Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Category: Decade

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

First recorded by Klaatu (US #62/CAN #45 1976).
Other hit version by The Carpenters (US #32/MOR #18/UK #9/CAN #9/IRE #1 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’, written by Terry Draper, John Woloschuk, was first recorded by Canadian band Klaatu in 1976 for release on their debut album 3:47 EST. John Woloschuk, a member of Klaatu and one of the song’s composers, recalled:

‘The idea for this track was suggested by an actual event that is described in The Flying Saucer Reader, a book by Jay David published in 1967. In March 1953 an organization known as the ‘International Flying Saucer Bureau’ sent a bulletin to all its members urging them to participate in an experiment termed ‘World Contact Day’ whereby, at a predetermined date and time, they would attempt to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words … ‘Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!”

“After its release, the Klaatu recording would open night transmissions of the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. Even more bizarre, the song got caught up in rumors that it presaged a Beatles reunion – that ‘Klaatu’ was just a pseudonym for the Fab Four’s return to the recording studio (and possible reunion concert).

Stop and Smell the Roses

First recorded by Henson Cargill (recorded 1973, C&W #29 1974).
Other hit version by co-writer Mac Davis (US #9/MOR #1/C&W #40/CAN #3 1974).

From the wiki: “‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ was written by songwriter Mac Davis (he wrote ‘In the Ghetto’ for Elvis Presley) and the noted bandleader-trumpeter Doc Severinsen. It was first recorded by Henson Cargill (best known for the socially controversial 1968 Country #1 hit ‘Skip a Rope’) in late 1973 on his album This Is Henson Cargill Country, and then released in May 1974 as something of a come-back single for the performer, peaking at #29 on the Country singles chart.

“Co-writer Davis released his arrangement in March 1974 as the title track for the album Stop and Smell the Roses. Promoted as a single beginning in August 1974, ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ peaked at #40 on the Country singles chart but went Top-10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian RPM music charts and topped the MOR chart in the US.”

Too Much

First recorded by Bernard Hardison (1954).
Also recorded by Frankie Castro (1956).
Hit version by Elvis Presley (US #1/C&W #3/R&B #3 1957).

From the wiki: “Written by Lee Rosenberg and Bernard Weinman, ‘Too Much’ was built around a teen catchphrase (‘Aw, man, that’s too much!’). First recorded by Bernard Hardison (‘with band’) in 1954, it had no chart impact – possibly due to its lyrics being considered ‘too suggestive’. Recorded again two years later by Frankie Castro for Mercury Records, it again failed to chart – but did garner a ‘rave’ review in Billboard:

‘A personality-packed side with a subtle r&r back-up. For junior hipsters.’ – Billboard, May 19, 1956

“But, covered (with lyrics ‘sanitized’) by Elvis Presley, in 1957, ‘Too Much’ topped the Billboard Hot 100. It also went Top-5 on both the Country and R&B music charts.”

Hello Dolly!

Based on “Sunflower” by The Russ Morgan Orchestra (US #5 1949).
Hit versions by Carol Channing (1964), Louis Armstrong (demo recording US #1/MOR #1 1964).

From the wiki: “‘Hello, Dolly!’, the title song from the popular 1964 musical of the same name. was written by Jerry Herman (music and lyrics), who also wrote the scores for many other popular musicals including Mame and La Cage aux Folles.

“In December 1963, a month prior to the show’s opening and cast album release, at the behest of his manager, Louis Armstrong produced a demonstration recording of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ for the song’s publisher to use to promote the show. Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964 at the St. James Theatre in New York City, and it quickly became a major success (2844 total performances, through December 1970). When the original cast album was released, it topped the Billboard Album chart for seven weeks and was the top Album of the Year on Billboard’s year-end chart.

