Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Old Time Rock ‘n Roll

First recorded (as a demo) by George Jackson (1978).
Hit version by Bob Seger (US #28/CAN #31 1979 |US #48/AUS #53 1983 |AUS #3 1987 ).

From the wiki: “‘Old Time Rock and Roll’ was written by George Jackson (‘Victim of a Foolish Heart‘) and Thomas E. Jones III, and was first recorded as a demo by Jackson. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who often backed Seger in his studio recordings at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, sent Seger a demo of Jackson’s song during the recording of Stranger in Town. Jackson recalls ‘Bob had pretty much finished his recording at Muscle Shoals and he asked them if they had any other songs he could listen to for the future.’

“The song was recorded at the Muscle Shoals studio and also at Sound Suite Studios in Detroit, Michigan. Originally, Seger’s Silver Bullet Band was displeased with its inclusion on Stranger in Town, claiming, according to Seger, that the song was not ‘Silver Bullety’ enough. However, upon hearing audience reactions to it during their tour in Europe, the band grew to like the song. Released as a single in 1979, the song became a Top-40 hit, peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“‘Old Time Rock ‘n Roll’ gained international fame with its inclusion in the 1983 film Risky Business, starring Tom Cruise. Cruise’s character, Joel Goodson, famously lip-syncs and dances in his underwear as this song plays after his parents leave him home alone. Re-released as a single in 1983, ‘Old Time Rock ‘n Roll’ peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Australia, the song was released twice and charted for a total of 55 weeks. The first run was in 1983 after its use in the film Risky Business, reaching #53 on the charts. The second run saw it reach #3 in late 1987.

“Seger disputes that Jackson and Jones were the sole authors of the song, claiming:

“‘All I kept from the original was: ‘Old time rock and roll, that kind of music just soothes the soul, I reminisce about the days of old with that old time rock and roll’. I rewrote the verses and I never took credit. That was the dumbest thing I ever did. And Tom Jones (Thomas E. Jones) and George Jackson know it, too. But I just wanted to finish the record [Stranger in Town]. I rewrote every verse you hear except for the choruses. I didn’t ask for credit. My manager said: ‘You should ask for a third of the credit.’ And I said: ‘Nah. Nobody’s gonna like it.’ I’m not credited on it so I couldn’t control the copyright either. Meanwhile it got into a Hardee’s commercial because I couldn’t control it. Oh my God, it was awful!'”

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll” (1979):

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