Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Guitar Man

First recorded by Jerry Reed (C&W #53 1967).
Hit version by Elvis Presley (US #43/C&W #1/UK #19 1968 |US #28/C&W #1 1981).

From the wiki: “‘Guitar Man’ is a 1967 song written by Jerry Reed and first recorded by him the same year. Soon after Reed’s single appeared, Elvis Presley recorded the song[1] with Reed playing the guitar part. According to Peter Guralnick, in his two-volume biography of Presley, the singer had been trying unsuccessfully to record the tune but wasn’t happy with the groove. Presley said something to the effect of: ‘Get me that redneck picker who’s on the original [recording],’ and his staff brought Reed into the studio – who nailed it on the first take. Presley’s single charted in the both the US and UK, and spent a week at #1 on the US Country singles chart.

“Thirteen years later, ‘Guitar Man’ was re-recorded in a new electronic arrangement, with Presley’s original vocal left intact, and it became the last of his eleven #1 Country hits. The new arrangement also peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

Elvis Presley, “Guitar Man” (1968):

Elvis Presley, “Guitar Man” (re-recording 1981):

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