“As successful as the stage show and title song itself was to become, the song ‘Hello, Dolly!’ became caught up in a lawsuit which could have endangered timely plans for bringing the musical to the silver screen. Mack David, an Academy Award-nominated composer (‘Walk on the Wild Side’, ‘The Ballad of Cat Ballou’) also known for his compositions for television (‘Casper, the Friendly Ghost’), sued for infringement of copyright, because the first four bars of Herman’s show number, ‘Hello, Dolly!’, were the exact same as those in the refrain of David’s song ‘Sunflower’ from 1948. As Herman recounts in his memoirs, he had never heard ‘Sunflower’ before the lawsuit, and wanted a chance to defend himself in court. But, for the sake of those involved in the show and the potential film, he reluctantly agreed to pay a settlement before the case would have gone to trial.

It Had to Be You

First recorded by Sam Lanin & His Roseland Orchestra (1924).
Hit versions by Isham Jones (US #1 1924), Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest with Victor Young & His Orchestra (US #4 1944).
Also recorded by Harry Connick Jr. (1989).

From the wiki: “‘It Had to Be You’ was written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn. Jones and Kahn wrote the tune in 1924, shortly after Jones’ wife bought him a baby grand piano for his 30th birthday and he stayed up all night noodling around until he came up with a few melodies, one of them being ‘It Had To Be You.’ Composer Johnny Mercer, no slouch himself at writing lyrics (‘Blues in the Night‘, ‘Jeepers Creepers‘, ‘Satin Doll’), has called ‘It Had to Be You’ the ‘greatest popular song ever written.’

“The first recording of the song occurred on March 20, 1924 and was produced by Sam Lanin & His Roseland Orchestra. Jones’ own recording, produced on April 24, 1924, became a #1 hit later that year. The song charted again in 1944, recorded by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest with the Victor Young orchestra.

The Entertainer

First performed by Scott Joplin (1902).
First recorded (as “Easy Winner”) by The Blue Boys (1928).
Also recorded by Joshua Rifkin (1970).
Hit version by Marvin Hamlisch (US #3/MOR #1 1973).

From the wiki: “‘The Entertainer’, a classic piano rag, was composed in 1902 by Scott Joplin. It was sold first as sheet music. Later, in the 1910s, it enjoyed sales as a ‘piano roll’ to be played/reproduced on player pianos. It was not until 1928 when ‘The Entertainer’ was first recorded by blues and ragtime musicians, The Blue Boys, playing on mandolin and guitar. The Blue Boys were Matthew Prater and Napoleon Hayes, from Vicksburg, MS, and they combined their recording into a medley with ‘Creole Belle’, titling it ‘Easy Winner’.

Yesterday, When I Was Young

First recorded (as “Hier Encore”) by Charles Aznavour (1964).
Hit English-language version by Roy Clark (US #19/C&W #9/MOR #6/CAN #7 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Yesterday, When I Was Young’ was originally written and recorded as ‘Hier Encore’ (‘Yesterday Again’) in France by songwriter Charles Aznavour and released in September 1964. It was subsequently released in Italian as ‘Ieri Si’, in Danish as ‘Hvor tiden går’, in Japanese ‘帰り来ぬ青春’ [‘Returning Youth’], in Spanish as ‘Ayer Aún’, ‘Eilen kun mä tiennyt en’ in Finnish and, in 1969, in English as ‘Yesterday, When I Was Young’. It is considered one of Aznavour’s greatest hits.

“The English-language lyrics, written by Herbert Kretzmer, tell of a man reflecting on his life. Country singer Roy Clark covered ‘Yesterday, When I Was Young’ in 1969. His version became his biggest hit up to that time on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, peaking at #9 and becoming his only Top-40 pop hit, peaking at #19. Clark performed the song at Mickey Mantle’s funeral in 1995, at Mantle’s personal request.”

