording also charted in the Top-10. There was, for a time in early 1942, fourteen different recordings of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ vying for public attention. But, the most-famous arrangement was recorded in England by Vera Lynn in 1942, with Mantovani’s orchestra, for Decca Records, becoming one of Lynn’s best-loved recordings and among the most popular World War II tunes, serving to uplift civilian morale at a time when Great Britain ‘stood alone’ against Nazi Germany.

“Symbolically, the White Cliffs of Dover are a guardian and protector of the English, a symbol of England’s strength against potential enemies and a reassuring sight to returning travelers. The lyrics refer to the RAF and RCAF fighter pilots (in their blue uniforms) as ‘bluebirds’ (although bluebirds are not native to Europe, and are not migratory) and expresses confidence that they would prevail. Notable phrases include ‘Thumbs Up!’, which was an RAF and RCAF term for permission to go, and ‘flying in those angry skies’ where the air war between Great Britain and Germany was taking place. The lyrics also looked towards a time when the war would be over and peace would rule over the iconic white cliffs of Dover, Britain’s symbolic border with the European mainland.

“The Checkers’ 1953 R&B treatment of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ was a Top-5 hit in Los Angeles but did not chart nationally. In 1966 the Righteous Brothers reached #21 in the UK with their cover version of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’.”

Deep in the Heart of Texas

First recorded by Alvino Rey & His Orchestra (US #1 Feb 1942).
Also performed by Gene Autry (1942).
Other hit versions by Ted Weems & His Orchestra with Perry Como (US #23 Feb 1942), Bing Crosby with Woody Herman & His Woodchoppers (US #3 March 1942), Horace Heidt & His Musical Knights (US #7 March 1942), The Merry Macs (US #11 March 1942), Duane Eddy (US #78/UK #19 1962).
Also recorded by Gene Autry (1944), Bob Wills (1955), Ray Charles (1960).

From the wiki: “‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ was written by June Hershey with music by Don Swander, with a title taken from a movie Western of the same name starring Tex Ritter. (The song was not performed in that particular movie, but would make an appearance in the Western movie Heart of the Rio Grande in 1942, sung by movie cowboy Gene Autry.) The first recording was by Alvino Rey on November 21, 1941 that first charted in early 1942. It spent five weeks at #1 on the Hit Parade. The song was covered by Ted Weems & His Orchestra (with Perry Como on vocals) on December 9, 1941 for Decca Records, also released in early 1942 as the flip-side to ‘Ollie Ollie Out’s in Free’.

“Other charting covers in 1942 were recorded by Bing Crosby with Woody Herman’s ‘Woodchoppers’ (#3 in the US but uncharted in the UK because it was banned by the BBC during factory hours to prevent workers being detracted by its infectious handclapping rhythm that would’ve disrupted the war effort), Horace Heidt & His Musical Knights (#7), and The Merry Macs (#11).

“Texas Swing stars, Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, covered ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ in 1955. Ray Charles included the song on his album The Genius Hits the Road (1960). Rock ‘n roll guitarist Duane Eddy charted in the UK with his 1962 instrumental recording of ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’.”

It’s My Life

First recorded by Talk Talk (US #31/CAN #30/UK #46/FRA #25/GER #33/ITA #7 1984).
Other hit version by No Doubt (US #10 2003).

From the wiki: “‘It’s My Life’ was written by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greenem, and was first recorded in 1984 by the English new wave band Talk Talk as the title track on the band’s second album. Released as the album’s first single in January 1984, it would peak at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #46 on the UK Singles chart (but chart higher on several other European charts).

“No Doubt recorded a cover version of the song in 2003 to promote their first greatest hits album The Singles 1992–2003. Because the band was on hiatus, while lead singer Gwen Stefani was recording her solo debut studio album, the group decided to record a cover to avoid having to write an entirely new song.”

I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself

First recorded by Chuck Jackson (1962).
First released by Tommy Hunt (1962).
Hit versions by Dusty Springfield (UK #3/AUS #16/NETH #5 1964), Dionne Warwick (US #26/R&B #20 1966).

