Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Lesley Gore

Wedding Bell Blues

Written and first recorded by Laura Nyro (US #103 1966).
Also recorded by Lesley Gore (1969).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #1/R&B #23/UK #16/CAN #3 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Wedding Bell Blues’ was written and first recorded by Laura Nyro in 1966 that would go to become a #1 hit for The 5th Dimension in 1969 and, subsequently, a popular phrase in American culture.

“Nyro wrote ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ at the age of 18 as a ‘mini-suite’, conveying the dual themes of adoring love and frustrated lament, and featuring several dramatic rhythmic changes.

“When Nyro first recorded ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ in 1966, she had arranged it in a spare, almost demo-like form*, intending this version to be a part of what would become her More Than a New Discovery album. However, producer Herb Bernstein would not allow Nyro use the arrangement, which ultimately led to her to more or less disown the entire album. What was recorded and released was fairly similar in content and arrangement to the later, much more familiar, 5th Dimension version, albeit with a somewhat more soulful vocal line. Nyro’s album arrangement was released as a Verve/Folkways single in September 1966 but did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining instead ‘bubbling under’ the Hot 100 – peaking at #103.

It’s My Party

First recorded by Helen Shapiro (February 1963).
Also recorded by The Crystals (unreleased 1963), The Paris Sisters (1966), Amy Winehouse (2010).
Hit version by Lesley Gore (US #1/R&B #1/UK #9/AUS #1 March 1963), Lill-Babs (SWE #5 1963).

From the wiki: “The first recording of the song was by Helen Shapiro for her Helen in Nashville album recorded in February 1963 with Shapiro’s regular producer Norrie Paramor, and Al Kasha. Shapiro would recall: ‘Right from the first time we heard the song on the rough demo back in London, we thought we were going to sock them between the eyes with that one’; however Shapiro’s version was not one of the cuts chosen as an advance single from the album … so, by the time of the album’s release in the UK that October (and the album’s first single, ‘Woe is Me’, in the US in May 1963), Shapiro’s ‘It’s My Party’ recording was perceived as a cover of Lesley Gore’s hit single even though Shapiro’s version was the first recorded.

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