Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Burt Bacharach

Trains, Boats and Planes

Written and first recorded by Burt Bacharach (UK #4 1965).
Other hit versions by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas (US #47/MOR #10/UK #12 1965), Dionne Warwick (US #22 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Trains and Boats and Planes’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and first recorded in 1965. Hit versions were recorded by Bacharach himself in 1965, by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas (also in 1965), and by Dionne Warwick in 1966. Bacharach and David wrote the song at a time when they had achieved great popular success, and Bacharach in particular was traveling widely to record and promote his songs. The pair intended the song to be recorded by Gene Pitney, who had had several hits with earlier Bacharach and David songs including ‘Only Love Can Break a Heart’. However, Pitney declined to record it, telling Bacharach ‘It’s not one of your better ones.’ Bacharach then recorded it himself, in London, with an orchestra, chorus, and uncredited vocals by female session singers The Breakaways. His version was issued on the album Hit Maker! Burt Bacharach plays the Burt Bacharach Hits in 1965, and as a UK-only single.

Make It Easy On Yourself

First commercial release (as “Are You Lonely By Yourself”) by The Isley Brothers (1962).
Hit versions by Jerry Butler (US #20/R&B #18 1962), Walker Brothers (US #16/UK #1 1965), Dionne Warwick (US #37/MOR #2/R&B #26 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was first recorded for commercial release by the Isley Brothers. Much to Bacharach’s chagrin, the Brothers messed with the lyrics (turning it into ‘Are You Lonely By Yourself’) and he objected to the release of their version. (The Isley recording remained unreleased until 2001.) Instead, to fill out the time remaining of their studio session, the Isley Brothers recorded ‘Twist and Shout‘.

That’s What Friends Are For

First recorded by Rod Stewart (1982).
Hit version by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight (US #1/R&B #1/UK #16/CAN #1/AUS #1 1985).

From the wiki: “‘That’s What Friends Are For’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager (‘Everchanging Times‘) and was first recorded in 1982 by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the film Night Shift. The Dionne Warwick cover was a one-off collaboration featuring Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, released as a charity single in the US and UK to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Sales from the song raised over US$3 million for that cause.”

Everchanging Times

First recorded by Sideah Garrett (1987).
Hit version by Aretha Franklin feat. Michael McDonald (MOR #11/R&B #19 1992).

From the wiki: “‘Everchanging Times’ was co-written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager (‘That’s What Friends Are For‘) and first recorded by Sideah Garrett for the Baby Boom movie soundtrack.”

You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)

First recorded by Dionne Warwick (US #32/UK #20/CAN #15 1964).
Other hit version by The Stylistics (US #23/R&B #8 1973 |UK #24 1976).

From the wiki: “‘You’ll Never Get to Heaven’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was first recorded in 1964 by Dionne Warwick for the album Make Way for Dionne Warwick (also notable for including an early production of ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You‘). In 1973, The Stylistics covered the song, reaching the Billboard Top 30 and R&B Top 10 charts in the US and the UK Top 30.”

One Less Bell to Answer

First recorded by Keely Smith (1967).
Hit versions by Rosemary Clooney (MOR #28 1968), The 5th Dimension (US #2/MOR #1/R&B #4 1970).

From the wiki: “‘One Less Bell to Answer’ is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David (“The Look of Love“, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again“, “Alfie“), originally written for and recorded in 1967 by Keely Smith (‘I’m a Gigolo’, with Louis Prima). The song was rediscovered in late 1969 by Bones Howe, the producer for The 5th Dimension, and the song was included on the group’s 1970 debut album for Bell Records, Portrait. Rosemary Clooney had, a year earlier, in 1968, charted the song on Bilboard’s Easy Listening chart – one of the two last recordings she made before her nervous breakdown (after witnessing Robert Kennedy’s assassination).”

Baby It’s You

First recorded by The Shirelles (US #8/R&B #3 1961).
Other hit versions by Smith (US #5 1969), The Beatles (album 1963 |US #67/UK #7 1995).
Also recorded by The Carpenters (1970), Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe (1987).

