Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Ray Price

Heartaches by the Numbers

First recorded by Ray Price (C&W #2 1959).
Other hit version by Guy Mitchell (US #1/R&B #19/UK #5 1959).

From the wiki: “‘Heartaches by the Number’ was written by Harlan Howard and first recorded in 1959 by Ray Price (‘Make the World Go Away‘, ‘(You’re the) Best Thing That Ever Happened’). His recording was a Top 5 Country single. The most successful version was the cover recording by Guy Mitchell (‘Singing the Blues‘), also produced in 1959. Mitchell’s rendering topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in December 1959. It also was a Top 5 UK Single and a Top 20 R&B hit.”

Make the World Go Away

First recorded by Timi Yuro (US #24/CAN #11 1963).
Other hit versions by Ray Price (C&W #1 1963), Eddy Arnold (US #6/C&W #1/MOR #1 1965), Donny & Marie Osmond (US#44/MOR #31/UK #18 1975).
Also recorded by Jim Reeves (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Make the World Go Away’ was composed by Hank Cochran (‘I Fall to Pieces’) and first recorded by Timi Yuro in June, 1963. It has become a Top 40 popular success three times: for Yuro (1963), for Eddy Arnold (1965), and for the brother-sister duo Donny & Marie Osmond (1975) and topped the Country Singles chart (Ray Price, 1963). ‘Make the World Go Away’ was also recorded in July, 1964 by Jim Reeves, at his last recording session before dying in a plane crash two weeks later, for what would become the album The Jim Reeves Way.

“For Price, ‘Make the World Go Away’ was one of his first songs to feature an orchestra and female chorus, a trend that he would continue with other songs like ‘For the Good Times’. Arnold’s production was similarly recorded, the so-called ‘Nashville Sound’, an early mixture of Pop with Country music, and became one of the most popular recordings of 1960s Country music and is generally considered to be Arnold’s best-known song.”

Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)

Co-written and first recorded by Eddie Miller & His Oklahomans (1949).
Also recorded by Jimmy Heap (1954).
Hit versions by Ray Price (C&W #6 1954), Kitty Wells (C&W #8 1954), Little Esther Phillips (US #8/R&B #1 1962), Engelbert Humperdinck (US #4/UK #1/IRE #1 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Release Me’ (sometimes rendered as ‘Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)’), is a popular song written by Eddie Miller, Robert Yount, and James Pebworth (under the pseudonym ‘Dub Williams’). Miller worked as a locomotive engineer before becoming a songwriter. Although he never went beyond high school, he taught songwriting at the University of Tennessee. In 1946, Miller co-wrote what was to become his biggest hit, ‘Release Me’. At first he could not get anyone to record it, so he recorded it himself.

(You’re the) Best Thing That Ever Happened

First recorded by Danny Thomas (1973).
First single release by Ray Price (C&W #1 1973).
Also recorded by Dean Martin (1973).
Hit versions by Gladys Knight & The Pips (US #3/R&B #1/UK #7 February 1974), The Persuaders (US #85/R&B #29 March 1974).

From the wiki: “‘You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me’ — also known simply as ‘Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me’ — is a song written by Jim Weatherly, and enjoyed two runs of popularity, each by an artist in a different genre. The song’s first run of popularity, as ‘You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,’ came in 1973. That’s when Country singer Ray Price took the song to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart on October 6, 1973.

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