Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Kenny Rankin

A Sunday Kind of Love

First recorded by Fran Warren w. Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra (1946).
Hit versions by Jo Stafford (US #15 1947), Jan & Dean (US #95 1962), Lenny Welch (US #96/MOR #21 1972), Kenny Rankin (MOR #28 1976), Reba McEntire (C&W #5 1988).
Also recorded by Louis Prima (1947), The Harptones (1953), Etta James (1961).

From the wiki: “‘A Sunday Kind of Love’ was composed by Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes, and Louis Prima, and first recorded in 1946 by Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra. It became the signature-song for his vocalist, Fran Warren. Jo Stafford had the first charted recording of ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’, in 1947.

“Influential Doo-wop group, The Harptones, recorded ‘Sunday’ in 1953. Their arrangement would influence subsequent popular recordings of the song including versions by Etta James, Lenny Welch and Kenny Rankin.”

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

First recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1968).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1968).
Also recorded by Kenny Rankin (1976), Jeff Healey (1990), Jake Shimabukuro (2004), Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne (2004).

From the wiki: “Inspiration for the song came to Geroge Harrison when reading the I Ching, which, as Harrison put it, ‘seemed to me to be based on the Eastern concept that everything is relative to everything else… opposed to the Western view that things are merely coincidental.’ Taking this idea of relativism to his parents’ home in northern England, Harrison committed to write a song based on the first words he saw upon opening a random book. Those words were ‘gently weeps’, and he immediately began writing the song.

Peaceful

Written and first recorded by Kenny Rankin (1967).
Also recorded by Bobbie Gentry (1968), The Friends of Distinction (1969).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame (UK #16 1969), Helen Reddy (US #12/MOR #2 1973).

[Above: Live solo TV performance, c. 1968.]

From the wiki: “Early in his career Rankin worked as a singer-songwriter, and developed a considerable following during the 70s with a steady flow of albums, three of which broke into the Top 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. He appeared on The Tonight Show more than twenty times. Host Johnny Carson was so impressed by him that he wrote the liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut album Mind Dusters, which featured the single ‘Peaceful.’ Kenny’s friend Helen Reddy would reach #2 Adult Contemporary and #12 Pop in 1973 with a cover of it. Earlier covers were recorded by Bobby Gentry and The Friends of Distinction. Georgia Fame (‘Yeh Yeh’) was the first artist to chart with ‘Peaceful’, in the UK in 1969.”

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