Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Linda Ronstadt

Love Has No Pride

First recorded by Bonnie Raitt (1972).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #51/MOR #23 1973).
Also recorded by Libby Titus, co-writer (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Love Has No Pride’ was written by Eric Kaz and Libby Titus, and was first recorded in 1972 by Bonnie Raitt for her album Give It Up of which critic Dave Marsh wrote ‘[it comes] closest to perfecting her approach. She [mingles] her blues resources with a variety of contemporary and folk-oriented songs, coming up with classics in ‘Been Too Long at the Fair’ and Eric Kaz’s ‘Love Has No Pride.’ Her version of the latter remains definitive …’

“Linda Ronstadt covered ‘Love Has No Pride’ for her 1973 album Don’t Cry Now. Her recording was released as the album’s first single. It peaked at #51 on the Billboard Hot 100, but has song has endured over the years to be remembered as one of Ronstadt’s signature songs.”

Willin’

First recorded by Johnny Darrell (1970).
Also recorded by The Byrds (1970, released 2000), Seatrain (1970).
Album hit versions by Little Feat (1971 |1972 |1978), Linda Ronstadt (1974).

From the wiki: ‘Willin” was written by Lowell George, of Little Feat, but first recorded in the spring of 1970 by Johnny Darrell for his album California Stop-Over. The song is about a truck driver in the American southwest who makes some extra cash smuggling cigarettes and transporting illegals across the border from Mexico. George’s opening line, in which the narrator describes himself as being ‘warped by the rain,’ originated in a conversation between George and drummer Richie Hayward. Hayward had used it to describe a rocking chair. Prior to forming Little Feat, George was a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. It is probable that this song was a reason for his departure, due to its drug references in the chorus. It is known that his leaving had something to do with his drug use, which Zappa heavily frowned upon.

Back on the Street Again

First recorded by Steve Gillette (1967).
Also recorded by The Stone Poneys (1967).
Hit version by The Sunshine Company (US #36 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Back on the Street Again’ was written by Steve Gillette and first recorded by him for his own debut eponymous album released in 1967. Later the same year, Gillette would record a cover of his own song as a member of The Stone Poneys, singing harmony to Linda Ronstadt’s lead on the group’s debut album which yielded the hit single, ‘Different Drum‘. The Sunshine Company (‘Up, Up and Away‘) would also record the song in 1967 and with it achieve the group’s biggest chart success with their only US Top 40 hit.”

Perfidia

First recorded by Lupita Palomera with Lira de San Cristobal (1937).
Hit versions by Xavier Cugat & His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra (US #3 1941), The Four Aces (US #7 1952), The Ventures (US #15/UK #4 1960).
Also recorded by The Glenn Miller Orchestra (1941), Linda Ronstadt (1992).

From the wiki: “‘Perfidia’ (Spanish for ‘perfidy’, as in faithlessness, treachery or betrayal) was written by Alberto Domínguez about love and betrayal, and first recorded (in Spanish) in 1937 by Lupita Palomera. Other hit versions were recorded by The Four Aces (1952) and The Ventures (1960).

“Linda Ronstadt’s 1992 recording of the song in English with a Spanish introduction was used in the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings. Ronstadt also recorded the song in Spanish for her 1992 album Frenesí. At the 9th Lo Nuestro Awards, in 1993, her español version received a nomination for Tropical Song of the Year.

Silver Threads and Golden Needles

First recorded by Wanda Jackson (B-side 1956).
Hit versions by The Springfields (US #20/C&W #16 1962), Linda Ronstadt (1969 |US #68/C&W #20 1974).

From the wiki: “‘Silver Threads and Golden Needles’ was written by Jack Rhodes and Dick Reynolds. The song was first recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1956, and was released as the B-side to the single ‘Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad’ which did not chart.

“The Springfields (featuring a pre-solo Dusty Springfield) released ‘Silver Threads’ as their third UK single but it flopped in their home country. But, released as their first US single in 1962, it became a Stateside hit; their only appearance in the US Top 40, and the first single of UK-origin to crack the US Top-20.

“Linda Ronstadt recorded and released two versions of the song: the first, on her 1969 solo debut album Hand Sown … Home Grown; the second, a Country-Pop crossover version for her 1973 Don’t Cry Now album. The latter resulted in a Country Top-20 hit while also charting in the Billboard Hot 100.”

It’s So Easy!

First recorded by The Crickets (1958).
Also recorded by Bobby Vee (1963), The Trashmen (1963), Waylon Jennings (1969).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #5/UK #11/CAN #9 1977).

From the wiki: “‘It’s So Easy!'” was written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, and first released as a single by Holly under the moniker of his band, The Crickets. The single did not chart. Bobby Vee, The Trashmen (‘Surfin’ Bird’), and Waylon Jennings were among the several performers who recorded cover versions of the song before Linda Ronstadt’s 1977 Peter Asher-produced Top-5 recording.”

