Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Peaceful

Written and first recorded by Kenny Rankin (1967).
Also recorded by Bobbie Gentry (1968), The Friends of Distinction (1969).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame (UK #16 1969), Helen Reddy (US #12/MOR #2 1973).

[Above: Live solo TV performance, c. 1968.]

From the wiki: “Early in his career Rankin worked as a singer-songwriter, penning songs for pop-jazz artists like Carmen McRae (‘My Carousel’), Peggy Lee (‘In the Name of Love’), and Mel Tormé (‘Haven’t We Met’). He developed a considerable following during the 70s with a steady flow of his own albums, three of which broke into the Top 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. (Rankin also performed session work for other Columbia Records artists. Among other sessions, he played acoustic guitar on Bob Dylan’s breakthrough disc Bringing It All Back Home.)

“He appeared on The Tonight Show more than twenty times. Host Johnny Carson was so impressed by him that he wrote the liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut album Mind Dusters, which featured the single ‘Peaceful.’ Kenny’s friend Helen Reddy would reach #2 on the MOR chart and #12 Pop in 1973 with her cover recording.

“Earlier covers of ‘Peaceful’ were recorded by Bobby Gentry and The Friends of Distinction. Georgia Fame (‘Yeh Yeh’) was the first artist to chart with ‘Peaceful’, in the UK in 1969.”

Bobbie Gentry, “Peaceful” (1968):

Georgie Fame, “Peaceful” (1969):

The Friends of Distinction, “Peaceful” (1969):

Kenny Rankin, “Peaceful” re-recording (1972):

Helen Reddy, “Peaceful” (1973):

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