From the wiki: “‘Baby It’s You’ was written by Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon (credited as Barney Williams) and Mack David (elder brother of lyricist Hal David), and first recorded by The Shirelles in a 1961 recording session produced by Dixon. The vocal arrangements on this version proved influential in subsequent versions, including that of The Beatles who performed ‘Baby It’s You’ as part of their stage act from 1961 until 1963 before recording it on February 11, 1963 for their first album, Please Please Me. It was re-released as a CD single and a vinyl single in 1995 in both the UK and the US.

Any Day Now

First recorded (as “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)”) by Chuck Johnson (US #23/R&B #2 1962).
Also recorded (as “Lover”) by Tommy Hunt (1961).
Also recorded by Alan Price (1965), Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (1966).
Other hit versions by Elvis Presley (B-side US #4 1969), Ronnie Milsap (US #14/C&W #1/CAN #1 1982), Luther Vandross (2001).

From the wiki: “‘Any Day Now’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard in 1962 and was first recorded that year by Chuck Jackson, formerly of the Del Vikings (‘Come Go With Me‘). Co-writer Bacharach had orchestrated and recorded the song’s backing track a year before presenting it to Jackson. In that time producer Luther Dixon made use of the backing track to record a version with Tommy Hunt, ‘Lover’, using completely lyrics. It was a commercial flop. Part of Hunt’s original singing is still audible at the end of Chuck Jackson’s version.

(They Long to Be) Close to You

First recorded (as “They Long to Be Close to You”) by Richard Chamberlain (1963).
Also recorded by Dionne Warwick (B-side 1964), Dusty Springfield (1964, released 1967), Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1968, released 2005).
Hit version by The Carpenters (US #1/UK #6/CAN #1 1970).

From the wiki: “‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’ is a popular song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was first recorded by Richard Chamberlain and released as a single in 1963 as ‘They Long to Be Close to You’ (without parentheses). However, it was the single’s flip side, ‘Blue Guitar’, that became a hit.

I’ll Never Fall in Love Again

First recorded by Bobbie Gentry (UK #1 1969).
Other hit version by Dionne Warwick (US #6/MOR #1 1970).

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. A version with studio singers was released as a single under Burt Bacharach’s name in 1969, and achieved a low chart position.

Message to Michael

Originally recorded (as “Message To Martha”) by Jerry Butler (1962).
Also recorded by Marlene Dietrich (1964), Lou Johnson (as “Kentucky Bluebird” US #104 1964).
Hit versions by Adam Faith (UK #12 1964), Dionne Warwick (US #8/R&B #5/CAN #6 1966).

From the wiki: “The song was first recorded as ‘Message to Martha’ by Jerry Butler in the 1962 session in New York City which produced Butler’s hit ‘Make It Easy on Yourself’ (also written by Bacharach-David), but was not released until December 1963. Marlene Dietrich recorded a German version of the song in 1964, singing to the instrumental track of the Butler original (with augmentations); Dietrich’s version was entitled ‘Kleine Treue Nachtigall’ (‘faithful little nightingale’).

(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me

First recorded (as a demo) by Dionne Warwick (1963).
Hit versions by Lou Johnson (US #49, 1964), Sandi Shaw (US #52/UK #1, 1964), Dionne Warwick B-side re-recording (US #65 1968), R.B. Greaves (US #27/MOR #3 1971) and Naked Eyes (US #8 1983).

From the wiki: “Originally recorded as a demo by Dionne Warwick in 1963, ‘(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me’ first charted for Lou Johnson whose version (with backing vocals by Doris Troy, Dee Dee Warwick, and Cissy Houston) reached #49 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1964. Johnson also recorded the original versions of several other Bacharach and David songs that later proved to be bigger hits for other musicians, including ‘Reach Out for Me’, and ‘Message to Michael (Kentucky Bluebird)‘.

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