Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Glen Campbell

Strangers in the Night

First recorded (as “Beddy Bye”) by Bert Kaempfert (1965).
Possibly based on “Stranci u noći” by Ivo Robić (1966)
First English-language recording by Jack Jones (1966).
Also recorded (in German, as “Fremde in der Nacht”) by Ivo Robić (1966).
Hit version Frank Sinatra (US #1/MOR #1/UK #1 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Strangers in the Night’ is credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. It is sometimes claimed that the Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of ‘Strangers in the Night’ (performed as ‘Stranci u noći’), and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. These claims have not been substantiated.

“Robić, a pioneer of popular Yugoslav music from the early 1950s on, was the only artist from Yugoslavia whose records were available in the record shops of Europe and the rest of the world. He performed and collaborated with Kaempfert, Freddy Quinn, and Dean Martin. Robić would go on to record Yugoslav and German versions of ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘Stranci u Noći’ with lyrics by Marija Renota and ‘Fremde in der Nacht’ with lyrics by Kurt Feltz.

“Kaempfert originally recorded the melody under the title ‘Beddy Bye’ as part of the instrumental score for the movie soundtrack to A Man Could Get Killed, which went on to win a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

I Love How You Love Me

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Barry Mann (1961).
Hit versions by The Paris Sisters (US #5 1961), Jimmy Crawford (UK #18 1961), Paul & Barry Ryan (UK #21 1966), Bobby Vinton (US #9/MOR #2 1968), Lynn Anderson (C&W #18 1979), Glen Campbell (C&W #17 1983).

From Songfacts.com: “‘I Love How You Love Me’ was written by Barry Mann (‘Who Put the Bomp’, ‘Venus in Blue Jeans‘, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘, ‘Never Gonna Let You Go‘) and Larry Kolber, and first recorded as a demo by Mann in 1961. According to Rich Podolsky’s book Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear, Kolber’s post-military career (he had been a journalist for Stars & Stripes) found him, first, a whiskey salesman and, then, after a casual encounter, a budding lyricist – an unpredictable twist. It was while having lunch at a cafe on Manhattan across the street from Aldon Music that Kolber literally jotted down on a napkin the lyrics, in minutes, to ‘I Love How You Love Me’! Kolber went across to Aldon to look for someone to set his lyrics to music. Barry Mann happened to be in the Aldon offices just at that moment, and it was he who set Kolber’s lyrics to music.

“Tony Orlando was originally slated to sing it, but Phil Spector happened to drop by and asked for the song for one of his girl groups. Kolber was disappointed, thinking that he’d lost a shot at fame without Orlando’s voice.

Carolina in My Mind

Written and first recorded by James Taylor (US #118 1968 |US #67 1970).
Other hit version by George Hamilton IV (C&W #29/CAN #3 1969).
Hit album re-recording by James Taylor (1976).
Also recorded by The Everly Brothers (1969), Melanie (1970).
Performed by Glen Campbell & Linda Ronstadt (1971).

From the wiki: “‘Carolina in My Mind’ was written and first performed by singer-songwriter James Taylor on his 1968 debut album, James Taylor, on Apple Records. The original recording of the song was done at London’s Trident Studios during the July to October 1968 period, and was produced by Peter Asher. The song’s lyric ‘holy host of others standing around me’ is allegedly a reference to the Beatles, who were recording The Beatles (aka the ‘White Album’) in the same building as Taylor was recording his album. Indeed, the original recording of ‘Carolina in My Mind’ features a credited appearance by Paul McCartney on bass guitar and an uncredited appearance by George Harrison on backing vocals.

“Owing to the same problems which plagued the release of the album (namely, Taylor’s inability to promote it due to his hospitalization for drug addiction), the single’s original release reached only #118 on US pop charts and failed to chart in the UK. Following the success of Taylor’s second album, Sweet Baby James, and its hit single ‘Fire and Rain’, ‘Carolina in My Mind’ was re-issued by Apple as a single in October 1970 and rose to #67 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Turn Around, Look At Me

First recorded by Glen Campbell (US #62/MOR #15 1961).
Hit versions by The Letterman (US #105 1962), The Vogues (US #7/MOR #3 1968).
Also recorded by The Bee Gees (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Turn Around, Look at Me’ was written by Jerry Capehart. In 1961, Glen Campbell was the first to release the song, and it would become his first song to chart in the United States. The Letterman recorded a version in 1962 that ‘bubbled’ under the Billboard Hot 100. In 1964, while Bee Gees were still in Australia, they released a version of the song which did not chart. In 1968, The Vogues released their cover version, by far the most successful recording of the song, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.”

Galveston

First recorded by Don Ho (1968).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #4/C&W #1/UK #14/CAN #2/AUS #5/NZ #3 1969).

From the wiki: “Composer Jimmy Webb (‘Up, Up and Away‘, ‘The Worst That Could Happen‘, ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix‘) was on a beach in Galveston, Texas, when he wrote the song ‘Galveston’, making up the story about a Spanish-American war soldier and the girl he left behind. ‘Galveston’ was originally recorded by Don Ho, releasing it in 1968 as the B-side of his single ‘Has Anybody Lost A Love?’ with no chart impact.

