Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Isley Brothers

Love is a Wonderful Thing

Based on “Love is a Wonderful Thing” written and first recorded by The Isley Brothers (US #106 1964).
Hit version by Michael Bolton (US #4/MOR #1/UK #23 1991).

From the wiki: “In 1964, the Isley Brothers recorded a song titled ‘Love Is a Wonderful Thing’. Not included on an Isley Brothers album until years later, the song was first released as a single in 1966 with minimal chart impact. Michael Bolton’s song ‘Love is a Wonderful Thing’ contained similarities to the Isleys’ song that exceeded the title: in 1994, a jury found songwriters Bolton and Andrew Goldmark liable for copyright infringement due to multiple similarities between the two songs. The pair were ordered to pay the Isleys all profits earned from the Bolton single plus 28% of the album profits.”

Nobody But Me

First recorded by The Isley Brothers (US #106 1962).
Hit version by The Human Beinz (US #8 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Nobody but Me’ was written by O’Kelly, Rudolph, and Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers and first recorded by The Isley Brothers. Released in 1962, as the second single follow-up to ‘Twist and Shout‘, it failed to make the Top 40 or R&B charts. The most commercially successful and widely-known version to date is the 1968 US Top 10 garage rock hit by The Human Beinz, their only chart success. Dave Marsh, in his Book of Rock Lists named the version by the Human Beinz ‘The most negative song to hit the Top 40,’ noting that the word ‘no’ is sung over 100 times in a mere 2:16. Marsh also counts the word ‘nobody’ 46 times more.”

Make It Easy On Yourself

First commercial release (as “Are You Lonely By Yourself”) by The Isley Brothers (1962).
Hit versions by Jerry Butler (US #20/R&B #18 1962), Walker Brothers (US #16/UK #1 1965), Dionne Warwick (US #37/MOR #2/R&B #26 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was first recorded for commercial release by the Isley Brothers. Much to Bacharach’s chagrin, the Brothers messed with the lyrics (turning it into ‘Are You Lonely By Yourself’) and he objected to the release of their version. (The Isley recording remained unreleased until 2001.) Instead, to fill out the time remaining of their studio session, the Isley Brothers recorded ‘Twist and Shout‘.

(Who’s) That Lady

First recorded (as “Who’s That Lady?”) by The Isley Brothers (1964).
Hit version by The Isley Brothers (US #6/R&B #2/UK #14 1973).

From the wiki: “‘That Lady’ was a 1973 R&B and Soul hit song for The Isley Brothers (‘Twist and Shout‘), originally performed by the group nearly a decade before in 1964 inspired by The Impressions. Jimi Hendrix toured as a guitarist with the Isley Brothers in 1964 (and the band also employed Elton John on piano for their 1964 UK tour) and Hendrix’s influence was demonstrated on the 1973 re-recording of ‘That Lady’ with Ernie Isley’s guitar playing.

Twist and Shout

First recorded (as “Shake It Up, Babe”) by The Top Notes (1961).
Hit versions by The Isley Brothers (US #17/R&B #2 1962), The Beatles (US #2/UK #1 1963).

From the wiki: “In 1961, a year after Phil Spector became a staff producer at Atlantic Records, he was asked to produce a single by an up-and-coming Philadelphia vocal group, the Top Notes (sometimes named ‘Topnotes’): ‘Shake It Up, Babe.’ This was before Spector perfected his ‘Wall of Sound’ technique, and the recording lacked all of the energy the group exhibited in its live performances.

That’s the Way Love Is

Originally recorded by The Isley Brothers (US #125 1967).
Hit version by Marvin Gaye (US #7/R&B #2 1969).

From the wiki: “Co-writer Norman Whitfield produced both recording sessions for Motown, taking his up-tempo Isley Brothers arrangement and turning it into a slowed-down psychedelic Soul opus for Marvin Gaye.”

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