First recorded by Bo Diddley (1955).
Inspired by “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters (1954).
Popular versions by the Yardbirds (1964), the Yardbirds (1965).
From the wiki: “‘I’m a Man’ is a rhythm and blues song written and recorded by Bo Diddley in 1955 (credited to ‘E[llas] Daniels’, Bo Diddley’s birth name), and was one of the first songs Diddley recorded for Checker Records.
“Unlike his self-titled ‘Bo Diddley’, recorded the same day (March 2, 1955 in Chicago), ‘I’m a Man’ does not use the ‘Bo Diddley beat’. Rather, it was inspired by Muddy Waters’ 1954 song ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, written by Willie Dixon. After Bo Diddley’s release, Waters recorded an ‘answer song’ to ‘I’m a Man’, in May 1955, titled ‘Mannish Boy’, a play on words on Bo Diddley’s younger age as it related to the primary theme of the song.
“In a Rolling Stone magazine interview, Bo Diddley recounts that the song took a long time to record because of confusion regarding the timing of the ‘M … A … N’ vocal chorus.
First released (as a single) by Derek and the Dominos (1970).
Hit album version re-recorded by Derek and the Dominos (1970).
From the wiki: “‘Tell the Truth’ was composed primarily by keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, with guitarist Eric Clapton adding the last verse.
“The original version of ‘Tell the Truth’ was recorded in London during the sessions for George Harrison’s 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. The session marked the first recordings by Derek and the Dominos. Produced by Phil Spector, this original, faster version of the song featured guitar contributions from Harrison and Dave Mason. It was issued as Derek and the Dominos’ debut single, in September 1970, although the band had the release withdrawn. Four days before the session, Derek and the Dominos, with Dave Mason as second guitarist, had played ‘Tell the Truth’ at their debut concert, held at London’s Lyceum Ballroom.
“In August 1970, while recording their album Layla at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, with producer Tom Dowd, the band decided to remake ‘Tell the Truth’.
First recorded by Howlin’ Wolf (1960).
Based on “Spoonful Blues” by Charley Patton (1929).
Hit versions by Etta & Harvey (US #78/R&B #12 1961), Cream (1966).
Also recorded by The Blues Project (1966), Koko Taylor (1978).
From the wiki: “The blues song ‘Spoonful’ was written by Willie Dixon, and was loosely based on ‘Spoonful Blues’ recorded in 1929 by Charley Patton.
“‘Spoonful’ was first recorded in 1960 by Howlin’ Wolf. Backing Wolf on vocals are longtime accompanist Hubert Sumlin on guitar, relative newcomer Freddie Robinson on second guitar, and Chess recording veterans Otis Spann on piano, Fred Below on drums, and Dixon on double-bass. ‘Spoonful’ would go on to become one of Dixon’s best-known and most-interpreted songs.
“Etta James had a Pop and R&B record chart hit with ‘Spoonful’ in 1961, in duet with Harvey Farqua (who would go on to become head of A&R at Motown Records). ‘Spoonful’ would become more popularized in the late 1960s when recorded by the British rock group Cream who produced a cover of ‘Spoonful’ for their 1966 UK debut album, Fresh Cream.
Written and first recorded by J.J. Cale (1976).
Hit versions by Eric Clapton (NZ #1/SUI #2/AUT #3 1977), Eric Clapton (B-side live US #30 1980).
From the wiki: “‘Cocaine’ was written and first recorded in 1976 by singer-songwriter J. J. Cale. The song was popularized by Eric Clapton after his cover version was released on the 1977 album Slowhand. A live version of ‘Cocaine’, from the album Just One Night, charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as the B-side of ‘Tulsa Time’, which was a #30 hit in 1980. Clapton described ‘Cocaine’ as an anti-drug song, calling it ‘quite cleverly anti-cocaine.'”
Written and first recorded by John Martyn (1971).
Re-recorded by John Martyn (1973).
Hit album version by Eric Clapton (1977).
From the wiki: “‘May You Never’ became something of a signature song for its writer, John Martyn, becoming a staple of his live performances. Released in November 1971 as a single, in an early form with a full band, the first release of ‘May You Never’ had slightly different lyrics than appeared in subsequent recordings. ‘May You Never’ was re-recorded with a more sparse arrangement for the Solid Air album sessions in 1973. According to Songfacts.com, the night before producer John Wood was due to fly to New York to master the album, he was still waiting for the tape containing this tune. ‘It was by then nearly midnight,’ he recalled to Mojo magazine April 2013, ‘so I said to him, For Christ’s sake, John, just go back down into the studio and play it again, and we’ll record it. And he did, and it’s great.’
“Eric Clapton covered ‘May You Never’ on his 1977 album Slowhand. When Martyn was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards, Clapton sent a message saying that [Martyn] was ‘so far ahead of everything else it was inconceivable’ and acknowledged the extent of his influence on ‘everyone who ever heard him.'”
