Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Barry Mann

Make Your Own Kind of Music

First recorded by The Will-O-Bees (1968).
Hit version by “Mama” Cass Elliot (US #36/MOR #6 1969).
Also performed by The Carpenters (1971).

From the wiki: “‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’ was written by Barry Mann (‘Never Gonna Let You Go‘, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘, ‘Venus in Blue Jeans‘) and Cynthia Weil (‘Don’t Know Much‘, ‘I Just Can’t Help Believing‘, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘) first recorded in 1968 by New York City-based trio the Will-O-Bees (Janet Blossom, Steven Porter, and Robert Merchanthouse) who regularly performed Mann/Weil compositions. After ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot had a solo hit in the summer of 1969 with Mann/Weil’s ‘It’s Getting Better’ she recorded ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’ as the follow-up single. Her album Bubblegum, Lemonade, and… Something for Mama was then re-released as Make Your Own Kind of Music, the title cut having been added to the original track listing.”

Venus in Blue Jeans

First recorded (as a demo) by Barry Mann (1961).
First commercial release by Bruce Bruno (1962).
Hit versions by Jimmy Clanton (US #7 1962), Mark Wynter (UK #4 1962).

From the wiki: “‘Venus In Blue Jeans’ was written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller (and was about Eileen Berner, whom Keller was dating). Demo’ed by Barry Mann (co-writer ‘Don’t Know Much‘, ‘Never Gonna Let You Go‘) in 1961, the song had its first commercial release in 1962 by New Rochelle, NY, singer Bruce Bruno, but saw no chart impact. After returning to civilian life in 1962 after two years in the Army, Louisiana native Jimmy Clanton (‘Just A Dream’, ‘Hurting Each Other‘) scored his third career Top 10 hit with ‘Venus in Blue Jeans’. Clanton is an inductee of The Museum of the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame (in the company of Tex Ritter, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top and B. J. Thomas) and, in 2007, he was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.”

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Barry Mann (1965).
Hit versions by The Animals (US #13/UK #2/CAN #13/GER #31 1965), Angels (AUS #7 1987).
Also recorded by American Breed (1967).

From the wiki: “‘We Gotta Get out of This Place’ was written by the husband-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and recorded as a 1965 hit single by The Animals. It has become an iconic song and was immensely popular among United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. The song had been intended for The Righteous Brothers, for whom Mann-Weil had already written the #1 hit ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” but then Mann gained a recording contract for himself, and his label Redbird Records wanted him to release it instead.

Never Gonna Let You Go

First recorded by Dionne Warwick (1982).
Also recorded by Stevie Woods (1982).
Hit version by Sergio Mendes (US #4/R&B #28 1983).

From the wiki: “Songwriters Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann (‘Don’t Know Much‘, ‘(You’re My) Soul & Inspiration’) composed the song and had originally submitted ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’ to Earth, Wind & Fire, but the group decided not to record the song. Instead, Dionne Warwick first recorded the song and it first appeared on her 1982 album Friends in Love.

I Just Can’t Help Believing

Co-written and originally recorded by Barry Mann (1968).
Also recorded by Bobbby Vee (1969), Leonard Nimoy (1969).
Hit version by B.J. Thomas (US #9/MOR #1/CAN #18 1970), Elvis Presley (UK #6 1971).

From the wiki: “‘I Just Can’t Help Believing’ is a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The song was most successful after it was recorded by B.J. Thomas and released by him as a single in 1970. It went to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and spent one week at #1 on the Easy Listening (adult contemporary) chart. Earlier versions were recorded and released as album tracks by Barry Mann (composer), Bobby Vee and Leonard Nimoy.

Don’t Know Much

Co-written and originally recorded by Barry Mann (1980).
Also recorded by Bill Medley (US #88 1981), Bette Midler (MOR #5 1982).
Other hit version by Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville (US #2/UK #2/CAN #1 1989).

From the wiki: “Written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Tom Snow, ‘Don’t Know Much’ had a rich history prior to its success in 1989. It first appeared on Mann’s self-titled 1980 album, released on Casablanca Records. Bill Medley and Bette Midler (under the title ‘All I Need to Know’) then had minor chart successes with the song in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

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