Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Ian & Sylvia

You Were On My Mind

Written and first recorded by Ian & Sylvia (1964).
Also recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio (1965), The Vogues (1965).
Hit versions by We Five (US #3 1965), Crispian St. Peters (US #36/UK #2 1966), Barry McGuire (ITA #19 1966).

From the wiki: “‘You Were On My Mind’ was written by Sylvia Tyson in 1964, and originally performed and recorded by her and Ian Tyson as the duo Ian & Sylvia. It first appeared on their 1964 album, Northern Journey. The following year, We Five recorded a cover that charted in the Billboard Top 5. Crispian St. Peters (‘The Pied Piper’) scored a sizable UK hit in 1966 with his cover version. A 1966 cover by Barry McGuire (‘Eve of Destruction’, ‘California Dreamin’‘) peaked in the Italian Top 20.”

Early Morning Rain

First released by Ian & Sylvia (1965).
Hit versions by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #91/MOR #13 1965), George Hamilton IV (C&W #9 1966), Oliver (MOR #38 1971), Paul Weller (UK #40 2005).
Also recorded by The Grateful Dead (1965), Gordon Lightfoot, author (1966), Elvis Presley (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Early Morning Rain’ (sometimes ‘Early Mornin’ Rain’) was composed by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, perhaps as early as 1964. The song appears on his 1966 debut album Lightfoot! but is thought to have been recorded in 1964 or 1965. Husband and wife duo Ian & Sylvia were the first to release ‘Early Morning Rain’; Peter, Paul & Mary’s version, also recorded in 1965, was the first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. There was over a year’s time lag between the PP&M recording and Lightfoot’s recording and its release. The Grateful Dead also recorded the song in 1965.”

Four Strong Winds

Written by Ian Tyson and first recorded by Ian & Sylvia (1963).
Also recorded by The Kingston Trio (1963).
Hit versions by Bobby Bare (C&W #3 1965), Neil Young (US #61/UK #57 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Four Strong Winds’ was written by Canadian songwriter Ian Tyson and first recorded by Tyson and his folk singing partner, Sylvia Fricker. Released as a single in September 1963, preceding the Four Strong Winds album release in April 1964. the song did not generate any chart momentum. It was then recorded by The Brothers Four in a version that ‘bubbled under’ the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1963.

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