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).

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: “Petula Clark’s professional career began as an entertainer on BBC Radio during World War II. During the 1950s she started recording in French and having international success in both French and English, with such songs as ‘The Little Shoemaker’ and ‘With All My Heart’. During the 1960s she became known globally for her popular upbeat hits, including ‘Downtown’, ‘I Know a Place’, ‘Don’t Sleep in the Subway’. ‘Call Me’ first appeared as the title cut on a Petula Clark EP released in 1965 by Pye in the UK.

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