Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Curtis Mayfield

One Love

First recorded by The Wailing Wailers (1965).
Hit version by Bob Marley & The Wailers (UK #5/NZ #1 1977).

From the wiki: “‘One Love’ was written by Bob Marley (with a later credit extended to Curtis Mayfield) and first recorded in a Ska style in 1965 by The Wailing Wailers. The song contains an interpretation of The Impressions’ song ‘People Get Ready’, written by Curtis Mayfield. The 1977 re-recording became a part of Marley’s Legend greatest-hits compilation, and was released as one of that album’s promotional singles. Legend holds the distinction of being the second longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine. Combining its chart life on the Billboard 200 and the Top Pop Catalog Albums charts, Legend has had a chart run of 992 non-consecutive weeks, surpassed only by The Dark Side of the Moon at 1574 weeks.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

First recorded by The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (US #11 1966).
Other hit versions by Larry Williams & Johnny “Guitar” Watson (US #96/R&B #23 1967), Marlena Shaw (US #58/R&B #33 1967), The Buckinghams (US #5 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ is a song written by Joe Zawinul in 1966 for Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley and his album Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at ‘The Club’. The song is the title track of the album and became a surprise hit, reaching #11 on the Billboard charts in Feb. 1967. The song has been re-recorded numerous times, most notably by The Buckinghams who reached # 5 in August 1967, adding lyrics to the tune.

“The theme of the song on the original recording is performed by Joe Zawinul himself playing it on a Wurlitzer electric piano previously used by Ray Charles. ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” was also recorded by the Mauds in 1967, with lyrics to the original instrumental written by Curtis Mayfield. It is this arrangement that The Buckinghams released in June, 1967 which peaked in the US Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100. It followed earlier vocal recordings by Larry Williams & Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson (released February, 1967) and Marlena Shaw (released March, 1967).”

The Jerk

Based on “Girl You Don’t Know Me” by The Impressions (1964).
Hit version by The Larks (US #7/R&B #1 1964).

From the wiki: “Released as a single in 1964 on the Money record label, ‘The Jerk’ was a hit for the Los Angeles band The Larks. Larks’ group member Don Julian wrote new lyrics for their song based on an earlier recording by The Impressions, ‘Girl You Don’t Know Me’, written by Curtis Mayfield.”

Gypsy Woman

First recorded by The Impressions (US #20/R&B #1 1961).
Other hit versions by Brian Hyland (US #3/UK #42 1970), Santana (US #31 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Gypsy Woman’ was written by Curtis Mayfield and recorded by his group The Impressions, the group’s first single following the departure of lead singer Jerry Butler. The recording reached #2 on the R&B chart and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. In 1970, Brian Hyland recorded a successful Del Shannon-produced cover version which charted at No. 3 on the Hot 100.”

He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)

Co-written and first recorded (as “He Will Break Your Heart”) by Jerry Butler (US #7/R&B #1 1960).
Other hit version by Tony Orland & Dawn (US #1 1975).

From the wiki: “The song was written by Jerry Butler, Calvin Carter, and Curtis Mayfield (who sings backup on the Butler recording). First recorded by Butler and released as a single in 1960, it peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition, Butler’s recording spent seven, non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the U.S. R&B chart.

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