Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jennifer Warnes

Right Time of the Night

Written and first recorded by Peter McCann (B-side 1976).
Hit version by Jennifer Warnes (US #6/MOR #1/C&W #17 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Right Time of the Night’ had been recorded by its composer Peter McCann for his 1976 self-titled album, and served as B-side for his own 1977 Top Ten hit ‘Do You Wanna Make Love’.
When it came time for Jennifer Warnes to record material for her 1977 self-titled album, Jennifer Warnes, ‘Right Time of the Night’ was not among the original tracks recorded. Arista president Clive Davis later told Billboard: ‘If a [singer such as] Jennifer Warnes submits an album which is great but lacks a hit single, I and my A&R staff will say: ‘Listen, you need a hit. Because you’re not really going to break off FM airplay’ … So we gave her ‘Right Time of the Night’.’ Prior to the release of Warnes’ version of ‘Right Time of the Night’, Bette Midler had expressed an interest in recording the song but asked that the song bridge be reworked, a stipulation McCann was still working on when Warnes’ version reached the charts at which point work on a Midler version was dropped.

Easy to be Hard

First recorded by the Original Off-Broadway Cast of Hair (1967).
Also recorded by Jennifer Warnes (US #128 1969).
Hit version by Three Dog Night (US #4/CAN #2 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Easy to Be Hard’ was written by Galt MacDermot, James Rado, and Gerome Ragni, and was first performed by in the original Off-Broadway stage production of Hair in 1967. In 1968, Jennifer Warnes (performing as ‘Jennifer Warren’) portrayed the female lead in the Los Angeles production of Hair. Coincidental to that, she recorded a version of ‘Easy to be Hard’ in 1969 for release in the UK (along with another song property from Hair, ‘Let the Sunshine In’). The American label Parrot licensed the recording for distribution in the US.

“Three Dog Night also released ‘Easy to be Hard’ in 1969, with their recording reaching the US Top 5.”

Chelsea Morning

First recorded by Dave Van Ronk & The Hudson Dusters (1967).
Also recorded by Fairport Convention (1968), Joni Mitchell (1969).
Hit versions by Judy Collins (US #78/MOR #25 1969), Green Lyte Sunday (MOR #29 1970), Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 (MOR #21 1970).

From the wiki: “Written by Joni Mitchell, the song was inspired by Mitchell’s room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Mitchell held off recording the song until preparing her second album Clouds (1969), partly because ‘Chelsea Morning’ had already been recorded by other artists.

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