Originally recorded by Wynonna (Feb 1996).
Hit version by Eric Clapton (US #5/MOR #1/R&B #54/UK #18 July 1996).
From the wiki: “’Change the World’ was written by Tommy Sims, Gordon Kennedy, and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Previous to the release of Eric Clapton’s hit version, the song was recorded by Country superstar Wynonna Judd for her album Revelations, released in February 1996. Wynonna, however, did not release her version as a single despite the popularity of Clapton’s subsequent recording when it was released to radio in July 1996.
Written and first recorded by J.J. Cale (1966).
Hit versions by Eric Clapton (US #18 1970), J.J. Cale (re-recording US #42 1972), Eric Clapton (re-recording Rock #4/UK #99 1988).
Also recorded by The Pioneers (1971), Chet Atkins (1972), Sergio Mendes (1972), Maggie Bell (1974), Pretty Lights (2009).
From the wiki: “J.J. Cale wrote ‘After Midnight’ in 1966 and first released it as single (on Liberty Records) the same year with no apparent chart success. But, the song would become the catalyst for his future solo recording career success. When Eric Clapton was working with Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett introduced Eric to Cale’s music. ‘After Midnight’ was the first of several Cale cover songs released by Clapton and it first appeared on his 1970 self-titled debut album. Clapton’s single peaked at #18 in late 1970.
“Cale was unaware of Clapton’s 1970 recording of the song until it became a radio hit. He recalled to Mojo magazine that when he heard Clapton’s version playing on his radio, ‘I was dirt poor, not making enough to eat and I wasn’t a young man. I was in my thirties, so I was very happy. It was nice to make some money.’ Cale’s friend and producer Audie Ashworth then encouraged him to capitalize on the song’s success by recording a full album, Naturally, released in 1972. A re-recording of ‘After Midnight’ was released from the album as a single in 1972. Cale’s recording reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.
Written and first recorded by Yellow Magic Orchestra (1979).
Hit versions by Greg Phillinganes (R&B #77/DANCE #4 1985), Eric Clapton (UK #15 1987).
Also recorded by Michael Jackson (1982, released 2010), Ryuichi Sakamoto & Bernard Fowler (1987), The Human League & Yellow Magic Orchestra (1993).
From the wiki: “‘Behind the Mask’ is a Synth-Pop song by electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra, written by member Ryuichi Sakamoto and first produced as an instrumental in 1978 for a Seiko watch commercial. It was later released in 1979 as part of the band’s Solid State Survivor album with English lyrics added by Chris Mosdell. Sakamoto already had the melody line when he asked poet and lyricist Mosdell to write lyrics, which Mosdell based on the imagery of a Japanese traditional Noh mask, combined with a poem by Irish poet W.B. Yeats called, ‘The Mask’.
Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Graham Gouldman (1965).
Hit version by The Yardbirds (US #6/UK #3/CAN #1 1965).
From the wiki: “‘For Your Love’ was written by future 10cc member Graham Gouldman and first recorded by him as a demo. Gouldman wrote the song at the age of 19 while employed by day in a gentlemen’s outfitters near Salford Docks and playing by night with the semi-professional Manchester band The Mockingbirds. Gouldman’s manager, Harvey Lisberg, was so impressed by the song he told Gouldman they should offer it to the Beatles.
Written and first recorded by The Wailers (1973).
Hit version by Eric Clapton (US #1/UK #9/CAN #1/NZ #1 1974).
From the wiki: “‘I Shot The Sheriff’ was written by Bob Marley, told from the point of view of a narrator who claims to have acted in self-defense when the sheriff tried to shoot him. The song was first released in 1973 on The Wailers’ album Burnin’. Eric Clapton recorded a cover version that was included on his 1974 album, 461 Ocean Boulevard. It is the most successful version of the song, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2003, Clapton’s version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.”
Written and originally recorded by The Johnny Otis Show (US #9/R&B #5 1958).
Other hit versions by The Strangeloves (US #100 1966), Eric Clapton (US #26 1974), George Thorogood (US #63 1985).
From the wiki: “The origin of the song came when one of Otis’ managers, Hal Zeiger, found out that rock’n’roll concert venues in England did not permit the teenagers to stand up and dance in the aisles, so they instead danced with their hands while remaining in their seats. The music was based on a song Otis had heard a chain gang singing while touring at a teenager with Count Otis Matthews and the West Oakland House Stompers.
Written and originally recorded by Dave Mason (US #42 1970).
Hit album version by Delaney and Bonnie (1970).
From the wiki: “Dave Mason co-founded the rock band Traffic, but left following the recording of their debut album, Mr. Fantasy (1967), only to rejoin halfway through the sessions for their next album, Traffic (1968), after which he left again. From 1969 through 1970, Mason toured with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends along with Eric Clapton and George Harrison.
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