Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Cissy Houston

Time Is On My Side

First recorded by Kai Winding (1963).
Hit versions by Irma Thomas (US #52 1964), The Rolling Stones (US #6/AUS #4 1964).

From the wiki: “Kai Winding session arranger Garry Sherman contacted songwriter friend and colleague Jerry Ragovoy (‘Piece of My Heart‘) after Kai had expressed an interest in going in a more commercial and rhythmic direction. But Ragovoy had thought of no lyrics for the song other than ‘Time is on my side’. Produced by Creed Taylor and engineered by Phil Ramone, and including background vocals by Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, ‘Time Is On My Side’ was released on the Verve Records label in October 1963.

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.

Midnight Train to Georgia

Written and first recorded (as “Midnight Plane to Houston”) by Jim Weatherly (1972).
Also recorded by Cissy Houston (R&B #45 1973).
Hit version by Gladys Knight & The Pips (US #1/R&B #1/UK #10 1973).

From the wiki: “The song was originally written and performed by Jim Weatherly (‘(You’re the) Best Thing That Ever Happened‘) under the title ‘Midnight Plane to Houston’, recorded for Amos Records.

“‘It was based on a conversation I had with somebody… about taking a midnight plane to Houston,’ Weatherly recalls. ‘I wrote it as a kind of a country song. Then we sent the song to a guy named Sonny Limbo in Atlanta and he wanted to cut it with Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston) … He asked if I minded if he changed the title to ‘Midnight Train to Georgia.’ And I said, I don’t mind. Just don’t change the rest of the song.’ Houston took Weatherly’s song into the R&B chart under the title ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’.

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