Oh Happy Day

First recorded (as “Happy Day”) by The Trinity Choir (1913).
Hit versions by The Edwin Hawkins Singers (recorded 1967 |US #4/UK #2/CAN #2/IRE #2/GER #1 1969), Glen Campbell (US #40/MOR #7/C&W #25/CAN #11 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Oh Happy Day’ is a 1967 gospel music arrangement of an 18th-century hymn with long pedigree. It was written in the mid-18th century (‘O happy day, that fixed my choice’) by English clergyman Philip Doddridge (based on Acts 8:35) set to an earlier melody (1704) by J. A. Freylinghausen. By the mid-19th century it had been given a new melody by Edward F. Rimbault, who also added a chorus, and the song was commonly used for baptismal or confirmation ceremonies in the UK and US. Hawkins’ new arrangement contained only the repeated Rimbault refrain, with all of the original verses omitted.

“The first known recording dates from July 17, 1913, on Victor 17499, by the Trinity Choir.

Three Little Fishies (Itty Bitty Poo)

First recorded by Hal Kemp & His Orchestra feat. The Smoothies (US #2 1939).
Other hit version Kay Kyser (US #1 1939).
Also recorded by Frankie Howerd (1949).

From the wiki: “‘Three Little Fishies’ was written by Hal Kemp Orchestra saxophonist ‘Saxie’ Dowell, with lyrics by Josephine Carringer and Bernice Idins, and was first recorded in 1939 by Hal Kemp & His Orchestra with vocals by The Smoothies.The song tells the story of three fishes who defy their mother’s command of swimming only in a meadow, by swimming over a dam and on out to sea, where they encounter a shark, which the fish describe as a whale. They flee for their lives and return to the meadow in safety.

“The song was a US #2 hit in 1939 for Kemp but topped the Hit Parade when recorded by Kay Kyser, with vocals by Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, Sully Mason and Ish-Kabibble. ‘Three Little Fishies’ was released in the UK as a 78 by British comedian Frankie Howerd, on the short-lived UK Harmony label, in 1949.”

Over and Over

First recorded (as a B-side) by Bobby Day (US #41/R&B #1 1958).
Also recorded by Thurston Harris (US #96 1958).
Other hit version by The Dave Clark Five (US #1/UK #45 1965).
Also recorded by The Righteous Brothers (1965).

From the wiki: “‘Over and Over’ was written by Robert James Byrd and was recorded by him in 1958 using his stage name, Bobby Day (a name he earlier used when a member of the original ‘Bob & Earl’ duo until parting ways in 1957). Day’s version entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958, first as the B-side to the hit single ‘Rockin’ Robin’ and, soon after, as an A-side, the same week a version of the same song by Thurston Harris (who had covered Day’s ‘Little Bitty Pretty One‘ the previous year with chart success) entered the chart. Day’s version would reach #41 on the Hot 100 but would top the R&B chart; Harris’ single peaked on the Hot 100 at #96.

Hello Stranger

Written and first recorded by Barbara Lewis (US #3/R&B #1 1963).
Other hit versions by Fire & Rain (US #100 1973), Yvonne Elliman (US #15/R&B #57/MOR #1/UK #26/NETH #20/NZ #12 1977), Carrie Lucas & The Whispers (R&B #20 1985).
Also recorded by Martha & the Vandellas (1963), The Capitols (1966), The Supremes & The Four Tops (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Hello Stranger’ was written by Barbara Lewis herself, who was originally inspired to write the while working gigs in Detroit with her musician father: ‘I would make the circuit with my dad and people would yell out: ‘Hey stranger, hello stranger, it’s been a long time’.’ The song is notable because its title comprises the first two words of the lyrics but is never at any point repeated throughout the remainder of the song.

“Lewis recorded ‘Hello Stranger’ at Chess Studios in Chicago in January 1963. The track’s producer Ollie McLaughlin recruited The Dells to provide the background vocals. The arrangement by Riley Hampton – then working with Etta James – featured a signature organ riff provided by keyboardist John Young. The track was completed after thirteen takes. Lewis would recall that, on hearing the playback of the finished track, Dells member Chuck Barksdale ‘kept jumping up and down and saying, ‘It’s a hit, it’s a hit.’…I didn’t really know. It was all new to me.’

