Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Anna (Go to Him)

Written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander (US #68/R&B #10 1962).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1963).

From the wiki: “‘Anna (Go to Him)’ (or simply ‘Anna’) was written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, and is considered to be one of the great early Soul ballads even if its loping groove was closer to a mid-tempo song than a slow ballad. It would become more famous for its cover version than through its original release. ‘Anna’ was actually a small hit when it first came out in 1962, peaking #68 on the Pop charts (but peaking at #10 on the R&B chart) but it was a personal favorite of John Lennon, and ‘Anna’ had been a part of The Beatles live set since its release in 1962.

“‘Anna’ was recorded by the group for their 1963 debut album, Please Please Me. Floyd Cramer’s piano lick on Alexander’s original was played on guitar by George Harrison. Lennon had a bad cold which accounted for his very rough tone he demonstrates on all of his vocals recorded during the historic session on February 11, 1963 when The Beatles recorded eleven songs in 10 hours, including the last song, ‘Twist and Shout‘.”

“In the U.S., Vee Jay Records released ‘Anna (Go to Him)’ on Introducing… The Beatles while Capitol Records re-released it in 1965 on The Early Beatles collection. The recording was also distributed to US disc jockeys in 1963 as the B-side to ‘Ask Me Why’. The promotional disc is a rare collectors item.

“Alexander has the distinction of being the only songwriter whose work has been recorded by The Beatles (‘Anna’), The Rolling Stones (‘You Better Move On‘), and Bob Dylan (‘Sally Sue Brown’). Elvis Presley would also cover, in 1972, Alexander’s original recording of ‘Burning Love‘.”

The Beatles, “Anna (Go to Him)” (1963):

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