Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Long Train Runnin’

First recorded (as a demo) by The Doobie Brothers (c. 1970)
Hit versions by The Doobie Brothers (US #8/CAN #8/NETH #10 1973 |UK #7 1993), Traks (GER #18 1982), Bananarama (UK #30 1991).

From the wiki: “Back before The Doobie Brothers signed their first recording contract, they were a biker bar band in California. On one occasion, the band went into the studio to record some demos. One would eventually become known as ‘Long Train Running’.”

“‘Long Train Runnin” was included on the band’s 1973 album The Captain and Me and released as a single, becoming a Top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #8. Tom Johnston performed the lead vocal and the distinctive, rhythmic guitar strumming that propels the song. The signature harmonica solo was performed by Norton Buffalo.

“Nearly 20 years later, “Long Train Runnin'” became a hit in the UK – twice. In 1991, the song was covered by English girl group Bananarama, and, in 1993, the Doobie Brothers version was remixed and, again, hit the UK Top 10.

From the YouTube description: ‘Early demo version of the classic Tom Johnston song. This Doobie Brothers original had several different names, including ‘Osborne’, as it is called at this unknown time, before it was officially recorded and released.

“Lead singer and songwriter Tom Johnston explained that it began as a song with no real lyrics, merely providing filler on the group’s set list in their early days playing live. Names for the song included ‘Rosey Pig Mosely’, ‘Parliament’ and ‘Osborn’.

“Upon signing with Warner Brothers Records, producer Ted Templeman heard the song and suggested they should cut it. At that point, Johnston gave the song some lyrics built around a transportation theme, and the song with multiple names finally settled on a permanent one.”

The Doobie Brothers, “Long Train Runnin'” (1972):

Traks, “Long Train Runnin'” (1982):

Bananarama, “Long Train Runnin'” (1991):

The Doobie Brothers, “Long Train Runnin'” remix (1993):

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