Love Letters in the Sand

First recorded by The Majestic Dance Orchestra (1931).
Inspired by “The Spanish Cavalier” (c. 1881).
Hit versions by The Ted Black Orchestra (US #6 1931), Pat Boone (US #1/R&B #12/UK #2 1957), Vince Hill (UK #23 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Love Letters in the Sand’ was written by J. Fred Coots and the lyrics by Nick Kenny and Charles Kenny and was first published in 1931. The song was ‘inspired’ by an 1881 composition, ‘The Spanish Cavalier’, by William D. Hendrickson. First recorded by The Majestic Dance Orchestra, featuring vocalist Helen Rowland, on August 27, 1931, ‘Love Letters in the Sand’ was also recorded the following day (August 28, 1931) by the Ted Black Orchestra whose arrangement peaked at #6 on the Hit Parade.

Body and Soul

First recorded by Jack Hylton (Feb 1930).
Hit versions by Libby Holman (US #3 1930), Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra (US #1 1930), Louis Armstrong (US #7 1932), Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse (US #87 2011).
Also recorded by Coleman Hawkins (1939), Billie Holiday (1957).

From the wiki: “The popular jazz standard, ‘Body and Soul’, was written in 1930 by Johnny Green (music) with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. It was composed in New York City for the British actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, who introduced it first on stage to London audiences. ‘Body and Soul’ would also be first recorded in London by the orchestra of Jack Hylton, the ‘British King of Jazz’, on February 7, 1930.

“In the US, the song was first performed on stage by Libby Holman in 1930 Broadway revue, Three’s a Crowd. The tune grew quickly in popularity and, by the end of 1930, at least 11 American bands had recorded it, including a release by Holman with the Brunswick Records studio orchestra. The Paul Whiteman Orchestra, featuring Jack Fulton vocals, recorded the most popular version; Louis Armstrong would the first jazz musician to record ‘Body and Soul’, in October 1932.

Gee Whiz

First recorded by Bob & Earl (1958).
Hit version by The Innocents (US #18 1960).

From the wiki: “‘Gee Whiz’ was one of two similarly-titled songs that charted in 1960. This version, written by Jeanne Vicki and Jimmie Thomas (the latter an alias for Chess Records owner Leon René), was first recorded in 1958 by Bob & Earl, Bobby Day (née Bobby Byrd) and Earl Nelson. Both authors had also collaborated earlier Day’s #1 hit ‘Rockin’ Robin’ in 1958. (Note: Day left the duo in 1960, and was replaced by Bob Relf. It was the Relf/Nelson ‘Bob and Earl’ who would go on to record ‘Harlem Shuffle‘ in 1963, Bob and Earl’s only chart success.)

“‘Gee Whiz’ was covered in 1960 by The Innocents, the group who had backed up Kathy Young on ‘A Thousand Stars‘, with a single that peaked in the US Top-20.”

Good Hearted Woman

Co-written and first recorded by Willie Nelson (1972).
Hit versions by Waylon Jennings (C&W #3 1973), Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson (US #25/MOR #16/C&W #1 1976).
Also recorded by Tina Turner (recorded 1974, released 1979).

From the wiki: “Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson wrote ‘Good Hearted Woman’ in a room at the Fort Worther Motel in Forth Worth, TX, in 1969, inspired by an ad for an Ike & Tina Turner show saying: ‘Tina Turner singing songs about good-hearted women loving good-timing men.’ Jennings started writing the song and asked Nelson to help him finish it during a late-night poker game. By all accounts, Nelson’s contribution was minimal, with his third wife Connie recalling, ‘The only part Willie came up with was ‘Through teardrops and laughter they walk through this world hand in hand.’ Waylon said, ‘That’s it! That’s what’s missing’ and gave Willie half the song.’