From the wiki: “‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was first recorded by by Chuck Jackson (‘Any Day Now‘) in 1962 in a session produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with Burt Bacharach arranging and conducting. Jackson’s version was shelved and remained unreleased until it appeared on a 1984 compilation titled Mr. Emotion. The same backing track and Bacharach arrangement was then used later the same year when Tommy Hunt (‘Any Day Now‘) covered the song. Hunt’s version was released as single in May 1962, but it did not chart.

“Dusty Springfield recorded ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ in 1964 following an overnight trip to New York City where she met up with Bacharach. (Springfield would record a number of Bacharach-David songs, including ‘Wishin’ and Hopin‘.) The third UK single release of Springfield’s solo career, ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ was Springfield’s first UK single release to display her signature vocal style; rising to #3 in the summer of 1964. A concurrent US release of the song was preempted by the presence of Springfield’s ‘Wishin’ and Hopin” in the US Top-10 over the summer of 1964. Springfield’s ‘I Just Don’t Know…’ received a belated US release in October 1965 but did not chart in the US.

“Dionne Warwick recorded ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ at Bell Sound Studios in August 1966 with Burt Bacharach producing, charting US Top-30 and R&B Top-20.”

Mood Indigo

First recorded (as “Dreamy Blues”) by The Harlem Footwarmers (1930).
Also recorded by The Jungle Band (1930), Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra (1930), Paul Robeson (1937), Ella Fitzgerald (1957).
Hit version by The Norman Petty Trio (US #14 1954).

From the wiki: “‘Mood Indigo’ was written by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard. Ellington is said to have claimed ‘I wrote [‘Mood Indigo’] in 15 minutes while I was waiting for my mother to finish cooking dinner.’

“Ellington’s biographer, Terry Teachout, described the song as ‘an imperishable classic, one of a handful of songs that come to mind whenever Ellington’s name is mentioned anywhere in the world.’ The tune was composed for a radio broadcast in October 1930 and was originally titled ‘Dreamy Blues’. It was ‘the first tune I ever wrote specially for microphone transmission,’ Ellington recalled. ‘The next day wads of mail came in raving about the new tune.’ Renamed ‘Mood Indigo’, it went on to became a Jazz standard.

When You Wish Upon a Star

First performed by Cliff Edwards (1940).
Hit versions by Cliff Edwards (US #1 1940), Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (US #1 1940), Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians (US #4 1940), Dion & the Belmonts (US #30 1960), Linda Ronstadt (MOR #32 1986).
Also recorded by Mary J. Blige, Barbra Streisand & Chris Botti (2013).

From the wiki: “‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ was written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney’s 1940 animated adaptation of Pinocchio. The song won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song, and was also the first Disney song to win an Oscar. It has since become the representative song of The Walt Disney Company (e.g., the ships of the Disney Cruise Line use the first seven notes of the song’s melody as their horn signals).

“The original version was sung by Cliff Edwards (‘Singin’ in the Rain‘) in the character of Jiminy Cricket, and is heard over the opening credits and in the final scene of Pinocchio. Edwards’ original recording for ‘Pinocchio’ won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Song. The American Film Institute ranked ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ seventh in their 100 Greatest Songs in Film History, the highest-ranked Disney animated film song.

That’s Life

First recorded by Marian Montgomery (1964).
Also recorded by O.C. Smith (1964).
Hit version by Frank Sinatra (US #4/MOR #1/R&B #25/UK #44 1966).

From the wiki: “‘That’s Life’ was written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon, and was first recorded in 1964 by Marion Montgomery. The most famous version is by Frank Sinatra, released on his 1966 album of the same name. Sinatra recorded the song after hearing an earlier cover of it by O.C. Smith (who recorded his version shortly after leaving Count Basie’s orchestra).”

Almost Like Being in Love

First performed and recorded by David Brooks & Marion Bell (1947).
Hit versions by Mildred Bailey (US #21 1947), Mary Martin (US #21 1947), Frank Sinatra (US #20 1947), Gene Kelly, (1954), Michael Johnson (US #32/MOR #4 1978).
Also recorded by Lester Young (1952), Nat “King” Cole (1953), Frank Sinatra (1961), Shirley Bassey (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was written by the songwriting team of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner in 1947, for the musical Brigadoon. The song was first performed on Broadway and recorded by David Brooks and Marion Bell from the original cast. It would later be performed by Gene Kelly in the 1954 film version of Brigadoon.