Some of Shelly’s Blues

First recorded by The Monkees (1968, released 1990).
Hit version by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (US #64/CAN #56 1972).
Also recorded by The Stone Poneys (1968), Michael Nesmith (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Some of Shelly’s Blues’ was written by Michael Nesmith, of The Monkees, and first recorded by the group in 1968. The recording went unreleased until the 1990 publishing of Missing Links 2.

“The Stone Poneys (feat. Linda Ronstadt), who had earlier covered ‘Different Drum‘ by Nesmith in 1967, were the first to cover ‘Some of Shelley’s Blues’, in 1968. It was a non-charting single from the group’s third album, Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III.

“The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band charted in 1972 with their cover. Songwriter Nesmith also recorded a version for his 1973 album, Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash.”

Just One Look

First released (as a B-side) by Andy & The Marglows (1963).
Hit versions by co-writer Doris Troy (US #10/R&B #3 1963), The Hollies (US #98/UK #2 1964 |US #44 1967), Faith Hope & Charity (UK #38 1976), Linda Ronstadt (US #44/MOR #4 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Just One Look’ was written by Doris Troy and Gregory Carroll. Troy, then going by her pen name Doris Payne, recorded a studio demo of the song and began to shop the song around to studios, first to Sue Records, but their lack of response led Troy to instead offer the song to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records. Unbeknownst to Troy, Atlantic would release her demo, unchanged, as a single.

When Will I Be Loved

Written and originally recorded by The Everly Brothers (US #7 1960).
Other hit versions by Johnny Young & Kompany (AUS #3 1967), Linda Ronstadt (US #2 1975).
Also recorded by Sandy Denny (1972).

From the wiki: “‘When Will I Be Loved’ was written by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers and was a #8 hit single for the duo in the summer of 1960. The track had been recorded in 1959 while the Everly Brothers were contracted to Cadence Records; by 1960 they had moved to Warner Brothers and were recording in a more mainstream pop/rock style than previously. The belated release by Cadence of ‘When Will I Be Loved’ provided the Everly Brothers with a final rockabilly-style hit.

Hasten Down the Wind

Written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (1976).
Hit album version by Linda Ronstadt (1976).

From the wiki: “‘Hasten Down the Wind’ is a song written and recorded by Warren Zevon and featured on his eponymous major-label debut album. The track was produced by Jackson Browne, who met Zevon in the mid-seventies. Their relationship played a significant role in Zevon’s career thereafter. It was with Browne’s assistance that Zevon got a major record contract. Zevon’s version of the song features Phil Everly singing harmony vocals, and also David Lindley playing slide guitar.

I’m Leaving It (All) Up to You

Written and first recorded (as “Leavin’ It All Up to You”) by Don & Dewey (1957).
Hit versions by Dale & Grace (US #1 1963), Donny & Marie (US #4 1974).
Also recorded by Linda Ronstadt (1970).

From the wiki: “‘I’m Leaving It All Up to You’ was written and first recorded by the Rock ‘n’ roll and Doo-wop duo Don & Dewey in 1957. Don & Dewey were Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris and Dewey Terry, both of Pasadena, California. Both Don and Dewey played guitar, with Dewey often doubling on keyboards. When not playing guitar or bass, Don occasionally played the electric violin, a skill for which he subsequently became well known under the name of ‘Sugarcane’ Harris. ‘Wrecking Crew’ drummer Earl Palmer played frequently on their sessions. (In 1970, Harris re-emerged from semi-retirement to a wider rock audience, playing violin on the Hot Rats solo album by Frank Zappa, with Captain Beefheart (vocals) on ‘Willie The Pimp’ and on the lengthy instrumental jam, ‘The Gumbo Variations’. Harris went on to play on many more solo Zappa, and The Mothers of Invention albums.

“Although Don & Dewey did not have any hits of their own, several of the songs that they wrote and/or recorded would appear on the charts later, performed by other artists. Most famously, ‘I’m Leaving It Up to You’ became a #1 hit for Dale & Grace in 1963. It was the #1 song when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in November 1963. Dale & Grace were in Dallas on the day of the assassination and were scheduled to perform that night as part of Dick Clark’s ‘Caravan of Stars’ (with Bobby Rydell, Jimmy Clanton, and Brian Hyland), and just moments before the assassination had waved to the president’s passing motorcade from a vantage point near their hotel.”

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (1976).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #31/C&W #46/CAN #9 1977), Terri Clark (C&W #5/CAN #1 1996).

From the wiki: “‘Poor Poor Pitiful Me’ was written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (with backing vocals by Lindsey Buckingham). In keeping with Zevon’s sardonic lyrical style, the song’s verses deal with a failed suicide, domestic abuse, and a brush with sadomasochism. (It is reputed to be a friendly swipe at Jackson Browne, whose songs (such as ‘Here Come Those Tears Again'” and ‘Sleeps Dark and Silent Gate’) could be quite dark.