“‘Good Hearted Woman’ was first recorded by Willie Nelson in 1972 for his album The Words Don’t Fit the Picture. Later the same year, Jennings recorded the song as the title track of his album Good Hearted Woman. Released as a single in 1973, Jenning’s recording peaked at #3 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart.

“In 1975, Jennings remixed the song, adding vocals from Willie (and adding fake crowd noise to give it a ‘live performance’ feel) for the compilation album Wanted: The Outlaws!. The album cemented the pair’s outlaw image and became country music’s first Platinum album. Re-released as a single, ‘Good Hearted Woman’ peaked at #1 on the Hot Country Singles chart and crossed-over to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #25. The song won the Single of the Year award at the 1976 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards.

“In 1974, unbeknownst to either Jennings or Nelson, Tina Turner recorded the song that was, in part, inspired by her, intending it for her first solo album (while still married to Ike Turner), Tina Turns The Country On. Turner recorded almost twenty songs, all covers by different country artists, but only ten – not including ‘Good Hearted Woman’ – were chosen for the album’s release. The remaining tracks were released for the first time in 1979 on the album Good Hearted Woman in 1979. (After Tina’s mid-1980s comeback, the album was reissued in 1985 by Playback Records under the title Tina Turner Goes Country.) Of the 1985 reissue, Billboard magazine wrote:

‘The history of this album is not elucidated in the liner notes, but whenever and however it was recorded, it links Turner with classics like ‘Lovin’ Him Was Easier’, ‘Good Hearted Woman’, and ‘Stand By Your Man’. Her cornered, yowling style renders complete justice to them all.'”

Waylon Jennings, “Good Hearted Woman” (1973):

Tina Turner, “Good Hearted Woman” (1974):

Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings, “Good Hearted Woman” (1976):

Terry’s Theme (Eternally)

Written by Charles Chaplin and first performed in Limelight (1952).
Hit versions by Frank Chacksfield (as “Terry’s Theme” US #5/UK #2 1953), Rod Goodwin (as “Terry’s Theme” UK #12 1953), Vic Damone (as “Eternally” US #12 1953), Jimmy Young (as “Eternally” UK #8 1953).

From the wiki: “‘Terry’s Theme’ was composed by Charles Chaplin (née Charlie Chaplin), with lyrics by the English lyricists Geoff Parsons and John Turner. The music was first used for Chaplin’s film Limelight (1952) titled ‘Terry’s Theme’. The music for the film was belatedly awarded an Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973.

“Chaplin spent more than two years writing Limelight. His method was remarkable, and unique in his work. As a preliminary, he wrote the story in the form of a full-length novel – some 100,000 words long and entitled ‘Footlights’. The novel – never published in Chaplin’s lifetime or apparently even intended for publication – relates the story as it appears in the finished film.

Patches (Dickey Lee)

First recorded by Jimmy Isle (1960).
Hit version by Dickey Lee (US #6 1962).

From the wiki:”‘Patches’ (not to be confused with Clarence Carter’s ‘Patches‘) was written by Barry Mann (‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘, ‘Venus in Blue Jeans‘, ‘Never Gonna Let You Go‘) and Larry Kobler imagining a ‘Romeo & Juliet’ scenario. The song tells in waltz-time the story of teenage lovers of different social classes whose parents forbid their love. The girl drowns herself in the ‘dirty old river.’ The singer concludes: ‘It may not be right, but I’ll join you tonight/ Patches I’m coming to you.’

“‘Patches’ was first recorded by Jimmy Isle for Everest Records in 1960 but which did not have any chart impact. Two years later, in 1962, Dickey Lee would cover the song. Because of its teen-suicide theme, the song was banned on a number of US radio stations. Still, it sold over one million copies, was awarded a gold disc, and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #6.

