Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Seven Bridges Road

Written and originally recorded by Steve Young (1969).
Also recorded by Steve Young (1972), Ian Matthews (1973).
Hit version by Eagles (US #21 1980).

From the wiki: “Steve Young was inspired to eventually write ‘Seven Bridges Road’ during a sojourn in Montgomery, Alabama in the early 1960s: according to Young ‘a group of friends…showed me [a] road [that] led out of town…after you had crossed seven bridges you found yourself out in the country on a dirt road. Spanish moss hung in the trees and there were old farms with old fences and graveyards and churches and streams. A high bank dirt road with trees. It seemed like a Disney fantasy at times.’

“When Young approached a Hollywood-based music publisher in 1969 with ‘Seven Bridges Road’ he was advised the song ‘wasn’t commercial enough.’ and ‘Seven Bridges Road’ was not originally intended for inclusion on the Rock Salt & Nails album. However, in Young’s words: ‘One day we ran out of songs to record [for Rock Salt & Nails] in the studio … I started playing ‘Seven Bridges Road’. Producer Tony LiPuma responded with ‘You know I don’t want to hear original stuff.’ But, guitarist James Burton said: ‘Hey this song sounds good and it is ready, let’s put it down.’

“In a 1981 interview Young would say of ‘Seven Bridges Road’: ‘Consciously when I wrote it, it was just a song about a girl and a road in south Alabama. Now I think there’s almost a mystical thing about it.’ Young remade the song twice more, on his 1972 album entitled Seven Bridges Road and on his 1978 album No Place to Fall.

“According to Eagles band member Don Felder when the Eagles first began playing stadiums the group would warm-up pre-concert by singing ‘Seven Bridges Road’ in a locker room shower area: each concert would then open with the group’s five members singing ‘Seven Bridges Road’ a capella into a single microphone. ‘It blew [the audience] away,’ Felder recalls. ‘It was always a vocally unifying moment, all five voices coming together in harmony.’ In 1980, Eagles recorded ‘Seven Bridges Road’ for the Eagles Live concert album, essentially replicating the arrangement of the Michael Nesmith-produced recording by Ian Matthews for Matthews’ 1973 Valley Hi album.”

Steve Young, “Seven Bridges Road” from Seven Bridges Road (1972):

Ian Matthews, “Seven Bridges Road” (1973):

Eagles, “Seven Bridges Road” (1980):

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