Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Luther Vandross

Endless Love

First performed by Shea Chambers (1981).
Hit versions by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie (US #1/MOR #1/R&B #1/UK #7 1981), Mariah Carey & Luther Vandross (US #2/R&B #7/CAN #6/UK #3/IRE #4/AUS #2 1994).

From the wiki: “‘Endless Love’ was written by Lionel Richie, and was first performed in the 1981 movie Endless Love by Shea Chambers (lip-synced by uncredited actress in a singing role) but whose vocal did not appear on the subsequent soundtrack album. The song was then recorded as a duet by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, and was released as the single from the soundtrack album; released while Richie still officially was a member of The Commodores. The success of the duet encouraged Richie to branch out into a full-fledged, and very successful, solo career.

“The Ross/Richie duet became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and nearly 30 years after its release it still remains the best-selling single of Ross’ career. The single stayed at #1 for no less than nine weeks from August 9 to October 10, 1981, making it the biggest-selling single of the year in the US. It also topped the Billboard R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart as well as becoming a Top ten hit single in the UK, peaking at #7.

Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)

Co-written and first recorded by Stevie Wonder (1967, released 1977).
Hit versions by Aretha Franklin (US #3/R&B #1 1973 |UK #24 1974), Luther Vandross (US #87/R&B #5 1984), Basia (US #33 1989), Miki Howard (R&B #3/UK #67 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)’ was written by Morris Broadnax, Clarence Paul, and Stevie Wonder. The song was originally recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1967, but it was not released until appearing on the 1977 anthology album Looking Back.

“Wonder played Aretha Franklin the song in 1973, and she knew how to ‘take’ someone else’s song (as she had already done with Otis Redding’s ‘Respect‘). Produced by Franklin, Arif Mardin and Jerry Wexler, ‘Until You Come Back’ became Franklin’s second-highest charting Pop song of the ’70s. When her recording reached its highest position at #3, Franklin became the first artist to record singles that peaked at each of #s 1-10 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Marvin Gaye became the first male artist to achieve the ‘occupy-all-10’ when ‘Sexual Healing’ reached #3 in 1982.)

“Other popular recordings of ‘Until You Come Back to Me’ include the Luther Vandross medley of ‘Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me’ (1984), Basia’s 1989 recording for her second album, London Warsaw New York, and Miki Howard’s cover in 1990.”

Any Day Now

First recorded (as “Lover”) by Tommy Hunt (1961).
Hit versions by (as “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)”) by Chuck Johnson (US #23/R&B #2 1962), Elvis Presley (B-side US #4 1969), Ronnie Milsap (US #14/C&W #1/CAN #1 1982), Luther Vandross (2001).
Also recorded by Alan Price (1965), Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (1966).

From the wiki: “‘Any Day Now’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard in 1961. Co-writer Bacharach (‘Alfie‘,’Make It Easy On Yourself‘,’Message to Michael‘) had orchestrated and recorded the song’s backing track a year before presenting it to Chuck Jackson, formerly of the Del Vikings (‘Come Go With Me‘). In the interim, producer Luther Dixon made use of the same backing track to record the first released version of the song with Tommy Hunt (‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, The Flamingos), titled ‘Lover’, using completely different lyrics. Hunt’s recording was a commercial flop. But, parts of Hunt’s original singing are still audible at the end of Chuck Jackson’s hit version. (Hunt is the only person to have his photograph framed twice in the Apollo foyer, both with the Flamingos and as a solo artist.)

Superstar

Co-written and first recorded (as “Groupie (Superstar)”) by Delaney & Bonnie (1969).
Also recorded by Rita Coolidge (1970), Bette Midler (1970 |1972).
Hit versions by The Carpenters (US #2/CAN #3/JPN #7 1971), Luther Vandross (US #87/R&B #5 1983).

From the wiki: “Accounts of the song’s origin vary somewhat, but it grew out of the late 1969-early 1970 nexus of English and American musicians known as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, involving Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and various others. The song’s working title during portions of its development was ‘Groupie Song’. In its first recorded incarnation, the song was titled ‘Groupie (Superstar)’, and was recorded and released as a B-side to the Delaney & Bonnie single ‘Comin’ Home’ in December 1969.

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