Love is a Rose

Written and first recorded by Neil Young (1974, released 1977).
Inspired by “Dance Dance Dance” Neil Young (1971, released 2007).
“Dance Dance Dance” also recorded by Crazy Horse (1971), The New Seekers (US #84 1972).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #63/C&W #5 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Love Is a Rose’ was written by Neil Young in 1974 for the unreleased album Homegrown. It was later released in 1977 on his compilation Decade album. The melody for ‘Love Is a Rose’ was taken from yet another previously unreleased Neil Young song ‘Dance Dance Dance’, written in 1971, which finally saw release in 2007 on the Live at Massey Hall album. Young’s longtime backing band Crazy Horse also recorded ‘Dance Dance Dance’ in 1971 on their album Crazy Horse, and The New Seekers released ‘Dance Dance Dance’ as a single in 1972, a version that peaked at #84 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Someone to Watch Over Me

First recorded by Gertrude Lawrence (US #2 1926).
Also recorded by Margaret Whiting (1944).
Hit versions by George Gershwin (US #13 1926), George Olsen & His Orchestra (US #3 1927) Frank Sinatra (UK #13 1954), Linda Ronstadt (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ was composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin for the musical Oh, Kay! (1926). George Gershwin originally approached the song as an uptempo jazz tune, but his brother Ira suggested that it might work much better as a ballad, and George ultimately agreed.

Different Drum

Originally recorded by The Greenbriar Boys (1966).
Hit version by The Stone Poneys (US #13 1967).
Also recorded by Michael Nesmith, composer (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Different Drum’ is a classic song written by Mike Nesmith in 1965 (also copyrighted that year) and originally recorded by the northern bluegrass band the Greenbriar Boys and included on their 1966 album, Better Late than Never!. The song reached a wider audience when Nesmith rushed through a version of it in a comedy bit while pretending to be Billy Roy Hodstetter, in The Monkees television show episode “Too Many Girls”, which aired in December 1966.

Handbags and Gladrags

Originally recorded by Chris Farlowe (UK #33 1967).
Also recorded by Mike d’Abo, composer (1970), Kate Taylor (1971).
Other hit versions by Chase (US #84 1971), Rod Stewart (1969 |US #42 1972), Big George (2000), Stereophonics (UK #4/IRE #3 2001).

From the wiki: “‘Handbags and Gladrags’ was written by Mike d’Abo (Manfred Mann). In November 1967, singer Chris Farlowe was the first to release a version of the song, produced by d’Abo. It became a #33 hit in the United Kingdom for Farlowe from the album The Last Goodbye. In 1969, Rod Stewart recorded a version for his album An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down.

Don’t Know Much

Co-written and originally recorded by Barry Mann (1980).
Also recorded by Bill Medley (US #88 1981), Bette Midler (MOR #5 1982).
Other hit version by Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville (US #2/UK #2/CAN #1 1989).

From the wiki: “Written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Tom Snow, ‘Don’t Know Much’ had a rich history prior to its success in 1989. It first appeared on Mann’s self-titled 1980 album, released on Casablanca Records. Bill Medley and Bette Midler (under the title ‘All I Need to Know’) then had minor chart successes with the song in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

All My Life

Written and first recorded by Karla Bonoff (1988).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville (US #11/MOR #1 1990).

From the wiki: “‘All My Life’ is a song written by Karla Bonoff and first recorded by for the 1988 album New World. In 1989, it would be recorded as a duet by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville for Ronstadt’s Triple Platinum-certified 1989 album Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind, and released as a single in January 1990. It marked the second collaboration between Ronstadt and Neville, and ‘All My Life’ was one of three Bonoff-composed songs Ronstadt recorded for the album.

You’re No Good

Originally recorded by Dee Dee Warwick (US #117 1963).
Hit versions by Betty Everett (US #51/R&B #5 1963), The Swinging Blue Jeans (US #93/UK #3 1964), Linda Ronstadt (US #1/CAN #2 1974).

From the wiki: “The original version of ‘You’re No Good’ was cut by Dee Dee Warwick for Jubilee Records in 1963 with production by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (‘Hound Dog‘, ‘Stand By Me’, ‘There Goes My Baby’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’.)

I Will Always Love You

Written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton (C&W #1 1973 |C&W #1 1982).
Also recorded by Linda Ronstadt (1975).
Hit version by Whitney Houston (US #1/MOR #1/R&B #1/UK #1/AUS #1 1992).

From the wiki: “During an interview, Parton’s manager Danny Nozel said that ‘one thing we found out from American Idol is that most people don’t know that Dolly Parton wrote [the track]’.

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