Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Gerry Goffin

Pleasant Valley Sunday

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1967).
Hit version by The Monkees (US #3/CAN #2/UK #11 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and was first recorded in 1967 as a demo by King. Goffin’s and King’s inspiration for the name was a street named Pleasant Valley Way, in West Orange, New Jersey where they were living at the time. The road follows a valley through several communities among the Watchung Mountains. The lyrics were a social commentary on status symbols, creature comforts, life in suburbia and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

“The Monkees’ single peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured in the second season of their television series. The Monkees. ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ also appeared on the fourth Monkees album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., in November 1967. While mono copies of the album had the same version heard on the single, stereo copies had a version using a different take of the first verse and an additional backing vocal during the break.”

Take Good Care of My Baby

First recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1961).
Also recorded by Dion & the Belmonts (1961), The Beatles (1962).
Hit versions by Bobby Vee (US #1/UK #3 1961), Bobby Vinton (US #33 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and was first recorded by King as a demo in 1961. Dion & the Belmonts were the first to record the song for commercial release but their version was not published until release of the album Runaround Sue in the slipstream of Bobby Vee’s #1 hit. The song was covered by The Beatles during their audition at Decca Records on January 1, 1962 but was unreleased until 2009. In 1968, ‘Take Good Care’ became a hit again, this time for Bobby Vinton.”

Do You Know Where You’re Going To?

First recorded by Thelma Houston (1973).
Hit version by Diana Ross (US #1/R&B #14/UK #5/CAN #4 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Do You Know Where You’re Going To’ was written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin (‘You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman‘, ‘Up on the Roof‘), and was first recorded in 1973 by Thelma Houston for a New Zealand-only single release (Tamla Motown 872). In 1975, the song was repurposed by Masser and used as the theme to the movie Mahogany. Sung in the film by Diana Ross, it became one of the most recognizable elements of the film. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1975, and was also nominated for the 1975 Academy Award for Best Original Song.”

(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1967).
Hit versions by Aretha Franklin (US #8/R&B #2 1967), Celine Dion (MOR #31 1995), Mary J. Blige (R&B #39/UK #23 1995).
Also recorded by Carole King (1971).

From the wiki: “Written by the celebrated partnership of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, ‘You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)’ was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler. As recounted in his autobiography, Wexler, a student of African-American musical culture, had been mulling over the concept of the ‘natural man’, when he drove by Goffin on the streets of New York. Wexler shouted out to him he wanted a ‘natural woman’ song for Aretha Franklin’s next album. In thanks, Goffin and King granted Wexler a co-writing credit. Franklin’s recording features all three Franklin sisters, including Erma and Carolyn singing backup. Erma had a record deal in the ’60s, but didn’t have much success. Her biggest hit was her 1967 original recording of ‘Piece Of My Heart‘, made famous by Janis Joplin.”

Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You

First recorded by George Benson (1985).
Hit version by Glenn Medeiros (US #12/UK #1/CAN #1/IRE #1/FRA #1 1987).

From the wiki: “‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You’ was written by Gerry Goffin (‘(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman‘, ‘Saving All My Love for You‘) and Michael Masser, and originally recorded by George Benson for his 1985 album 20/20. The song achieved worldwide success in a cover version by Hawaiian singer Glenn Medeiros released in 1987. Medeiros had originally released his cover version on a small independent label at the age of 16, after winning a local radio talent contest in Hawaii. A visiting radio executive from KZZP in Phoenix, Arizona, heard the song and took the record back to Phoenix, where, through word of mouth, it grew to become a national hit.”

I’ve Got to Use My Imagination

Co-written and first recorded by Barry Goldberg, co-writer (1973).
Hit version by Gladys Knight & The Pips (US #4/R&B #1 1973).
Also recorded by Bob Dylan (bootleg 1984), Joe Cocker (1989), Gerry Goffin, co-writer (1995), Joan Osborne (2007).

From the wiki: “‘I’ve Got to Use My Imagination’ was written by Gerry Goffin (‘Up on the Roof‘, ‘Oh No Not My Baby‘, ‘Saving All My Love for You‘, ‘One Fine Day’) and Barry Goldberg, and first recorded by Goldberg in 1973 at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with co-producer Bob Dylan on backing vocals and percussion. Goldberg was the keyboardist behind Dylan at the infamous ‘Dylan goes electric’ Newport Folk Festival performance in 1965, and it was Dylan who helped Goldberg secure the deal with Atlantic Records that resulted in the 1974 release of Barry Goldberg.