“Mildred Bailey first charted ‘Almost Like Being in Love’ in 1947, along with an equally-popular cover by Mary Martin. Frank Sinatra recorded two popular versions: first in 1947 and, again, in 1961 for the album Come Swing With Me, the version generally heard today. Lester Young’s instrumental cover was released in 1952; Nat ‘King’ Cole recorded his version in 1953, a recording used years later, in 1993, for the soundtrack of Groundhog Day.

“‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was revived, as a downbeat ballad, in 1978 by singer Michael Johnson. British singing sensation Shirley Bassey covered Johnson’s arrangement in 1979.”

Honey (I Miss You)

First recorded by Bob Shane (1968).
Hit version by Bobby Goldsboro (US #1/C&W #1/UK #2/AUS #1 1968 |UK #2 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Honey’, also known as ‘Honey (I Miss You)’, was written by Bobby Russell who first produced it with former Kingston Trio member Bob Shane. Then Russell gave it to singer Bobby Goldsboro, who recorded it for his 1968 album of the same name (but originally titled Pledge of Love). Goldsboro’s version was released as a single in the U.S. and spent five weeks at #1 the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, from April 7 to May 11.

“The Hot 100 Top-10 run of ‘Honey’ began the week of the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination (and first hit #1 the week after King’s death) and ended the week of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. No other Hot 100 entry had a top 10 run that spanned that same time interval. ‘Honey’ reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart and a re-release of the single in the United Kingdom in 1975 also reached #2.

“The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the song frequently appears on ‘worst songs of all-time’ lists and, in April 2006, Todd Leopold of CNN named it the ‘Worst Song of All Time.’ In the 1970s. when UK radio DJ Tony Blackburn was going through his divorce with his wife, Tessa Wyatt, which left him inconsolable and sobbing on air, he regularly played ‘Honey’ – later parodied in the ‘mockumentary’ Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era.”

All My Trials (All My Sorrows)

First recorded by Cynthia Gooding (1956).
Popular versions by Glenn Yarbrough (as “All My Sorrows” 1957), Kingston Trio (as “All My Sorrows” 1959), Joan Baez (1960), The Shadows (as “All My Sorrows” 1963), The Searchers (as “All My Sorrows” 1963), Peter Paul & Mary (1963), Dick & Dee Dee (US #89 1964).
Also recorded (in medley) by Elvis Presley (1972).

From the wiki: “”All My Trials” is a folk song during the social protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on a Bahamian lullaby that tells the story of a mother on her death bed, comforting her children. The message — that no matter how bleak the situation seemed, the struggle would ‘soon be over’ — propelled the song to the status of an anthem, recorded by many of the leading artists of the era.

“Cynthia Gooding first recorded the song in 1956. It quickly became a Folk song staple, with recordings by Glenn Yarbrough (1957), The Kingston Trio (1959), and Joan Baez (1960) following soon thereafter. (Gooding would later go on to host a Folk music show on NYC radio station WBAI and, in 1962, would conduct the first radio interview, ever, with a young Bob Dylan.) In the UK, Cliff Richard’s backing band, The Shadows, recorded an instrumental cover of ‘All My Sorrows’ in 1961 for their first solo outing, The Shadows; The Searchers would also cover the song in 1963 for the album Sugar and Spice.

“Folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary released ‘All My Trials’ on their best-selling 1963 album, In the Wind, which yielded the hit singles ‘Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)‘ and ‘Blowin’ in the Wind‘. Dick & Dee Dee’s 1964 recording is the only recording to have charted in the Billboard Hot 100.

“A fragment of ‘All My Trials’ is used in the Mickey Newbury anthem ‘An American Trilogy’, also recorded by Elvis Presley and broadcast worldwide in 1972 on Aloha from Hawaii.”

Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely

First recorded by Ronnie Dyson (US #60/R&B #29 1973).
Other hit version by The Main Ingredient (US #10/R&B #8/CAN #7 1974).

From the wiki: “‘Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely’ was written by Bobby Eli, John Freeman and Vinnie Barrett and was first made popular in 1973 by Ronnie Dyson. The Main Ingredient’s version of the song, featuring Cuba Gooding, Sr., on lead vocal, was released in 1974, becoming a US Top-10 pop and R&B hit.”

McDonald’s Girl

Written and first recorded by Dean Friedman (1981).
Also recorded by Barenaked Ladies (1992)
Hit version by The Blenders (NOR #1 1998).

From the wiki: “‘McDonald’s Girl’ was a track from Dean Friedman’s third album, Rumpled Romeo, and found him falling in love with a girl who works at McDonald’s – ‘an angel in polyester.’ Friedman’s previous album had produced hits in the UK, with ‘Lucky Stars’ and ‘Lydia’, but this one ran into a problem: the BBC refused to play any song where the name of a product or company was mentioned in a way they could be considered an endorsement. The Kinks had gotten around this in their song ‘Lola’ by swapping out ‘Coca-Cola’ for ‘cherry cola’, but there was no way to edit ‘McDonalds’ out of this one. Friedman recalls, ‘I thought ‘McDonald’s Girl’ was a surefire hit. It was released by CBS Records in the UK. But it was immediately banned by the BBC.’

“The Barenaked Ladies played ‘McDonald’s Girl’ at many early concerts and, in 1992, they also performed it on an appearance on the Toronto radio station CFNY. In 1998, the Minnesota a capella group, The Blenders, released their version as a single. It went to #1 in Norway. In 2011, their version was used in a commercial for McDonald’s.”

Working My Way Back to You

First recorded by The Four Season (US #9/UK #50 1965).
Also recorded by The Happenings (1972)
Other hit versions by The Spinners (US #2 1979 |UK #1/IRE #1 1980), Boyzone (IRE #3 1994).

From the wiki: “‘Working My Way Back to You’ was written by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, with the song originally recorded in 1966 by The Four Seasons, reaching #9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. and #50 on the UK Singles chart. It is the only Four Seasons’ hit to feature the group’s arranger, Charles Calello, in the temporary role of bassist/bass vocalist, having replaced original member Nick Massi.

“In 1979, The Spinners recorded a medley of ‘Working My Way Back to You’ and Michael Zager’s ‘Forgive Me Girl’, topping the UK Singles chart for two weeks in April 1980.

“The Irish boyband, Boyzone, released a cover version of ‘Working My Way Back to You’ as their debut single in May 1994. The song reached #3 on the Irish Singles Chart. It is one of the few songs to feature Mikey Graham on lead vocals.”

What Kind of Fool Am I?

First recorded by Anthony Newley (1961).
Also recorded by Tony Bennett (1962), James Brown (1970).
Hit versions by Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #17/MOR #6 1962), Shirley Bassey (UK #47 1963).

From the wiki: “”What Kind of Fool Am I?” is a popular song written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and published in 1962. It was introduced by Anthony Newley in the musical Stop The World – I Want To Get Off. Bricusse and Newley received the 1961 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

“This song was recorded while Newley was on the road with the touring company of ‘Stop the World …’ in the United States, after its hugely successful run in the United Kingdom. By the time the cast reached New York, Tony Bennett had re-recorded the song*. The song was a hit for Sammy Davis Jr. in the year of its publication, peaking at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at #6 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart. It also won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, with songwriters Bricusse and Newley becoming the first Britons to do so. In 1963 Shirley Bassey released the song as a Columbia Record single and her version reached #47 on the UK charts.

“James Brown covered ‘What Kind of Fool Am I?’ for his 1970 album, Soul on Top.

“The song was also the inspiration for a Gary Larson cartoon (see below).

