Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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I’ve Gotta Be Me

First recorded (as “I’ve Got to Be Me”) by Steve Lawrence (MOR #6 1968).
Also recorded (as ‘I Gotta Be Me’) by Della Reese (1968).
Other hit versions by Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #11/MOR #1 1968), Tony Bennett (MOR #29 1969).

From the wiki: “‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ appeared in the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. The musical opened in New York City at the Shubert Theatre on February 4, 1968. The music and lyrics for the musical were by Walter Marks and were composed in 1967. (song was listed in the musical as ‘I’ve Got to Be Me’.) Lawrence released the song as a single in 1967, ahead of the show opening, and the following year it hit #6 on the Billboard MOR chart, with little or no support from traditional Top 40 radio.

“Sammy Davis, Jr. recorded the song in 1968 while the musical was still running on Broadway, altering the title slightly to ‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ and releasing it as a single late in the year. This version of the song was a surprise hit for Davis, since the musical was not among the more successful shows on Broadway that season. It became Davis’ third-highest charting single in his career on the Hot 100.

“Singer and actress Della Reese also recorded and released ‘I Gotta Be Me’ in 1968, releasing her arrangement as a promotional single (backed with ‘Never My Love’) for the album I Gotta Be Me…This Trip Out with no apparent chart impact. Tony Bennett’s cover did chart Top-30 on the MOR chart in 1969.”

Della Reese, “I Gotta Be Me/Never My Love” (1968):

Sammy Davis, Jr., “I’ve Gotta Be Me” (1968):

Tony Bennett, “I’ve Gotta Be Me” (1969):

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