Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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From a Distance

First recorded by Nanci Griffith (1987).
Also recorded by Judy Collins (1989), The Byrds (1990).
Hit versions by Cliff Richard (UK #11/IRE #16 1990), Bette Midler (US #2/UK #6/AUS #8 1990).

From the wiki: “‘From a Distance’ was written in 1985 by American singer-songwriter Julie Gold. Gold was working as a secretary at the time for Home Box Office and writing songs in her free time. Gold’s friend, Christine Lavin, introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who was the first singer to record it, for her 1987 album Lone Star State of Mind. Griffith remembers Gold had sent her the song asking Griffith what was wrong with it, as Gold had already sent it to so many artists and record companies but no one wanted to produce a recording. Griffith answered that she loved it so much the moment she heard it that she wanted to record it ‘right then and there’.

“Judy Collins recorded ‘From a Distance’ live in 1989, for her album Sanity and Grace, and again in 1990 for her studio album Fires of Eden. The Byrds recorded the song as one of 4 newly-recorded studio tracks for their box set The Byrds released in 1990.

“‘From a Distance’ then became an international commercial success after it was recorded in 1990 by Bette Midler for the album Some People’s Lives. The song was simultaneously released in the UK by Cliff Richard in October 1990 to support his similarly-titled album From A Distance: The Event. Midler’s recording went on to win a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991.”

Judy Collins, “From a Distance” live TV performance (1988):

Judy Collins, “From a Distance” (1989):

The Byrds, “From a Distance” (1990):

Cliff Richard, “From a Distance” (1990):

Bette Midler, “From a Distance” (1990):

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