Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Carole King

Pleasant Valley Sunday

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1967).
Hit version by The Monkees (US #3/CAN #2/UK #11 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and was first recorded in 1967 as a demo by King. Goffin’s and King’s inspiration for the name was a street named Pleasant Valley Way, in West Orange, New Jersey where they were living at the time. The road follows a valley through several communities among the Watchung Mountains. The lyrics were a social commentary on status symbols, creature comforts, life in suburbia and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

“The Monkees’ single peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured in the second season of their television series. The Monkees. ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ also appeared on the fourth Monkees album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., in November 1967. While mono copies of the album had the same version heard on the single, stereo copies had a version using a different take of the first verse and an additional backing vocal during the break.”

Take Good Care of My Baby

First recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1961).
Also recorded by Dion & the Belmonts (1961), The Beatles (1962).
Hit versions by Bobby Vee (US #1/UK #3 1961), Bobby Vinton (US #33 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and was first recorded by King as a demo in 1961. Dion & the Belmonts were the first to record the song for commercial release but their version was not published until release of the album Runaround Sue in the slipstream of Bobby Vee’s #1 hit. The song was covered by The Beatles during their audition at Decca Records on January 1, 1962 but was unreleased until 2009. In 1968, ‘Take Good Care’ became a hit again, this time for Bobby Vinton.”

(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1967).
Hit versions by Aretha Franklin (US #8/R&B #2 1967), Celine Dion (MOR #31 1995), Mary J. Blige (R&B #39/UK #23 1995).
Also recorded by Carole King (1971).

From the wiki: “Written by the celebrated partnership of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, ‘You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)’ was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler. As recounted in his autobiography, Wexler, a student of African-American musical culture, had been mulling over the concept of the ‘natural man’, when he drove by Goffin on the streets of New York. Wexler shouted out to him he wanted a ‘natural woman’ song for Aretha Franklin’s next album. In thanks, Goffin and King granted Wexler a co-writing credit. Franklin’s recording features all three Franklin sisters, including Erma and Carolyn singing backup. Erma had a record deal in the ’60s, but didn’t have much success. Her biggest hit was her 1967 original recording of ‘Piece Of My Heart‘, made famous by Janis Joplin.”

Oh No Not My Baby

First recorded by The Shirelles (1964, released 2006).
Hit versions by Maxine Brown (US #24 1964), Manfred Mann (UK# 11 1964), Merry Clayton (US #71/R&B #30 1972), Rod Stewart (UK #6 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Oh No Not My Baby’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The first recorded version of the song was by The Shirelles, with the group’s members alternating leads – an approach that rendered the song unreleasable. Maxine Brown says that Stan Greenberg, Scepter Records executive, then, gave her the song with the advisement that she had to ‘find the original melody’ from the recording by The Shirelles: ‘They [had gone] so far off by each [group member] taking their own lead, no one knew any more where the real melody stood.’

“Brown recalled sitting on the porch of her one level house in Queens listening to The Shirelles’ track play on a boom box propped in a window. A group of children skipping rope on the sidewalk picked up the song’s main hook before Brown herself; hearing the children singing ‘Oh no not my baby’ as they skipped gave Brown the wherewithal to determine the song’s melody. Brown recorded her vocal over The Shirelles’ original backing track with the group’s vocals erased; Dee Dee Warwick provided the harmony vocal on the chorus.

Hi De Ho

Co-written by Carole King and first recorded (as “That Old Sweet Roll”) by City (1969).
Hit version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (US #14 1970).
Also recorded by Dusty Springfield (1969), Carole King (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Hi De Ho’, originally titled ‘That Old Sweet Roll (Hi De Ho)’, was co-written by Carole King (with Gerry Goffin) and first recorded by the band City, Carole King’s late-1960s band with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey. It appeared on the only album recorded by City, Now That Everything’s Been Said.

“Dusty Springfield covered ‘That Old Sweet Roll’ during the same In Memphis sessions that produced her hit single, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. The Springfield recording was released in 1969 as the B-side to the single ‘Willie & Laura Mae Jones’, but was not included on the original album release. It is now included as a bonus track on the CD version of In Memphis.

“Blood, Sweat & Tear’s 1970 recording of the song, now titled ‘Hi De Ho’, would chart into the US Top 20.

“King would re-record ‘Hi De Ho’ in 1980 for her Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King album.”

Crying in the Rain

First recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1962).
Hit versions by The Everly Brothers (US #6/UK #6 1962), The Sweet Inspirations (US #112/R&B #42 1969), Tammy Wynette (C&W #18 1981), a-ha (US #26/UK #13 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Crying in the Rain’ was written by Howard Greenfield and Carole King, the only collaboration between the successful songwriters. Both worked for Aldon Music at the time of the song’s composition. On a whim, two Aldon songwriting partnerships decided to switch partners for a day – Gerry Goffin (who normally worked with King) partnered with Greenfield’s frequent writing partner Jack Keller, leaving King and Greenfield to pair up for the day. Despite the commercial success of this collaboration, King and Greenfield never wrote another song together.

It’s Gonna Take Some Time

Co-written and first recorded by Carole King (1971).
Hit version by The Carpenters (US #12/CAN #12/JPN #48 1972).

From the wiki: “‘It’s Going to Take Some Time’ is a song written by Carole King and Toni Stern for King’s 1971 album, Music. It was redone by the Carpenters in 1972 for their fourth album, A Song for You. According to Richard Carpenter, he had to choose which songs he wanted to remake, and there was a big pile of 7″ singles he had to listen to. When he encountered ‘It’s Going to Take Some Time’, he knew it would be a hit, and The Carpenters recorded it. The song peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

You’ve Got a Friend

Written and first recorded by Carole King (1971).
Hit version by James Taylor (US #1/UK #4 1971).

From the wiki: “‘You’ve Got a Friend’ was written by Carole King, and included on both her album Tapestry and James Taylor’s album Mud Slide Slim, recorded simultaneously in 1971 with shared musicians.

Chains

First recorded by The Everly Brothers (1962, released 1984).
Hit versions by The Cookies (US #17/R&B #7 1962), The Beatles (1963).

From the wiki: “‘Chains’ is a song composed by the Brill Building husband-and-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King (‘Up on the Roof‘, ‘Crying in the Rain‘, ‘Oh No Not My Baby‘), and originally recorded by the Everly Brothers but which went unreleased until 1984. In 1962 it was a US Top 20 hit for Little Eva’s backing singers, The Cookies, and later covered by The Beatles.

I’m Into Something Good

First recorded by Earl-Jean (US #38 1964).
Hit version by Herman’s Hermits (US #13/UK #1 1964).

From the wiki: “‘I’m Into Something Good’ was originally recorded by The Cookies member Earl-Jean McCrea in 1964 and produced and arranged by the song’s composers, Gerry Goffin and Carole King (‘Oh No Not My Baby‘, ‘Up on the Roof‘, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman‘). The original recording reached #38 on the US pop singles chart. Soon thereafter, Herman’s Hermits recorded the song as their debut single, reaching #1 in the UK Singles Chart on 14 September 1964 and staying there for two weeks. The song peaked at #13 in the US later that year.

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