First recorded by Evie Sands (US #114 1965).
First released by Jackie Ross (1965).
Hit versions by Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles (US #89/R&B #36 1966), Vanilla Fudge (US #38 1968).
From the wiki: “In 1965, Evie Sands began her lasting collaboration with the producer/composers Chip Taylor (‘Wild Thing‘, ‘Angel of the Morning‘) and Al Gorgoni with the release of the single ‘Take Me For a Little While’ (written by Trade Martin).
“But, prior to its release, a test pressing of Sands’ recording was stolen by a Chicago-based producer, shopping it to established Chess Records recording artist Jackie Ross who was coming off the major Pop-Soul hit ‘Selfish One’. Ross – who was unaware of the duplicity involved, and who left Chess shortly afterwards – and her producers loved the song, and recorded, pressed and released the record within 48 hours, beating Sands’ version to the street by a week. The ensuing battle between the two versions killed whatever chance either single had to chart nationwide – even though as part of the settlement the Ross recording was withdrawn from distribution – and the subsequent legal struggle set-back Sands’ career before it even had a chance to get started.
“Sands’ follow-up single, ‘I Can’t Let Go‘, was lost amidst the post ‘Take Me’ chaos, leaving Brit invaders The Hollies clear to score a hit cover in the spring of 1966.
First released by The Larry Clinton Orchestra feat. Bea Wain (US #10 1939).
Other hit versions by The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1939), Judy Garland (US #5 1939), Bob Crosby & His Orchestra (US #2 1939), The Demensions (US #16 1960), Patti LaBelle & The Bluebells (R&B #20 1966), Eva Cassidy (UK #42 2001), Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (US #22 2002).
From the wiki: “‘Over the Rainbow’ (often referred to as ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, with music by Harold Arlen (‘Stormy Weather‘, ‘Blues in the Night‘) and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. Arlen came up with the melody while sitting in his car in front of the original Schwab’s Drug Store in Hollywood. Harburg hated it at first because he thought the tempo was too slow. After Arlen consulted with his friend, Ira Gershwin, he sped up the tempo and Harburg came up with the lyrics. A lot of effort went into the first line. Ideas that didn’t make the cut included ‘I’ll go over the rainbow’ and ‘Someday over the rainbow’.
First recorded by Eleventh Hour (1974).
Hit versions by LaBelle (US #1/R&B #1/UK #17/CAN #1/ITA #8/NETH #1 1974); All Saints (UK #1/SCOT #2 1998); Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, & Pink (US #1/R&B #1/UK #1/CAN #17/AUS #1/NZ #1/GER #1 2001).
From the wiki: “‘Lady Marmalade’ is a song written by Bob Crewe (‘Silhouettes‘, ‘Silence is Golden‘, ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore‘, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’) and Kenny Nolan (‘My Eyes Adored You’, ‘I Like Dreamin”), inspired by Crewe’s first-hand observations of New Orleans and made famous for its sexually suggestive chorus of ‘Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?’ (‘Do you want to go to bed with me (tonight)?’).
“After it was first recorded as a demo by The Eleventh Hour, a group made up of studio musicians, fronted by co-writer Nolan on vocals, ‘Lady Marmalade’ was first released in 1974 as a track on the Eleventh Hour’s Greatest Hits LP which did not chart. Meanwhile, co-writer Crewe showed the song to Allen Toussaint in New Orleans; Toussaint then decided to record the song with Labelle, whose label (Epic Records) had hired him to produce their label debut, Nightbirds.
Originally recorded by The Royalettes (US #41/R&B #28 1965).
Also recorded by Laura Nyro & LaBelle (1971).
Other hit version by Deniece Williams (US #10/R&B #1 1982).
From the wiki: ‘It’s Gonna Take a Miracle’ is a popular song written by Teddy Randazzo (‘Goin’ Out of My Head’, ‘Hurt So Bad‘), Bob Weinstein, and Lou Stallman. It was first an R&B hit in 1965 for The Royalettes, who peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart but reached the R&B Top-30. In 1971, Laura Nyro covered the song for her album, Gonna Take a Miracle, with background vocals performed by LaBelle.
“The most successful version of the song was the 1982 remake by R&B and gospel artist Deniece Williams. Her version went to #1 on the R&B chart for two weeks and also peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.”
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