First recorded (as “Never Let Him Go”) by Jody Miller (1965).
Hit version by David Gates, writer (US #29/MOR #3 1975).
From the wiki: “‘Never Let Him Go’ was written by David Gates and first recorded by Jody Miller (‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me‘) in 1965 (B-side ‘Be My Man’) with no apparent chart impact (but which some consider to be one of her best Capitol Records recordings).
“Discovered by actor Dale Robertson, Miller began her career in the early 1960s as a folk/pop singer, singing in the Los Angeles area. By the mid-1960s, Miller became a pioneer crossover female vocalist, opening the doors for Linda Ronstadt, Anne Murray, and Olivia Newton-John and others as a pop singer recording a strong Country influence. Miller enjoyed modest success in both genres.
“Songwriter Gates, who had also arranged and produced Miller’s original recording, covered ‘Never Let Her Go’ for his own album, Never Let Her Go, in 1975 – Gates’ second solo album but his first after the break-up of the group Bread – and the single charted in the US Top 30.”