Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Celine Dion

(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.”

The Power of Love

Co-written and first recorded by Jennifer Rush (UK #1/GER #17 1985 |AUS #1/IRE #1/GER #3 1986).
Other hit versions by Laura Branigan (US #26 1987) and Celine Dion (US #1/UK #4/CAN #1/AUS #1 1993).
Also recorded by Air Supply (1985).

From the wiki: “‘The Power of Love’ was first recorded by Jennifer Rush in 1984. The American-born Rush had been recording for CBS (Frankfurt) with producers Gunther Mende and Candy de Rouge (alias of Wolfgang Detmann) since 1982. The song, written by de Rouge, Mende, and Rush with Mary Susan Applegate, took Rush to the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1984 and into the German Top 20 in 1985. Rush filmed a low-budget music video in NYC in the fall of 1984, with the primary intention of entering the U.S market, but was unsuccessful.

At Last

First performed by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (1941).
First commercial recording by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (US #9 1942).
Other hit versions by Ray Anthony (US #2 1952), Etta James (US #47/R&B #2 1961), Celine Dion (US #16 2002).

From the wiki: “‘At Last’ was first recorded in 1941 by Glenn Miller for possible inclusion in the film Sun Valley Serenade. The song, sung by Pat Friday with actor John Payne, was going to be a major performance on the soundtrack. But, the song was mostly deleted from the release print.

“A subsequent recording, in 1942, was made and used extensively a follow-up movie, Orchestra Wives (1942), with vocals by Pat Friday (dubbing for actress Lynn Bari) and Ray Eberle. In 1942, a vocal version of ‘At Last,’ sung solo by Ray Eberle, was recorded for commercial release by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra in Chicago in May 1942 and first released as the B-side to ‘(I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo’.

It’s All Coming Back to Me Now

Originally recorded by Pandora’s Box (UK #51 1989).
Other hit versions by Celine Dion (US #2/MOR #1/UK #3/CAN #1/ 1996), Meat Loaf & Marion Raven (UK #6/SCOT #2/NOR #1/GER #7 2006).

If this sounds like a song Meat Loaf should’ve recorded, you’d be right. The songwriter was Jim Steinman, writer of Meat Loaf’s hits ‘Paradise By the Dashboard Lights’, and ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’. Meat Loaf would, eventually, be given his opportunity to record the song.

From the wiki: “According to Jim Steinman the song was inspired by the book Wuthering Heights, and was his attempt to write ‘the most passionate, romantic song’ he could ever create. Meat Loaf had wanted to record the song for years, but Steinman saw it as a ‘woman’s song.’ Steinman won a court movement preventing Meat Loaf from recording it.

“In 1989, Steinman instead produced a concept album, Original Sin, with an all-female group called Pandora’s Box. Elaine Caswell was the lead vocalist for ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’, who apparently collapsed five times during its recording. (Original Sin featured other tracks that would later be recorded by other artists, particularly Meat Loaf.) For the track, Roy Bittan performed on the grand piano, with Steinman and Jeff Bova on keyboards. Todd Rundgren arranged the background vocals, which were performed by Ellen Foley, Gina Taylor, and Deliria Wilde. ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ was released as a single in the United Kingdom in October 1989, but only reached #51 in the singles charts.

When I Fall in Love

First recorded by The Victor Young Orchestra w. Jeri Southern (1952).
Hit versions by Doris Day (US #20 1952), Nat “King” Cole (UK #2 1957), Natalie Cole (US #6/R&B #31 1987), Rick Astley (UK #2 1987), Celine Dion & Clive Griffin (US #23/MOR #6 1993).

From the wiki: “Jeri Southern released the original version in April 1952 with the song’s composer, Victor Young, handling the arranging and conducting duties. The song has become a standard, with many artists recording it, though the first hit version was by Doris Day released in July 1952.”

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