Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Category: Pop

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.”

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’.”

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.”

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.”

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

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.”

Baubles, Bangles & Beads

First recorded by the Original Cast of Kismet (1953).
Hit versions by Peggy Lee (US #30/AUS #9 1954), Georgia Gibbs (B-side US #18 1954), The Kirby Stone Four (US #25 1958), Frank Sinatra (1959), Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967), Deodato (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Baubles, Bangles & Beads’ is from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin, in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D.

“The best-selling version of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee in 1953, charting in 1954. Another popular cover from 1954 was recorded by Georgia Gibbs, released as the B-side to ‘Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell’. A Kirby Stone Four re-make hit the Billboard Top 100 in 1958 and remains the favorite cover heard on Adult Standard (MOR) radio stations. Frank Sinatra recorded the song twice: in 1959 with the Billy May Orchestra, and again in 1967 in a Bossa nova arrangment with guitarist Antonion Carlos Jobim. (Eumir) Deodato recorded an instrumental version for his hit LP of 1973.

“The most curious version mixed the scherzo of Borodin’s ‘String Quartet No. 2’ with the pop arrangement of ‘Baubles, Bangles & Beads’, under the name ‘Borodin, Bangles & Beads’, and arranged by the Argentine Ernesto Acher in 1987 on his album Juegos.”

Play That Song

Inspired by “Heart & Soul” by Hoagy Carmichael & Frank Loesser (1938).
Hit version by Train (US #41/UK #21/AUS #8 2016).

From the wiki: “‘Play That Song’ incorporates the melody of ‘Heart and Soul‘, written in 1938 by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser. They are credited as ‘Play That Song’ writers, alongside Train lead singer Patrick Monahan and producer William Wiik Larsen.

“The original recording of ‘Heart and Soul’ was performed by Larry Clinton & his Orchestra featuring Bea Wain, one of three versions that could chart in 1939: Larry Clinton (reaching #1 on the chart), Eddy Duchin (reaching #12), and Al Donahue (reaching #16). ‘Heart and Soul’ later charted as #11 in 1952 by The Four Aces with the Jack Pleis Orchestra. The Cleftones charted a rock ‘n roll version of the song in 1961, a recording that was also popularly used in the 1972 movie American Graffiti.

“‘Play That Song’ was released on September 29, 2016 as the lead single from Train’s tenth studio album A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat (2017). The song has peaked at #41 on the US Billboard Hot 100 but became a Top-10 hit in Australia.”

Ease On Down the Road

First recorded by “The Wiz” original cast (1975).
Hit versions by Consumer Rapport (US #42/R&B #19/Dance #1 1975), Diana Ross & Michael Jackson (US #41/R&B #17/UK #45 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Ease On Down the Road’ isthe 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz, an R&B re-interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. The Charlie Smalls–composed tune is the show’s version of both ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘We’re Off to See the Wizard’ from the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz. In the song, performed three times during the show, Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion dance their way down the Yellow Brick Road and give each other words of encouragement.

“‘Ease On Down the Road’ was performed in the original Broadway production by Stephanie Mills (Dorothy), Hinton Battle (Scarecrow), Tiger Haynes (Tin Man), and Ted Ross (Cowardly Lion), who also performed the song on the original 1975 cast album for The Wiz. Released as a single in 1975 by the studio group Consumer Rapport, the song became a #1 Disco hit for five non-consecutive weeks.

“A second cover of the song was recorded by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, for the 1978 feature-film adaptation of The Wiz. It charted #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top-20 on the R&B chart.”

On the Street Where You Live

First performed by John Michael King (1956).
Hit versions by Vic Damone (US #4/UK #1 1956), Eddie Fisher (US #18 1956), Andy Williams (US #28/MOR #3 1964).

From the wiki: “‘On the Street Where You Live’ was composed by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, from the 1956 Broadway musical, My Fair Lady. It is sung in the musical by the character Freddy Eynsford-Hill, portrayed by John Michael King in the original Broadway production. The most popular single of the song was recorded by Vic Damone in 1956 for Columbia Records. Eddie Fisher also had a Top-20 Billboard hit with the song in 1956. Andy Williams’ recording appeared in the Billboard Top-40 in 1964.”

Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)

Early recording by Edward M. Favor (1894).
Other popular recordings by Dinah Shore (1942), Charlie & His Orchestra (1942), Nat “King” Cole (1963).
Also recorded by IBM 1094 (1961), “HAL 9000” (1968), Katy Perry (2014).

From the wiki: “‘Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)’ was written in 1892 by Harry Dacre. The song is said to have been inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of the many mistresses of King Edward VII (1841-1910). The song was first recorded and released by Dan W. Quinn in 1893. Edward M. Favor recorded a version in 1894 that still exists.

“In 1942, when Dinah Shore appeared on Eddie Cantor’s popular radio show, she performed a clever arrangement of the song. The Nazi-sponsored German propaganda swing band, Charlie & His Orchestra, also released a cover of the song in 1942, aimed at listeners in the UK and the US. Nat King Cole recorded a cover for his popular 1963 album Those Lazy-Crazy-Hazy Days of Summer.

Love Me

Written and first recorded by The Bee Gees (1976).
Hit versions by Yvonne Elliman (US #20/UK #6/IRE #9/NZ #3 1976), Martine McCutcheon (UK #6 1999).

From the wiki: “‘Love Me’ was first recorded and released by the Bee Gees, released on the 1976 album Children of the World. It was written by Barry and Robin Gibb featuring Robin on lead with his falsetto (with Barry on the middle eight evidenced on the outro). This makes this song a curio among the group’s mid- to late-’70s tracks, as Barry sang most of the The Bee Gee’s lead vocals. Yvonne Elliman’s version was more successful than the Bee Gees’, reaching the Top-20 US chart, and Top-10 in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. Martine McCutcheon remade ‘Love Me’ for her 1999 debut album You, Me & Us from which the track – serving as the BBC Children in Need single for 1999 – was issued as the third single.”