Dipsy Doodle

First recorded by Tommy Dorsey feat. Edythe Wright (#1 1937).
Other hit versions by Russ Morgan and His Orchestra (US #2 1937), Johnny Maddox & the Rhythmasters (US #15 1953).
Also recorded by Larry Clinton & His Orchestra feat. Bea Wain (1937), Ella Fitzgerald & the Chick Webb Orchestra (1937), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957).

“Larry Clinton was an arranger for the Dorsey Brothers big band at the he came up with ‘Dipsy Doodle’, hanging out at the Onyx Club, a jazz club on 52nd Street in New York City, where the back of the menus were printed with blank music scores. One evening Clinton wrote the melody on a menu. It wasn’t until baseball season rolled around that he came up with the lyrics.

“He was a baseball fanatic and Clinton got the idea [for lyrics] from New York Giants left-handed pitcher Carl Hubbell. Hubbell had a screwball pitch that had been dubbed ‘dipsy doo’ for the crazy way it dipped over the plate and befuddled the batters.

“Clinton originally wrote ‘Dipsy Doodle’ for Tommy Dorsey [whose 1937 recording featuring vocalist Edythe Wright topped the Hit Parade ahead of the Russ Moran Orchestra cover version]. Dorsey then made Clinton so well known that Clinton was able to start a band of his own with the financial backing of Dorsey. Then Clinton’s own band further popularized ‘Dipsy Doodle’ by using it as its theme song.

He’ll Have to Go

First recorded by Billy Brown (1959).
Hit versions by Jim Reeves (US #2/C&W #1/R&B #13/UK #12/CAN #1/AUS #1/NOR #1 1959), Solomon Burke (US #51/R&B #17 1964).
Also recorded by Elvis Presley (1976).

From the wiki: “‘He’ll Have to Go’ was written by Joe Allison and Audrey Allison.

“Joe first worked in the early 1940s as a commercial artist before embarking on a career in the entertainment industry, first as a disc jockey on a Paris, Texas radio station. In 1945, after a few years on radio, Allison took a job as the emcee for the North American tour of country music singing star Tex Ritter. While working on tour, he offered Ritter a song he had written called ‘When You Leave, Don’t Slam the Door’, which the singer turned into a #1 hit on the Country music charts. This success ultimately led to Allison moving to a radio station in Nashville, Tennessee where he remained until accepting an offer from a radio station in Pasadena, California.

“In 1959, Joe and Audrey co-wrote their most famous song, ‘He’ll Have to Go’, which was initially recorded by Billy Brown. A subsequent version by Jim Reeves become a platinum record, and the song would be recorded successfully by more than one hundred other artists including Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Tom Jones, Eddy Arnold, and even big band leader Guy Lombardo. That same year, Allison was hired by Liberty Records to create their Country music department. It was at Liberty that Joe signed Willie Nelson to his first recording contract.

It’s a Heartache

First released by Juice Newton (MEX #3 1977 |US #86 1978).
Other hit versions by Bonnie Tyler (US #3/UK #4/CAN #1/AUS #1 1978), Dave & Sugar (C&W #32 1981), Trick Pony (C&W #22 2005).
Also recorded by Rod Stewart (2006).

From the wiki: “‘It’s a Heartache’ was written by Ronnie Scott & Steve Wolfe. Scott was working with Wolfe as a songwriting and producing team when they spotted Bonnie Tyler in ‘The Townsman Club’ in Swansea, Wales in 1976, and they became Tyler’s managers, songwriters, and producers, writing and producing eight out of the ten songs on Tyler’s first album, The World Starts Tonight (1977). The album included Tyler’s first two UK Top-30 hits, ‘Lost in France’ and ‘More Than a Lover’.

“Tyler’s second album, Natural Force (released in the US as It’s a Heartache in 1978) included five Scott/Wolfe songs including the track ‘It’s a Heartache’ which reached #4 in the UK, and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The song had already been recorded and first released by Juice Newton almost a year earlier, in 1977.

