Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jerry Butler

A Brand New Me

First recorded by Jerry Butler (1969).
Hit version by Dusty Springfield (US #24/MOR #3 1970).

From the wiki: “Written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Jerry Butler, ‘A Brand New Me’ was first recorded by Butler in 1969. Dusty Springfield would cover the song later that year, adding it as the title track to her album A Brand New Me. It is Springfield’s only album on which every song was produced by the same production team: Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Gamble also co-wrote every track on the album, and the Gamble-Huff duo would go on to have success with many groups and singers in the 1970s, including Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The O’Jays, MFSB and The Three Degrees. The single, ‘A Brand New Me’, would be Springfield’s last Top 40 chart success until her 1987 collaborations with Pet Shop Boys (‘What Have I Done to Deserve This?’) and Richard Carpenter (‘Something in Your Eyes’).”

Moon River

First recorded by Audrey Hepburn (1961, released 1993).
Hit versions by co-writer Henry Mancini (US#11/MOR #3/UK #44 Oct 1961), Jerry Butler (US #11/MOR #3/R&B #14 Oct 1961), Danny Williams (UK #1 Nov 1961).
Also recorded by Andy Williams (1961).

From the wiki: “‘Moon River’ was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and was used as Audrey Hepburn’s theme song in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn sings the song in the movie, but the version used on the soundtrack was an instrumental by Henry Mancini and his orchestra. Mancini’s instrumental version was released as a single, the first to chart in the US and UK. Hepburn’s version, even though recorded first, was not released until after her death in 1993. It then appeared on the album Music From The Films of Audrey Hepburn.

“Although the instrumental version is played over the film’s opening titles, the lyrics are first heard in a scene where Paul ‘Fred’ Varjak (George Peppard) discovers Holly Golightly (Hepburn) singing them, accompanied by her guitar, on the fire escape outside their apartments. There was an eruption of much behind-the-scenes consternation when a Paramount Pictures executive, Martin Rackin, suggested deleting the song from the film immediately after a very successful San Francisco preview. Hepburn’s reaction was described by Mancini and others in degrees varying from her saying ‘over my dead body’ to her using somewhat more colorful language to make the same point.

Alfie

First recorded by Cilla Black (US #95/UK #9 January 1966).
Also recorded by Jerry Butler (May 1966, released December 1967), Dee Dee Warwick (May 1966, released 1967).
Other hit versions by Cher (US #32/CAN #36 June 1966), Dionne Warwick (US #15/R&B #5 December 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Alfie’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David to promote the 1966 film Alfie. Although Bacharach and David suggested ‘Alfie’ be recorded by Dionne Warwick, their most prolific interpreter, Paramount felt the film’s setting demanded the song be recorded by a UK singer. Accordingly, the initial invitation to record ‘Alfie’ was made to Sandie Shaw who had had a UK #1 hit with the Bacharach/David composition ‘(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me’. When the invitation to Shaw was declined ‘Alfie’ was offered to Cilla Black, who had also had a previous UK #1 with a Bacharach/David song: ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’.

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‘.

He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)

Co-written and first recorded (as “He Will Break Your Heart”) by Jerry Butler (US #7/R&B #1 1960).
Other hit version by Tony Orland & Dawn (US #1 1975).

From the wiki: “The song was written by Jerry Butler (‘Moon River‘), Calvin Carter, and Curtis Mayfield (who sings backup on the Butler recording). First recorded by Butler and released as a single in 1960, it peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition, Butler’s recording spent seven, non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the U.S. R&B chart.

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 B├ęcaud (‘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.

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

First recorded by Dee Dee Warwick (US #88/R&B #13 1966).
Also recorded by Jerry Butler (1967), Jay & the Techniques (1968).
Hit versions by Madeline Bell (US #26/R&B #32 1968), Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations (US #2/R&B #2/UK #3 1968).

From the wiki: “Written by Philly Soul songwriters Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff (‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, ‘Love Train’, ‘Now That We Found Love‘), and producer Jerry Ross (‘Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie‘, ‘Sunny‘), ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ was originally a Top-20 R&B hit for Dee Dee Warwick in 1966. It was released as the follow-up single to her Top-10 hit ‘I Want To Be With You’. Co-writer Ross produced the track while Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson provided background vocals. Warwick’s recording reached #13 R&B and crossed over to the Billboard Top 100 in December 1966.

Message to Michael

Originally recorded (as “Message To Martha”) by Jerry Butler (1962).
Also recorded by Marlene Dietrich (1964), Lou Johnson (as “Kentucky Bluebird” US #104 1964).
Hit versions by Adam Faith (UK #12 1964), Dionne Warwick (US #8/R&B #5/CAN #6 1966).

From the wiki: “The song was first recorded as ‘Message to Martha’ by Jerry Butler in the 1962 session in New York City which produced Butler’s hit ‘Make It Easy on Yourself’ (also written by Bacharach-David), but was not released until December 1963. Marlene Dietrich recorded a German version of the song in 1964, singing to the instrumental track of the Butler original (with augmentations); Dietrich’s version was entitled ‘Kleine Treue Nachtigall’ (‘faithful little nightingale’).

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