Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Marlena Shaw

Go Away Little Girl

First recorded by Bobby Vee (1962).
Hit versions by Steve Lawrence (US #1/R&B #14 1962), Maryk Wynter (UK #6 1962), The Happenings (US #12 1965), Donny Osmond (US #1 1971).
Also recorded (as “Yu-Ma/Go Away Little Boy”) by Marlena Shaw (R&B #29 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Go Away Little Girl’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and was first recorded in 1962 by Bobby Vee. The song would go on to become notable for making the American Top-20 three times: for Steve Lawrence in 1962, for The Happenings in 1966, and for Donny Osmond in 1971. ‘Go Away Little Girl’ was also the first song, and one of only nine total, to reach US #1 by two different artists (Lawrence, in 1962; and Osmond, in 1971). The original recording by Vee was cut during same session as ‘It Might As Well Rain Until September’ and ‘Sharing You’. Not satisfied with the result, the song was shelved until producer Don Kirshner passed the song along to his good friend, Steve Lawrence.

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

First recorded by The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (US #11 1966).
Other hit versions by Larry Williams & Johnny “Guitar” Watson (US #96/R&B #23 1967), Marlena Shaw (US #58/R&B #33 1967), The Buckinghams (US #5 1967).
Also recorded by The Buddy Rich Big Band (1968).

From the wiki: “‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ is a song written by Joe Zawinul in 1966 for Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley and his album Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at ‘The Club’. The song is the title track of the album and became a surprise hit, reaching #11 on the Billboard charts in Feb. 1967. The song has been re-recorded numerous times, most notably by The Buckinghams who reached # 5 in August 1967, adding lyrics to the tune.

“The theme of the song on the original recording is performed by Joe Zawinul himself playing it on a Wurlitzer electric piano previously used by Ray Charles. ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” was also recorded by the Mauds in 1967, with lyrics to the original instrumental written by Curtis Mayfield. It is this arrangement that The Buckinghams released in June, 1967 which peaked in the US Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100. It followed earlier vocal recordings by Larry Williams & Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson (released February, 1967) and Marlena Shaw (released March, 1967).

“A live recording of the ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ was featured on the 1968 Buddy Rich Big Band album, Mercy, Mercy, recorded at Caesars Palace in 1968. The album received acclaim as the ‘finest all-round recording by Buddy Rich’s big band.'”

California Soul

First recorded by The Messengers (1967).
Hit versions by The 5th Dimension (US #25/R&B #49 1969), Marlena Shaw (1969 |UK #157 2008), Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (US #56 1970), Riot Act (UK #59 2005).
Also recorded by Edwin Starr (1970), The Undisputed Truth (1971).

From the wiki: “‘California Soul’ was a Pop-Soul song written by Nick Ashford & Valeria Simpson and first recorded in 1967 by Motown’s Monkees-inspired group, The Messengers, released as the B-side of the group’s ‘Window Shopping’ single. It would also be covered in 1967 by Motown superstars Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – one of Tammi’s final recordings before being diagnosed with brain cancer – but would go unreleased until 1970 when it became the celebrated duo’s final single, released following Tammi’s death in March 1970.

“‘California Soul’ first charted as a single recorded in late 1968 by The 5th Dimension. UK singer Marlena Shaw covered the song the following year for her album Spice of Life. Shaw’s version originally was not released as a single in the US but became a staple of the UK Northern Soul scene. Following its use in a TV advert in 2008, the song’s re-release became Shaw’s best-known recording in the UK. UK group Riot Act charted in 2005 with their recording of ‘California Soul’. Apart from The Messengers and Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell, other Motown recording artists who also recorded covers of ‘California Soul’ included Edwin Starr, in 1970; and The Undisputed Truth, in 1971. ”

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