Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Dedicated to the One I Love

Originally recorded by The “5” Royales (US #81 1957).
Inspired by “I Don’t Want You to Go” by The Casanovas (1955).
Hit versions by The Shirelles (US #3 1961 reissue) and The Mamas and The Papas (US #2/UK #2 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ is a song written by Lowman Pauling and Ralph Bass which was a hit for The ‘5’ Royales, The Shirelles, and The Mamas & The Papas. Pauling was the guitarist of The ‘5’ Royales; Bass produced the 1957 recording session. The 1957 release peaked at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100. Songwriters Pauling and Bass owed a lot of their inspiration to Chester Mayfield’s song ‘I Don’t Want You To Go’ recorded by The Casanovas in 1955 on Apollo, the former label of The ‘5’ Royales.

“Originally called The Royal Sons Quintet, the group began recording for Apollo Records in the early 1950s, changing its name to The Royals after abandoning gospel for secular music. The ‘5’ Royales shared stages with all the major R&B artists of the 1950s, including Sam Cooke and Ray Charles, once substituting for the latter’s Raelettes at a show in Durham, North Carolina. Confusion would arise when two groups of Royals began touring – the other led by Detroit R&B legend Hank Ballard. According to members of the ‘5’ Royales, the confusion peaked in 1953 when an unscrupulous promoter booked Ballard’s group in Winston-Salem, trying to pass the Detroit band off as its native-son namesakes, much to the chagrin of a local audience. Shortly thereafter, the air cleared when Winston-Salem’s Royals became the ‘5’ Royales and Detroit’s Ballard-led Royals became The Midnighters.

“Cover versions of other’5′ Royales’ originals hit the Top 40. Along with ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ (The Shirelles, The Mamas & The Papas), there were covers recorded of ‘Tell the Truth’ (Ray Charles, R&B #13 1960), and ‘Think’ (James Brown & The Famous Flames, US #33/R&B #7 1960). James Brown, in fact, modeled his first band after the ‘5’ Royales; both Eric Clapton and legendary Stax guitarist Steve Cropper acknowledge guitarist Pauling as a key influence.

“After The Shirelles first two singles did poorly, including the first release in 1959 of ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ (it peaked at #89, due – it’s claimed – to poor distribution), Decca Records gave up on them, considering them a one-hit act. The group’s new label, Scepter Records, acquired the distribution rights to ‘Dedicated’ and the recording was re-released as a single in 1961, peaking at #3 (and #2 R&B). That relative success led to the girls being booked to perform with several major artists such as Etta James and Little Richard. Their next recording, ‘Tonight’s the Night’ barely made it into the Top 40 but that was, then, followed by a smash hit, ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’, written by husband-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King. That recording went on to become the first Billboard #1 hit by an African-American girl group and the first #1 hit by ANY girl group.

“A subsequent and more famous cover by The Mamas & The Papas went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. This version also peaked #2 on the UK Charts. Lead singer on The Mamas & The Papas version was Michelle Phillips. It was the first time Phillips was given the lead over Mama Cass Elliott in any of the group’s songs.”

The Casanovas, “I Don’t Want You to Go” (1955):

The Shirelles, “Dedicated to the One I Love” (1959):

The Mamas & The Papas, “Dedicated to the One I Love” (1967):

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