“Ho recalled he gave Campbell a copy of the single and told him, ‘I didn’t have any luck with this, maybe you will.’ Ho would later appear on Campbell’s TV variety show The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in Oct. 1969 to perform the song.

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

First recorded by Johnny Rivers (1965).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #26/C&W #2/CAN #1 1967).

From the wiki: “‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ was written by Jimmy Webb (‘Up, Up and Away‘). Originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965 on his album Changes it would be made famous by Glen Campbell, appearing as the opening and title track on Campbell’s 1967 album By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Campbell’s recording reached #2 on the US Country Singles chart in 1968, and #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, and would go on to win two Grammy Awards in 1968: Best Vocal Performance (Male), and Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance. Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) has named ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ the third most-performed song from 1940 to 1990. Frank Sinatra called it ‘the greatest torch song ever written.’

Rhinestone Cowboy

First recorded by Larry Weiss (1974).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #1/C&W #1/UK #4/CAN #1 1975).

From the wiki: “”Rhinestone Cowboy” is a song written by Larry Weiss and most famously recorded by singer Glen Campbell. Growing up in Queens, New York City, Weiss started writing songs in his teens, and continued to do so while working in his family’s textile sales business, before working as a freelance songwriter for music publishers Wes Farrell (who also published Gerry Goffin and Carole King). Weiss’ first break came in 1963 when Nat ‘King’ Cole recorded ‘Mr. Wishing Well’, co-written with Lockie Edwards Jr.. Weiss also wrote for R&B acts including Baby Washington, Chuck Jackson, The Shirelles, and American Breed (‘Bend Me, Shape Me‘).

“Weiss wrote and first recorded ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ in 1974 (sounding very much like Neil Diamond), where it appeared on his album Black and Blue Suite. It did not, however, have much of a commercial impact as a single. In late 1974, however, Glen Campbell did hear the song on the radio and, during a tour of Australia, sat down to learn it.

Weiss remembers,

“‘The chorus came from the 1944 movie Buffalo Bill. In the last scene, he rides out on a white horse, in a white outfit, with long white beard and hair, and he thanks everybody for giving him such a great life. There’s another scene where he’s at his lowest point, sat on a stuffed horse in a penny arcade holding his hat in the air. I now realise that it was about trials and tribulations. In a way, I wrote the song about that without even knowing it.

‘I was so disappointed when it wasn’t a hit that I was ready to quit. But Glen told me that when the song was presented to him, he’d already heard it on the car radio and had to pull over to the side of the road. He said: “People told me I was mad to like it, but it just blew me away.” The song had been turned down by everybody from Elvis Presley to Neil Diamond, but it worked better with Glen singing it. If Neil or a pop singer had sung it, it wouldn’t have meant as much.'”

– ‘How We Made Rhinestone Cowboy‘, The Guardian, May 13, 2013

These Days

First recorded by Nico (1967).
Covered by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1968), Tom Rush (1970), Jennifer Warnes (1972), Ian Matthews (1973), Jackson Browne (1973), Gregg Allman (1973), Paul Westerberg (2003), Glen Campbell (2008), Jackson Browne & Gregg Allman (2014).

From the wiki: “‘These Days’ was written by Jackson Browne c. 1964, when he was 16-years old. German model, chanteuse and Warhol Superstar Nico was the first to record ‘These Days’ for release, on her October 1967 album Chelsea Girl. The elaborate production featured a fairly fast finger-picking electric guitar part by Browne. The use of that instrument was suggested by Andy Warhol.

Let It Be Me

First recorded (in English) by Jill Corey (1957).
Hit versions by The Everly Brothers (US #7 1960), Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (US #5/R&B #1 1964), The Sweet Inspirations (R&B #13 1967), Glen Campbell & Bobbie Gentry (US #36/C&W #14/MOR #7 1969) and Willie Nelson (US #40/C&W #2/MOR #11 1982).

From the wiki: “[O]riginally published in 1955 as ‘Je t’appartiens,’ the score was written and first recorded in French by Gilbert Bécaud (‘September Morn’). The English-language version used lyrics by Mann Curtis and was first performed in 1957 by Jill Corey in the television series Climax!. Corey’s version, with orchestration by Jimmy Carroll, was released as a single and was moderately successful.

Gentle On My Mind

Written and first recorded by John Hartford (1967).
Also recorded Tompall & the Glaser Brothers (1967).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #62/C&W #30 1967 |US #39/C&W #44/MOR #8 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Gentle On My Mind’ won two 1968 Grammy Awards. Hartford himself won the award for Best Folk Performance. The other award, Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance (Male), went to Country music singer Glen Campbell for his hit version of Hartford’s song. Hartford reported that he was inspired to write the song after seeing the film Doctor Zhivago when his own memories took over, and that it took about fifteen minutes for him to write down the music and lyrics, and he would record it in-studio on February 2, 1967. Hartford would re-record ‘Gentle On My Mind’ in 1977 for inclusion on the album All in the Name of Love.

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