Folsom Prison Blues

Based on “Crescent City Blues” by Beverly Mahr (1953).
Hit versions by Johnny Cash (C&W #4 1956), Johnny Cash (US #32/C&W #1/CAN #1 1968).

From the wiki: “Although ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ is still widely thought to have been a Johnny Cash original, he based its melody and many of the lyrics on Gordon Jenkins’s ‘Crescent City Blues’ (which itself borrowed heavily from the 1930s instrumental ‘Crescent City Blues’ by Little Brother Montgomery) from Jenkins’ 1953 Seven Dreams concept album. Jenkins was not credited on the original ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ release. But, by the early 1970s, after the song had become popular, Cash paid Jenkins a settlement of approximately US$75,000 following a lawsuit.

“Cash heard ‘Crescent City Blues’ during his stint with the U.S. Air Force in Germany. He said ‘At the time, I really had no idea I would be a professional recording artist; I wasn’t trying to rip anybody off.’ One very distinct and memorable lyric of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ that Cash can claim as being wholly original is the line ‘But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die’. Cash later recalled: ‘I sat with my pen in my hand, trying to think up the worst reason a person could have for killing another person, and that’s what came to mind.’

Old Time Rock ‘n Roll

First recorded (as a demo) by George Jackson (1978).
Hit version by Bob Seger (US #28/CAN #31 1979 |US #48/AUS #53 1983 |AUS #3 1987 ).

From the wiki: “‘Old Time Rock and Roll’ was written by George Jackson (‘Victim of a Foolish Heart‘) and Thomas E. Jones III, and was first recorded as a demo by Jackson. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who often backed Seger in his studio recordings at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, sent Seger a demo of Jackson’s song during the recording of Stranger in Town. Jackson recalls ‘Bob had pretty much finished his recording at Muscle Shoals and he asked them if they had any other songs he could listen to for the future.’

“The song was recorded at the Muscle Shoals studio and also at Sound Suite Studios in Detroit, Michigan. Originally, Seger’s Silver Bullet Band was displeased with its inclusion on Stranger in Town, claiming, according to Seger, that the song was not ‘Silver Bullety’ enough. However, upon hearing audience reactions to it during their tour in Europe, the band grew to like the song. Released as a single in 1979, the song became a Top-40 hit, peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

That’s Rock ‘n Roll

Written and first recorded by Eric Carmen (DEN #7 1976).
Other hit version by Shaun Cassidy (US #3/CAN #1/AUS #2 1978).

From the wiki: “‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was written and first recorded by Eric Carmen in 1976. It later became a US Top-10 hit for teen idol Shaun Cassidy.

“Carmen released his version of ‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ in some nations as the third single from his first eponymous self-titled debut album, Eric Carmen. The single’s limited release did not include the United States. The song charted at #7 in Denmark. Parts of the song are autobiographical.

“‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was covered in 1977 by Shaun Cassidy on his first solo LP, Shaun Cassidy. The song was Cassidy’s second of three consecutive Top-10 hits in the US. Cassidy’s cover also topped the Canadian singles chart and nudged the top of the Australian singles chart.

“In 1988, ‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was featured as the B-side of a subsequent major hit by Carmen, ‘Make Me Lose Control’.”

Shaun Cassidy, “That’s Rock ‘n Roll” (1978):

Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning

First recorded (as “The Last Thing I Needed (The First Thing This Morning)”) by Bill & Bonnie Hearne (1976).
Hit version by Willie Nelson (C&W #2/CAN #1 1982).
Also recorded by Lost Gonzo Band (1976), Gary P. Nunn (1984).

From the wiki: “‘Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” was written by Gary P. Nunn (‘London Homesick Blues’ aka Austin City Limits theme song) and Donna Farar, and was first recorded in 1976 by then-Austin, TX, musicians Bill & Bonnie Hearne. Willie Nelson recorded the song in 1982 for his album Always On My Mind. ‘Last Thing I Needed …’ was released as the third single from the album, and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and #1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.

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