Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Pretty Flamingo

First recorded (as “Flamingo”) by Gene Pitney (1966).
Hit version by Manfred Mann (US #29/UK #1/CAN #2 1966).
Also released by Tommy Vann & the Echoes (1966).
Also performed by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (1975).

“Gene Pitney recorded the first version of ‘Pretty Flamingo’ in February 1966, for his album Backstage (I’m Lonely). But, Pitney’s recording was not released as a single when his album shipped to stores in June 1966, two months after Manfred Mann’s recording was released as a single in the UK and a month after the song topped the UK Singles Chart in May 1966. The Manfred Mann recording features future Cream bassist Jack Bruce, who briefly joined the band in 1965. (The original demo of the song was recorded by noted New York City vocalist Jimmy Radcliffe ((‘This Diamond Ring‘) stylized for The Drifters, but songwriter Mark Barkan was dissatisfied with the overly-produced results and had Radcliffe recut the song with a pared-down arrangement.)

“Some sources claim Tommy Vann’s 1966 release of ‘Pretty Flamingo’ was recorded in 1964, which would predate both the Pitney and Manfred Mann recordings.”

Tommy Vann & the Echoes, “Pretty Flamingo” (1966):

Manfred Mann, “Pretty Flamingo” (1966):

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, “Pretty Flamingo” live @ The Roxy, Los Angeles (1975):

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