Old Devil Moon

First performed by Ella Logan & Donald Richards (1947).
First recorded by Charley Spivak & His Orchestra (1947).
Hit version by Margaret Whiting (US #11 1947).
Also recorded by Miles Davis (1954), Sarah Vaughn (1954), Frank Sinatra (1956), Chet Baker (1958)

From the wiki: “‘Old Devil Moon’ was composed by Burton Lane, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, for the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow. It was introduced on stage by Ella Logan and Donald Richards. It was first recorded for commercial release by Charley Spivak & His Orchestra; singer Margaret Whiting topped the US Hit Parade in 1947 with her cover recording, from the Margaret Whiting Sings album.

“Another popular rendition of this song was recorded by Frank Sinatra, who included ‘Old Devil Moon’ on his 1956 Capitol Records album Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! which peaked at #1 in the UK. Sarah Vaughn, and Chet Baker also recorded popular vocal arrangements. Miles Davis recorded a popular instrumental version in 1954 for the Blue Haze album.”

Peg o’ My Heart

First recorded by Charles Harrison (US #1 1913).
Other hit versions by Henry Burr (US #2 1913), The Three Suns (US #1 1947), Buddy Clark (US #1 1947), The Harmonicats (US #1 1947), Ted Weems & His Orchestra (US #5 1947).
Also recorded by Dropkick Murphys w/ Bruce Springsteen (2011).

From the wiki: “‘Peg o’ My Heart’ was written by Alfred Bryan and Fred Fisher. The song was inspired by the main character, Peg, in the very successful musical comedy of the time, Peg O’ My Heart, starring Laurette Taylor in the title role. It would be first performed publicly by Irving Kaufman in 1912 at The College Inn in New York City after he had stumbled across a draft of sheet music on a shelf at the Leo Feist publishing offices. ‘Peg o My Heart’ would be featured in the 1913 musical Ziegfeld Follies where it gained wide attention.

“The first recording of ‘Peg o’ My Heart’ was made by Charles Harrison, in July 1913. Henry Burr followed in August 1913 with his rendition. Both proved to be nationally-popular recordings. ‘Peg o’ My Heart’ saw a resurgence of popularity after WWII with numerous covers jockeying for popularity in 1947, including #1 recordings by The Three Suns, Buddy Clark, and The Harmonicats. In 2011, Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys would revive the song, with a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen.”

Music to Watch Girls Go By

Co-written and first recorded by Sid Ramin (1965).
Hit versions by The Bob Crewe Generation (US #15/MOR #2 1966), Andy Williams (US #34/UK #33 1967 |UK#9 1999), Al Hirt (US #119/MOR #31 1967).
Also recorded (as “Music to Watch Space Girls Go By”) by Leonard Nimoy (1967).

From the wiki: “‘Music to Watch Girls Go By’ was composed by Tony Velona and Sidney ‘Sid’ Ramin, and was first recorded as a commercial jingle demo for Diet Pepsi, where producer Bob Crewe first heard the song. Crewe, using his own name, then recorded the song under his nom de plume ‘The Bob Crewe Generation’. Crewe’s ‘big-band, horn driven’ recording went to #15 on the Pop chart and #2 on the Easy Listening chart.

“A vocal recording by Andy Williams, featuring lyrics by original co-writer Velona, went to #34 in the United States and #33 in the UK but, after it was used in a Fiat ad in the UK in 1999, the re-released single reached the UK Top-10. The version by Al Hirt in 1967 reached #31 on the MOR chart and bubbled-under the Billboard Hot 100. In 1967, an instrumental version, renamed ‘Music to Watch Space Girls By’, appeared on Leonard Nimoy’s debut album Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space.”

Human Nature

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Steve Porcaro (1983).
Hit version by Michael Jackson (1984).

From the wiki: “‘Human Nature’ was written by Toto band member Steve Porcaro about a playground incident his daughter had at school earlier in the day. (A boy had hit her after she fell off the slide – Porcaro said ‘she asked [me] why?’ and he replied ‘it was human nature.’) Procaro wrote the song that night in a studio while the band was mixing their single, ‘Africa’, in another studio.

“Soon after, bandmate David Paich called Procaro one day to make a cassette tape of 2 songs David had written for Michael Jackson’s new Thriller album project, for someone to pick up for delivery. Procaro happened to use the cassette he recorded ‘Human Nature’ on, putting Paich’s songs on the opposite side and switching the labels to read Side-A. It was a happy accident that auto-playback kicked in while Jackson producer Quincy Jones was in his car listening to Porcaro’s cassette demo. Jones got to hear ‘Human Nature’ on Side B, and loved it.”

L-O-V-E

Co-written and first recorded by Bert Kaempfert (1964).
Hit version by Nat “King” Cole (US #89/MOR #17 1965).

From the wiki: “‘L-O-V-E’ was composed by Bert Kaempfert, and was first recorded as an instrumental track on Kaempfert’s album Blue Midnight (1964). Nat ‘King’ Cole followed in 1965 with his vocal recording for his album of the same name (1965), with lyrics by Milt Gabler. The trumpet solo on the Cole recording was performed by Bobby Bryant. For international versions of L-O-V-E album, Cole also recorded versions of ‘L-O-V-E’ in Japanese (mixed with English words), Italian, German, Spanish and French (as ‘Je Ne Repartirai Pas’).”

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