Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Bobbie Gentry

Let It Be Me

First recorded (in English) by Jill Corey (1957).
Hit versions by The Everly Brothers (US #7 1960), Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (US #5/R&B #1 1964), The Sweet Inspirations (R&B #13 1967), Glen Campbell & Bobbie Gentry (US #36/C&W #14/MOR #7 1969) and Willie Nelson (US #40/C&W #2/MOR #11 1982).

From the wiki: “[O]riginally published in 1955 as ‘Je t’appartiens,’ the score was written and first recorded in French by Gilbert Bécaud (‘September Morn’). The English-language version used lyrics by Mann Curtis and was first performed in 1957 by Jill Corey in the television series Climax!. Corey’s version, with orchestration by Jimmy Carroll, was released as a single and was moderately successful.

I’ll Never Fall in Love Again

First performed by Jill O’Hara & Jerry Orbach (1968).
First charted by Johnny Mathis (MOR #35 1969).
Other hit versions by Burt Bacharach (US #98/MOR #18 1969), Bobbie Gentry (UK #1/IRE #1/NOR #5 1969), Dionne Warwick (US #6/R&B #17/MOR #1 1969), Deacon Blue (IRE #2 1990).

From the wiki: “Originally written for the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, it soon became one of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s most enduring songs. It was introduced in the musical by Jerry Orbach and Jill O’Hara, and was nominated for Song of the Year in the 1969 Grammy awards. (The soundtrack album did win the 1969 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.)

“The first recording of ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’ to reach any of the charts in Billboard was by Johnny Mathis, whose cover debuted on the magazine’s Easy Listening chart in the issue dated May 17, 1969, and reached #35 over the course of three weeks there. Bacharach’s own version, which was sung by a female chorus, overtook the Mathis release after a May 31 debut on that same chart and got as high as number 18 during its nine-week stay. It also peaked at #93 on the Hot 100 during the two weeks it spent there in July.

“Bobbie Gentry entered the UK singles chart with the song the following month, on August 30, and enjoyed one of her 19 weeks there at #1. She also peaked at #1 in Ireland. The most successful version of the song to be released as a single, however, was by Bacharach-David protégée Dionne Warwick, whose recording made its first appearance on the Hot 100 in the issue dated December 27, 1969, to start an 11-week run that took it to #6 (Warwick’s her last Top-10 solo hit until 1979).”

Peaceful

Written and first recorded by Kenny Rankin (1967).
Also recorded by Bobbie Gentry (1968), The Friends of Distinction (1969).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame (UK #16 1969), Helen Reddy (US #12/MOR #2 1973).

[Above: Live solo TV performance, c. 1968.]

From the wiki: “Early in his career Rankin worked as a singer-songwriter, and developed a considerable following during the 70s with a steady flow of albums, three of which broke into the Top 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. He appeared on The Tonight Show more than twenty times. Host Johnny Carson was so impressed by him that he wrote the liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut album Mind Dusters, which featured the single ‘Peaceful.’ Kenny’s friend Helen Reddy would reach #2 Adult Contemporary and #12 Pop in 1973 with a cover of it. Earlier covers were recorded by Bobby Gentry and The Friends of Distinction. Georgia Fame (‘Yeh Yeh’) was the first artist to chart with ‘Peaceful’, in the UK in 1969.”

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