Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Dobie Gray

Rose Garden

First recorded by Billy Joe Royal (1967).
Also recorded by Dobie Gray (US #119 1969), Joe South, writer (1969), The Three Degrees (1970).
Hit version by Lynn Anderson (US #3/C&W #1/UK #3 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Rose Garden’ was written by Joe South (‘Down in the Boondocks’) and first recorded by Billy Joe Royal (‘Down in the Boondocks’) in 1967 for the album Billy Joe Royal Featuring Hush. Several cover versions were recorded soon thereafter, including productions by the writer, Joe South, Dobie Gray and The Three Degrees, before Lynn Anderson took ‘Rose Garden’ to the top of the US Country Singles chart. Anderson had wanted to record the song but her producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton felt it was a ‘man’s song’, in part because of the line ‘I could promise you things like big diamond rings’.

“But, after arranging a more up-tempo, light-hearted melody, Sutton and the studio musicians were impressed with the results. Columbia Records’ executive Clive Davis was equally impressed and insisted the song be released as a single in both the country and pop markets. Shortly after its breakthrough on US Top 40 radio, the song became an international hit. A cover version released by Sandie Shaw in UK ultimately failed to chart, as Anderson’s version quickly became a major success there.”

The “In” Crowd

First recorded by Dobie Gray (US #13/R&B #11/UK #25 1965).
Also recorded by First Gear (1965).
Other hit versions by The Ramsey Lewis Trio (US #5/R&B #2 1965), Bryan Ferry (UK #13 1974).

From the wiki: “‘The ‘In’ Crowd’ is a 1964 song written by Billy Page and arranged by his brother Gene that was originally performed by Dobie Gray on his album Dobie Gray Sings for ‘In’ Crowders That ‘Go Go. Gray’s powerful Motown-like version, complete with brass section, reached #13 in the US and #25 in the UK in 1965. The Ramsey Lewis Trio recorded an instrumental version of the tune later that same year at the suggestion of a coffee shop waitress.

All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You

First recorded (as “All I Want to Do is Make Love to You”) by Dobie Gray (1979).
Hit version by Heart (US #2/UK #8/CAN #1/AUS #1 1990).

From the wiki: “It was composed by veteran songwriter and producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange. The song was first recorded as ‘All I Want to Do is Make Love to You’ by Dobie Gray in 1979, though with completely different lyrics.

Drift Away

First recorded by John Henry Kurtz (1972).
Hit versions by Dobie Gray (US #5/R&B #42 1973), Narvel Felts (C&W #8 1973), Uncle Cracker & Dobie Gray (US #9/MOR #1 2003).

From the wiki: “John Henry Kurtz was a man of many talents: Broadway, movie and TV actor; Civil War collectibles buff (some of which were filmed for Ken Burns’ PBS-TV series, Civil War); voice-over artist (NBC Nightly News, and countless commercials); musician. Kurtz recorded ‘Drift Away’ for his own album, Reunion (1972), on which he was backed by some of L.A.’s finest: Skunk Baxter, Kenny Loggins, Michael Omartian, Jim Gordon, and others. ‘Drift Away’ was written by Mentor Williams (brother of songwriter Paul Williams) as a lament of the difficulties being a Nashville songwriter.”

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