* “Publisher Harold Richmond related an amusing story about Bennett and ‘What Kind of Food Am I?’:

‘When I was in England to see Oliver! and I heard ‘What Kind of Fool Am I?’, Tony was my first choice for the song. (Sammy Davis, Jr. found the song by himself.) Tony had had ‘San Francisco’ out for six or eight weeks and he said, ‘Howie, I’m going to stick with ‘San Francisco’ for a while. I like ‘What Kind of Fool’ but –.’ I said to him, ‘Tony! ‘San Francisco’ has been out a couple of months and nothing’s happening with it!’ Tony said, ‘Well, I’m still going to stick with it for a while.’ Well, we all know how that turned out.'”

Billboard magazine, Nov. 30, 1968

Ruby Baby

First recorded by The Drifters (R&B #10 1956).
Other hit versions by Dion (US #2 1963), Billy “Crash” Craddock (C&W #1 1974).
Also recorded by The Beach Boys (1965, released 1993), Donald Fagen (1982).

From the wiki: “‘Ruby Baby’ was written by the hit songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (‘Hound Dog‘, ‘On Broadway‘). It was first recorded by the Drifters, who scored an R&B Top-10 hit with the song in 1956. Dion covered ‘Ruby Baby’ in 1963, scoring a Top-5 hit. In 1974, Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock topped the US Country chart with his cover version.

“The Beach Boys originally recorded ‘Ruby Baby’ for their 1965 album Beach Boys’ Party!, but the song remained unreleased until the band’s 1993 box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys. Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen covered ‘Ruby Baby’ for his 1982 solo album, Nightfly.”

Hey Harmonica Man

First recorded by Jo Jo Wail & the Somethings (1963).
Hit version by Stevie Wonder (US #29/R&B #5 1964).

From the wiki: “‘Hey Harmonica Man’ was written by Marty Cooper and Lou Josie, and was first recorded in 1963 by Jo Jo Wail & the Somethings. It would be covered by Stevie Wonder in 1964.

“Wonder has poured scorn on his pre-’65 Motown output; whenever he’s asked about these records, he seems to lump them all together as a collection of ‘juvenilia’. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s ‘Hey Harmonica Man’ for which he reserves particular criticism, describing it on more than one occasion as ’embarrassing’.

Go Where You Wanna Go

Written and first recorded by The Mamas & The Papas (1966).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #16/CAN #9 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Go Where You Wanna Go’ was written by John Phillips, and was first recorded by the Mamas & The Papas for their LP If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

“In [Hal] Blaine’s book, Michelle admits ‘Our group had never sung with anything but an acoustic guitar until that fateful day in 1965 when we came together in Studio 3 at Western Recorders. There, the Mamas and the Papas’ ‘sound’ was created with the distinctive beat that Blaine already made himself famous for.’

“That ‘sound’ was the key. Sloan writes, ‘We needed to find a mic that worked magic for their voices, and the perfect echo and reverb for them. Without it, their voices didn’t seem to fly.’ You can hear it on the first Mamas and Papas single, ‘Go Where You Wanna Go’, which inexplicably failed to catch on when it was released on Dunhill.”

What Really Happened To The Mamas And The Papas?, by Mitchell Cohen, 2017

“‘Go Where You Wanna Go’ was later made into a hit by the The 5th Dimension, who recorded the song for their debut studio album, Up, Up and Away, in 1966, becoming the group’s very first single release.”

Any Other Fool

First recorded by Dusty Springfield (ca. 1988-1989, released 1997).
Hit version by Sadao Watanabe & Patti Austin (US #6 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Any Other Fool’ was written by Diane Warren (‘Set the Night to Music‘, ‘Because You Loved Me’) and Robbie Buchanan. It was first recorded in late 1988 or early 1989 by Dusty Springfield for inclusion on Reputation but was not published until the 1997 UK release of Reputation and Rarities (but remains unreleased in the US). Springfield was said to have been upset that Warren had given the song to someone else when it had been promised to her, and Dusty chose not to include her recording of the song when Reputation was released in 1990.

“That ‘someone else’ were Sadao Watanabe and Patti Austin, whose recording of ‘Any Other Fool’ was released as a single on Dec. 9, 1989, and peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Feb. 24, 1990, spending a total of 23 weeks on the chart.”

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