Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Chris Montez

The More I See You

First recorded by Dick Haymes (1945).
Also recorded by Nat King Cole (1958), Bobby Darin (1961), Doris Day (1965).
Hit version by Chris Montez (US #16/MOR #2/UK #3 1966).

https://youtu.be/SrT27-bi4nE

From the wiki: “‘The More I See You’ was originally recorded by Dick Haymes in 1945, and sung by Haymes in the film Diamond Horseshoe (1945). Other early recordings were made by Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin and Doris Day before the song hit the Pop music chart in 1966.

“Chris Montez grew up in California, influenced by the success of Ritchie Valens. In 1962, Montez recorded the single ‘Let’s Dance’, a #4 Billboard Hot 100 hit in the US. With the advent of Beatlemania, Montez searched for the same rock and roll formula that would replicate the success of ‘Let’s Dance’. During a 1965 recording session, A&M Records label co-founder Herb Alpert (who would also go on to arrange and co-produce Montez’s 1966 album, The More I See You) suggested instead that Montez try a different approach: a middle-of-the-road, soft ballad sound.

Sunny

First released by Mieko Hirota (1965).
Also recorded by Dave Pike (1966), Chris Montez (1966), Marvin Gaye (1966).
Hit versions by Bobby Hebb (US #2/R&B #3/UK #12 1966), Boney M. (UK #3/NETH #1/GER #1 1976).

From the wiki: “Bobby Hebb’s breakthrough as a songwriter would be born of tragedy. In November 1963, already upset over the JFK assassination, Bobby then learned that his older brother, Harold, had been stabbed to death the same night in a fight outside a Nashville nightclub. Out of his depression, Hebb began to write. Using past hurts (‘Yesterday my life was filled with rain’) and inspired by the anonymous smile of a complete stranger (‘You smiled and it really, really eased the pain’), ‘Sunny’ came into being.

“The upbeat number was included in Hebb’s nightclub act at his gig at the New York club Brandy’s. The audiences responded positively as did record producer Jerry Ross (‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me‘), who included the song on a demo record that found its way to Japan.

“That was how ‘Sunny’ came about to be first recorded and commercially-released in Japan, by Mieko ‘Miko’ Hirota – the ‘Connie Francis of Japan’ – where it was said to have done well on the charts.

Call Me

First recorded by Petula Clark (1965).
Hit version by Chris Montez (US #22/MOR #2 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Call Me’ was composed by Tony Hatch for Petula Clark (although some suggest he had written the song with Keely Smith in mind), and first appeared as the title cut on Clark’s EP, Call Me, released in 1965 by Pye in the UK and in the US on the album I Know a Place (1965) but was not released as a promotional single.

“Chris Montez, who had scored the hit ‘Let’s Dance’ in 1962 and subsequently dropped out of the music business, was invited to resume recording by A&M Records’ founder Herb Alpert. Alpert was unhappy when Montez began recording for A&M in his previous Chicano rock style and personally suggested Montez shift to easy listening, choosing ‘Call Me’ as the song to be Montez’s debut single in 1966 on A&M.

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