Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels

What Now My Love

First recorded in English by Jane Morgan (1961).
Hit versions by Shirley Bassey (UK #5 1962), Sonny & Cher (US #14/UK #12 1966), Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (US #24/MOR #2 1966), Mitch Ryder (US #30 1967).
Also performed by Elvis Presley (1973).

From the wiki: “‘What Now, My Love?’ is the English title of a popular song whose original French version, ‘Et maintenant’ (English: ‘And Now’) was written in 1961 by composer Gilbert Bécaud (co-writer, ‘September Morn‘) and lyricist Pierre Delanoë. Bécaud’s original version of this song topped French chart in 1961.

“English lyrics and the title were written by Carl Sigman, and were first recorded in 1961 by Jane Morgan. The English-language covers use the melody of Bécaud but with a different lyrical imagery (e.g., ‘There’s the sky where the sea should be’), which are different from the more deeply dark French original (e.g., ‘Towards what nothingness / Will my life slip away?).

Any Day Now

First recorded (as “Lover”) by Tommy Hunt (unreleased 1961).
Hit versions by (as “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)”) by Chuck Jackson (US #23/R&B #2 1962), Elvis Presley (B-side US #3 1969), Ronnie Milsap (US #14/C&W #1/CAN #1 1982), Luther Vandross (2001).
Also recorded by Alan Price Set (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 arrangement of the song with former Flamingos singer Tommy Hunt (‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, The Flamingos; ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself‘), titled ‘Lover’, using a set of completely different, and uncredited, lyrics. Hunt’s 1961 recording, believed to have been recorded within days of his leaving the Flamingos, went unreleased by Stardust Records (backed with another unreleased track, Big Maybelle’s ‘How Do You Feel Now’).

“When it came time to record Jackson, parts of Hunt’s original singing were still audible at the end of Jackson’s hit version.

Devil with the Blue Dress

Co-written and originally recorded by Shorty Long (1964).
Hit version (as “Devil with the Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly”) by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (US #4 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Devil with the Blue Dress On’ (also known as ‘Devil with a Blue Dress On’) was a song written by Shorty Long and William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson, first performed by Long (as a slow jam) and released as Shorty Long’s debut single on Motown in 1964 but the single failed to chart. Two years later, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels covered the song as a medley with a cover of Little Richard’s ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’. The Wheels’ version was notably more up-tempo than Long’s more blues-influenced rendition. Reaching #4 on the Hot 100, the Wheels’ track would end up becoming the group’s most well-known and highest-charting hit in the United States.

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