Oh No Not My Baby

First recorded by The Shirelles (1964, released 2006).
Hit versions by Maxine Brown (US #24 1964), Manfred Mann (UK# 11 1964), Merry Clayton (US #71/R&B #30 1972), Rod Stewart (UK #6 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Oh No Not My Baby’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The first recorded version of the song was by The Shirelles, with the group’s members alternating leads – an approach that rendered the song unreleasable. Maxine Brown says that Stan Greenberg, Scepter Records executive, then, gave her the song with the advisement that she had to ‘find the original melody’ from the recording by The Shirelles: ‘They [had gone] so far off by each [group member] taking their own lead, no one knew any more where the real melody stood.’

“Brown recalled sitting on the porch of her one level house in Queens listening to The Shirelles’ track play on a boom box propped in a window. A group of children skipping rope on the sidewalk picked up the song’s main hook before Brown herself; hearing the children singing ‘Oh no not my baby’ as they skipped gave Brown the wherewithal to determine the song’s melody. Brown recorded her vocal over The Shirelles’ original backing track with the group’s vocals erased; Dee Dee Warwick provided the harmony vocal on the chorus.

Hi De Ho

Co-written by Carole King and first recorded (as “That Old Sweet Roll”) by City (1969).
Hit version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (US #14 1970).
Also recorded by Dusty Springfield (1969), Carole King (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Hi De Ho’, originally titled ‘That Old Sweet Roll (Hi De Ho)’, was co-written by Carole King (with Gerry Goffin) and first recorded by the band City, Carole King’s late-1960s band with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey. It appeared on the only album recorded by City, Now That Everything’s Been Said. Dusty Springfield recorded ‘That Old Sweet Roll’ during the same In Memphis sessions that produced her hit single, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, and the Springfield version was released in 1969 as the B-side to the single ‘Willie & Laura Mae Jones’. It’s now included as a bonus track on the CD version of In Memphis. Blood, Sweat & Tear’s 1970 recording of the song, now titled ‘Hi De Ho’, would chart into the US Top 20.”

Saving All My Love for You

First recorded by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (1978).
Hit version by Whitney Houston (US #1/R&B #1/UK #1 1985).

From the wiki: “‘Saving All My Love for You’ is a song written by Michael Masser (‘The Greatest Love of All‘) and Gerry Goffin with arrangement by Gene Page (Love Unlimited Orchestra). It was originally recorded by former 5th Dimension-aires Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. in 1978 for their album Marilyn & Billy.

Up on the Roof

First recorded by Little Eva (1962).
Hit versions by The Drifters (US #5/R&B #4 1962), Kenny Lynch (UK #10 1962), Julie Grant (UK #33 1963), Laura Nyro (US #92 1970), James Taylor (US #28 1980), Robson & Jerome (UK #1 1995).
Also recorded by Carole King (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Up on the Roof’ is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, first recorded in 1962 by Little Eva. The song was also recorded by The Drifters and released late that year, becoming a major hit in early 1963 (reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the US R&B Singles chart).

Chains

First recorded by The Everly Brothers (1962, released 1984).
Hit versions by The Cookies (US #17/R&B #7 1962), The Beatles (1963).

From the wiki: “‘Chains’ is a song composed by the Brill Building husband-and-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King (‘Up on the Roof‘, ‘Crying in the Rain‘, ‘Oh No Not My Baby‘), and originally recorded by the Everly Brothers but which went unreleased until 1984. In 1962 it was a US Top 20 hit for Little Eva’s backing singers, The Cookies, and later covered by The Beatles.

I’m Into Something Good

First recorded by Earl-Jean (US #38 1964).
Hit version by Herman’s Hermits (US #13/UK #1 1964).

From the wiki: “‘I’m Into Something Good’ was originally recorded by The Cookies member Earl-Jean McCrea in 1964 and produced and arranged by the song’s composers, Gerry Goffin and Carole King (‘Oh No Not My Baby‘, ‘Up on the Roof‘, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman‘). The original recording reached #38 on the US pop singles chart. Soon thereafter, Herman’s Hermits recorded the song as their debut single, reaching #1 in the UK Singles Chart on 14 September 1964 and staying there for two weeks. The song peaked at #13 in the US later that year.

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