Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Allman Brothers

Melissa

First recorded by The 31st of February (1968).
Hit album version by The Allman Brothers (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Melissa’ was written by vocalist Gregg Allman, but dates far beyond The Allman Brothers band’s inception. It was first written in 1967, and two demo versions from those years exists, including a version cut by the 31st of February, a band that featured Butch Trucks, the Allman Brothers’ later drummer, for an album that was scrapped when the group split. The song had its genesis after Allman had struggled previously to create any song with substance, and ‘Melissa’ was among the first that survived after he tossed nearly 300 attempts. The song’s namesake was almost settled as ‘Delilah’ before ‘Melissa’ came to Allman at, of all places, a grocery store where he was buying milk late one night, as he told the story in his memoir, My Cross to Bear:

Midnight Rider

Written and first recorded by The Allman Brothers (1970).
Also recorded by Buddy Miles (1971).
Hit versions by Joe Cocker (US #23 1972), Gregg Allman (US #19 1973), Paul Davidson (UK #10 1976), Willie Nelson (C&W #6 1980).

From the wiki: “‘Midnight Rider’ is a popular and widely covered song by The Allman Brothers Band from their 1970 album Idlewild South, written by Gregg Allman and Robert Kim Payne. Drummer Buddy Miles (Electric Flag, Jimi Hendrix) recorded the first cover of ‘Midnight Rider’, in 1971, for the album A Message to the People. Recordings by Joe Cocker, Gregg Allman himself (on his solo album Laid Back), Paul Davidson, and Willie Nelson have all reached the US and UK charts as singles but the song, as recorded by The Allman Brothers Band, was never released as a single.”

Mountain Jam

Written and first recorded (as “There is a Mountain”) by Donovan (US #11/UK #8 1967).
Also recorded by Dandy Livingstone (1967).
Adapted by The Allman Brothers (1972).

From the wiki: “‘There Is a Mountain’ is a song and single by British singer/songwriter Donovan, released in 1967 and charting in the US and UK. ‘There is a Mountain’ was first covered, in 1967, by Reggae artist Dandy Livingstone (‘A Message to You, Rudy‘).

“‘Mountain Jam’ is the improvised instrumental jam based on the Donovan song. The Allman Brothers were inspired to improvise on it after hearing the Grateful Dead’s jam ‘Alligator’, from the Dead’s Anthem of the Sun album (1968). ‘Mountain Jam’ was recorded at Fillmore East in March 1971 to be included on the mixed live/studio album Eat A Peach, the last Allman Brothers albums to include founding member and lead guitarist Duane Allman before his accidental death in September 1971.

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