First released by The Four Preps (1967).
Also recorded by The Everly Brothers (1967), Waylon Jennings (1967), John Denver (1969), John Hurley, co-writer (1970), Stiff Little Fingers (1982).
Hit versions by The Winstons (US #54 1969), Nicky Thomas (UK #9 1970), Paul Young (US #45/UK #2/IRE #1/NETH #1 1983).
From the wiki: “‘Love of the Common People’ is a Folk ballad composed by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins (‘Son of a Preacher Man’, 1968), eventually released by the songwriter himself in 1970 on Hurley’s album John Hurley Sings about People. But, the first recorded and distributed arrangement was released in January 1967 as a promotional single by The Four Preps, in a session arranged and conducted by Leon Russell, with no apparent chart impact.
“The song was quickly covered by both the Everly Brothers and country singer Waylon Jennings in 1967, followed by covers by the soul group The Winstons (1969), John Denver (on his 1969 Rhymes & Reason album), reggae artist Nicky Thomas (1970), punk rockers Stiff Little Fingers in 1982, and English pop singer Paul Young in 1982 (re-released in 1983).
“When Young first released his interpretation of ‘Love of the Common People’ as a single, in 1982, it failed to chart. It was only after Young had his first hit in 1983, with ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)‘, and ‘Love of the Common People’ was re-released that it became a big international hit. The single missed the Top-40 in the US, peaking at #45, but peaked at #2 in the UK, and reached the #1 spot in Ireland and the Netherlands.”
The Everly Brothers, “Love of the Common People” (1967):
Waylon Jennings, “Love of the Common People” (1967):
The Winstons, “Love of the Common People” (1969):
John Denver, “Love of the Common People” (1969):
Nicky Thomas, “Love of the Common People” (1970):
John Hurley, “Love of the Common People” (1970):
Stiff Little Fingers, “Love of the Common People” (1982):
Paul Young, “Love of the Common People” (1982):