Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Bette Midler

Friends

Written and first recorded (as “(You Got to Have) Friends”) by Buzzy Linhart (1970).
Hit version by Better Midler (US #40/MOR #9 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Friends’ (also titled ‘(You Got to Have) Friends’) was written by Buzzy Linhart and Mark ‘Moogy’ Klingman and was first recorded by Linhart in 1970. Bette Midler was one of Linhart’s close friends during the early 1970s. While rehearsing for an audition for a Broadway show called Mirror Cracked, Linhart sang ‘Friends’ to Midler. After hearing the song, Midler asked Linhart if she could sing the song during a show that she was performing at the Continental Baths in New York. Soon after, Midler recorded the song (twice!) on her debut album The Divine Miss M, and released the song as a single backed with ‘Chapel of Love‘.

Right Time of the Night

Written and first recorded by Peter McCann (B-side 1976).
Hit version by Jennifer Warnes (US #6/MOR #1/C&W #17 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Right Time of the Night’ had been recorded by its composer Peter McCann for his 1976 self-titled album, and served as B-side for his own 1977 Top Ten hit ‘Do You Wanna Make Love’.
When it came time for Jennifer Warnes to record material for her 1977 self-titled album, Jennifer Warnes, ‘Right Time of the Night’ was not among the original tracks recorded. Arista president Clive Davis later told Billboard: ‘If a [singer such as] Jennifer Warnes submits an album which is great but lacks a hit single, I and my A&R staff will say: ‘Listen, you need a hit. Because you’re not really going to break off FM airplay’ … So we gave her ‘Right Time of the Night’.’ Prior to the release of Warnes’ version of ‘Right Time of the Night’, Bette Midler had expressed an interest in recording the song but asked that the song bridge be reworked, a stipulation McCann was still working on when Warnes’ version reached the charts at which point work on a Midler version was dropped.

Wind Beneath My Wings

First released by Roger Whittaker (1982).
Also recorded by Sheena Easton (1982)
Hit versions by Colleen Hewett (AUS #52 1982), Gary Morris (C&W #4/CAN #10 1983), Lou Rawls (US #65/MOR #10 1983), Gladys Knight & The Pips (US #104/MOR #23 1983), Bette Midler (US #1/UK #5 1989).

From the wiki: “Wind Beneath My Wings’ (sometimes titled ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’ and ‘Hero’) was written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley. They recorded a demo of the song, which they gave to musician Bob Montgomery who, then, recorded his own demo version of the song – changing it from the mid-tempo version he was given to a ballad. Silbar and Henley then shopped the song to many artists, eventually resulting in Roger Whittaker becoming the first to release the song commercially. It appeared on his 1982 studio album, also titled The Wind Beneath My Wings. It was also recorded by Australian artist Colleen Hewett in 1982, becoming a minor local hit in 1983.

From a Distance

First recorded by Nanci Griffith (1987).
Also recorded by Judy Collins (1989), The Byrds (1990).
Hit versions by Cliff Richard (UK #11/IRE #16 1990), Bette Midler (US #2/UK #6/AUS #8 1990).

From the wiki: “‘From a Distance’ was written in 1985 by American singer-songwriter Julie Gold. Gold was working as a secretary at the time for Home Box Office and writing songs in her free time. Gold’s friend, Christine Lavin, introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who was the first singer to record it, for her 1987 album Lone Star State of Mind. Griffith remembers Gold had sent her the song asking Griffith what was wrong with it, as Gold had already sent it to so many artists and record companies but no one wanted to produce a recording. Griffith answered that she loved it so much the moment she heard it that she wanted to record it’right then and there’.

Superstar

Co-written and first recorded (as “Groupie (Superstar)”) by Delaney & Bonnie (1969).
Also recorded by Rita Coolidge (1970), Bette Midler (1970 |1972).
Hit versions by The Carpenters (US #2/CAN #3/JPN #7 1971), Luther Vandross (US #87/R&B #5 1983).

From the wiki: “Accounts of the song’s origin vary somewhat, but it grew out of the late 1969-early 1970 nexus of English and American musicians known as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, involving Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and various others. The song’s working title during portions of its development was ‘Groupie Song’. In its first recorded incarnation, the song was titled ‘Groupie (Superstar)’, and was recorded and released as a B-side to the Delaney & Bonnie single ‘Comin’ Home’ in December 1969.

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.

Delta Dawn

Co-written and first recorded by Alex Harvey (1971).
Also recorded by Bette Midler (1973).
Hit versions by Tanya Tucker (C&W #6 1972), Helen Reddy (US #1 1973).

From the wiki: “The first recording of ‘Delta Dawn’ was made by Harvey for his eponymous album released in November 1971. Although Harvey opened for Helen Reddy – his Capitol labelmate – at the Troubadour in January 1972, Reddy made no apparent connection with any of Harvey’s compositions at that time.

Do You Want to Dance

Written and originally recorded by Bobby Freeman (US #5/R&B #2 1958).
Other hit versions by The Shadows (UK #2/NETH #1 1962), Del Shannon (US #43 1964), The Beach Boys (US #12 1965), Bette Midler (US #17 1972).

From the wiki: “‘Do You Want to Dance’ is a song written by Bobby Freeman and recorded by him in 1958. Cliff Richard and The Shadows’ version of the song reached #2 in the United Kingdom in 1962, despite being a B-side. It reached #8 in the United States when released by the Beach Boys in 1965 as ‘Do You Wanna Dance?’, and a 1972 cover by Bette Midler (‘Do You Want to Dance?’) reached #17.

Chapel of Love

First recorded by Darlene Love (1963).
Also recorded by The Ronettes (1964).
Hit versions by The Dixie Cups (US #1 1964) and Bette Midler (US #40 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Chapel of Love’ is a song written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, and made famous by The Dixie Cups in 1964, spending three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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