Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Merry Clayton

It’s in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)

First recorded by Merry Clayton (1963).
Also recorded by Ramona King (1963).
Hit versions by Betty Everett (US #6/R&B #1 1963 |UK #38 1968), The Searchers (1964), Bootleg Family Band (AUS #5 1974), Linda Lewis (UK #6 1975), Kate Taylor (US #49 1977), Cher (US #33/UK #1/IRE #1/SPN #1/NOR #1 1990).
Also performed by Linda Ronstadt & Phoebe Snow (1979).

From the wiki: “‘It’s in His Kiss’ was first rejected by the premier girl-group of the early 1960s, the New York-based Shirelles, and was instead first recorded in Los Angeles by Merry Clayton as her first credited single. Clayton had previously provided an uncredited female vocal to the hit ‘You’re the Reason I’m Living’ recorded by Bobby Darin as his debut on Capitol Records, and Darin had subsequently arranged for Clayton herself to be signed to Capitol. Clayton recorded ‘It’s in His Kiss’ – whose composer Rudy Clark was a staff writer for TM Music which Bobby Darin headed – in a session produced by Jack Nitzsche with The Blossoms (‘Stoney End‘, ‘He’s a Rebel‘) as chorale: the single was released June 10 1963 with no evident chart success.

Oh No Not My Baby

First recorded by The Shirelles (1964, released 2006).
Hit versions by Maxine Brown (US #24 1964), Manfred Mann (UK# 11 1964), Merry Clayton (US #71/R&B #30 1972), Rod Stewart (UK #6 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Oh No Not My Baby’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The first recorded version of the song was by The Shirelles, with the group’s members alternating leads – an approach that rendered the song unreleasable. Maxine Brown says that Stan Greenberg, Scepter Records executive, then, gave her the song with the advisement that she had to ‘find the original melody’ from the recording by The Shirelles: ‘They [had gone] so far off by each [group member] taking their own lead, no one knew any more where the real melody stood.’

“Brown recalled sitting on the porch of her one level house in Queens listening to The Shirelles’ track play on a boom box propped in a window. A group of children skipping rope on the sidewalk picked up the song’s main hook before Brown herself; hearing the children singing ‘Oh no not my baby’ as they skipped gave Brown the wherewithal to determine the song’s melody. Brown recorded her vocal over The Shirelles’ original backing track with the group’s vocals erased; Dee Dee Warwick provided the harmony vocal on the chorus.

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.

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