Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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El Condor Pasa

First recorded by Orquesta del Zoológico (1917).
Also recorded by Los Incas (1963).
Hit version by Simon & Garfunkel (US #18/AUS #1/GER #1 1970).

From the wiki: “‘El Cóndor Pasa’ (Spanish for ‘The Condor Passes’) is an orchestral musical piece from the operetta El Cóndor Pasa by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles, written in 1913 and based on a traditional Andean folk tune. It was first recorded in 1917 by Orquesta del Zoológico (‘The Zoo Orchestra’).

“In 1965, the American musician Paul Simon listened for the first time to ‘El Condor Pasa’ at a performance of Los Incas, who recorded their version of the song in 1963, in Paris at the Théâtre de l’Est Parisien in a concert both Los Incas and Simon & Garfunkel both participated. Simon asked the band permission to use it, to which the band replied that the song was a melody belonging to Robles and arranged by Los Incas’ director Jorge Milchberg. However, when the song was released on the album Bridge Over Troubled Water only Simon was listed as the author. Also, Simon & Garfunkel had used without permission the Los Incas’ 1963 recording as their instrumental arrangement.

“In 1970, Alomía Robles’ son Armando Robles Godoy filed a copyright lawsuit against Simon and demonstrated that the song had been composed by his father and that his father had copyrighted the song in the United States in 1933. Robles Godoy said that he bears no ill will towards Simon for what he considers a misunderstanding. ‘It was an almost friendly court case, because Paul Simon was very respectful of other cultures. It was not carelessness on his part,’ says Robles Godoy. ‘He happened to hear the song in Paris from a vernacular group. He liked it, he went to ask them and they gave him the wrong information.'”

Los Incas, “El Condor Pasa” (1963):

Simon & Garfunkel, “El Condor Pasa” (1970):

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