Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Cliff Richard

Daddy’s Home

Based on “A Thousand Miles Away” by The Heartbeats (US #52/R&B #5 1956).
Hit versions by Shep & the Limelites (US #2/R&B #4 1961), Cliff Richard (US #23/MOR #3/UK #2 1981).

From the wiki: “‘A Thousand Miles Away’, written by James Sheppard, was recorded in 1956 by the Doo-wop group The Heartbeats (who were discovered by William Miller, A&R man for Hull Records, who also received a co-writing credit). Sheppard wrote the song after his ex-girlfriend moved away to Texas. He would go on to form the group Shep & the Limelites in 1960, at which point he adapted his original song into a new one, titled ‘Daddy’s Home’. Kahl Music, publisher of ‘A Thousand Miles Away’, sued Keel Music, publisher of ‘Daddy’s Home’, for copyright violation. Keel eventually lost, and this resulted in the end of both the Limelites and of Hull Records in 1966.

“The original ‘A Thousand Miles Away’ enjoyed a revival in the early 1970s when it was included on the American Graffiti motion picture soundtrack. UK singer Cliff Richard scored a Top 10 (and US Top 40) hit with his 1981 cover of ‘Daddy’s Home’.”

Devil Woman

First recorded by Kristine (1975).
Hit version by Cliff Richard (US #6/UK #9 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Devil Woman’ was written by Terry Britten and Christine Holmes (singer of the Family Dogg, ‘Arizona‘) and was first recorded by Holmes under the name ‘Kristine’. It became a #9 UK hit in June 1976 for Cliff Richard, and was his first single to reach the Top 20 in the US. The song is told from the point of a view of a man jinxed from an encounter with a stray cat with evil eyes, and his discovery that the psychic medium (a Gypsy woman) whose help he sought to break the curse was the one responsible for the curse in the first place. Richard supposedly was hesitant to cut it until he modified some lyrics to play down the occult theme.”

Silhouettes

First recorded by The Rays (US #3/R&B #3 1957).
Other hit versions by The Diamonds (US #10/R&B #6 1957), Herman’s Hermits (US #5/UK #3 1965), Cliff Richard (UK #10 1990).
Also recorded by Bob Crewe (1960), Frankie Lymon (1960), Paul Anka (1961), The Four Seasons (1964).

From the wiki: “In May 1957, songwriter-producer Bob Crewe (‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)‘, ‘Lady Marmalade‘, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Silence is Golden‘) saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed-by on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record.

“The Rays’ original recording received a break when popular Philadelphia disc-jockey Hy Lit fell asleep at home listening to a stack of newly-released records on his record player. ‘Silhouettes’ happened to be the last record to play, and so it repeated until he woke up. Lit began to playing the song on his show and it became popular enough that Cameo-Parkway picked it up for national distribution. The Rays’ ‘Silhouettes’ eventually reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100, while also hitting the Top-5 on both the sales and airplay charts. It became the group’s only Top 40 hit.

It’s All in the Game

First recorded by Tommy Edwards (US #18/R&B #1 1951).
Also recorded by Louis Armstrong (1953), Nat “King” Cole (1956).
Other hit versions by Tommy Edwards (re-recording US #1/UK #1 1958), Cliff Richard (US #25/UK #2 1963), The Four Tops (US #24/R&B #6/UK #5 1970).

From the wiki: “‘It’s All in the Game’ is the only #1 hit ever written by a future US Vice-President. The melody was first composed in 1911 by then-banker Charles Gates Dawes, who would become VP in 1925 under Calvin Coolidge. The song garnered some popularity in the 1920s when Jascha Heifetz used it for a time as a ‘light concert’ encore. Lyrics were added in 1951 by the Brill Building songwriter Carl Sigman, who also changed the song’s name to ‘It’s All in the Game’ from its original ‘Dawes Melody in A Major’. Sadly, Dawes would not live to hear lyrics put to his song. He passed away the same day Sigman completed his assignment.

From a Distance

First recorded by Nanci Griffith (1987).
Also recorded by Judy Collins (1989), The Byrds (1990).
Hit versions by Cliff Richard (UK #11/IRE #16 1990), Bette Midler (US #2/UK #6/AUS #8 1990).

From the wiki: “‘From a Distance’ was written in 1985 by American singer-songwriter Julie Gold. Gold was working as a secretary at the time for Home Box Office and writing songs in her free time. Gold’s friend, Christine Lavin, introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who was the first singer to record it, for her 1987 album Lone Star State of Mind. Griffith remembers Gold had sent her the song asking Griffith what was wrong with it, as Gold had already sent it to so many artists and record companies but no one wanted to produce a recording. Griffith answered that she loved it so much the moment she heard it that she wanted to record it’right then and there’.

Do You Want to Dance

Written and originally recorded by Bobby Freeman (US #5/R&B #2 1958).
Other hit versions by The Shadows (UK #2/NETH #1 1962), Del Shannon (US #43 1964), The Beach Boys (US #12 1965), Bette Midler (US #17 1972).

From the wiki: “‘Do You Want to Dance’ is a song written by Bobby Freeman and recorded by him in 1958. Cliff Richard and The Shadows’ version of the song reached #2 in the United Kingdom in 1962, despite being a B-side. It reached #8 in the United States when released by the Beach Boys in 1965 as ‘Do You Wanna Dance?’, and a 1972 cover by Bette Midler (‘Do You Want to Dance?’) reached #17.

All I Ask of You

Originally recorded by Sarah Brightman & Cliff Richard (UK #3 1986).
US hit version by Barbra Streisand (US #15 1988).

From the wiki: “‘All I Ask of You’ is a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of The Phantom of the Opera.

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