Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Elvira

Written and first recorded by Dallas Frazier (US #72/CAN #27 1966).
Also recorded by Kenny Roger & The First Edition (1970), Rodney Crowell (C&W #95 1978).
Hit version by The Oak Ridge Boys (US #5/C&W #1/CAN #26/NZ #13 1981).

From the wiki: “Songwriter Dallas Frazier penned ‘Elvira’ in 1966 and included it as the title track of the album he released that year. A number of recording artists, most notably Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, also recorded the song through the years, to varying degrees of success. Frazier’s own version peaked at #72 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.

“In 1978, alternative country recording artist Rodney Crowell recorded a cover of ‘Elvira’ (with ‘Ashes by Now’ on the B-side) that became a minor C&W hit. However, Crowell’s version did have its fans — most notably The Oak Ridge Boys. In 1980, when the group began planning for their upcoming album, Fancy Free, the Oaks decided to cover the song.

“‘Elvira’ quickly climbed the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart, becoming their fourth #1 Country hit and their highest-charting Billboard Hot 100 hit at #5. The single was certified Platinum by the RIAA, a distinction it shared for many years with only ‘Islands in the Stream‘ by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.”

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, “Elvira” (1970):

Rodney Crowell, “Elvira” (1978):

The Oak Ridge Boys, “Elvira” (1981):

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