Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Rod Stewart

Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?

Inspired by “Taj Mahal” by Jorge Ben Jor (1972).
Hit version by Rod Stewart (US #1/R&B #5/UK #1 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ was recorded by the British singer Rod Stewart for his 1978 album Blondes Have More Fun. It was written by Stewart, Carmine Appice and Duane Hitchings, and incorporates elements of the melody from the song ‘Taj Mahal’ by Jorge Ben Jor first recorded in 1972. It was alleged that Stewart created the song through partial musical plagiarism. A copyright infringement lawsuit was file by Brazilian musician Ben Jor claiming the song had been derived from ‘Taj Mahal’. The case was ‘settled amicably’ according to Ben Jor. Stewart admitted to ‘unconscious plagiarism’ of the Ben Jor song in his 2012 autobiography Rod: The Autobiography.”

The Motown Song

Written and first recorded by Larry John McNally (1986).
Hit version by Rod Stewart ft. The Temptations (US #10/MOR #3/UK #10 1991).

From the wiki: “‘The Motown Song’ was written by Larry John McNally and was originally recorded by McNally in 1986 for the Quicksilver movie soundtrack. In 1991, Rod Stewart covered ‘The Motown Song’ with The Temptations, for Stewart’s album Vagabond Heart.”

Sailing

Written and first recorded by Sutherland Brothers (1972).
Hit version by Rod Stewart (US #58/UK #1/IRE #1/NOR #1 1975 |UK #3 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Sailing’ was written by Gavin Sutherland and recorded by The Sutherland Bros. Band (featuring the Sutherland Brothers Gavin and Iain). Released in June 1972, it can be found on the album Lifeboat but was never released as a single.

“Rod Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, for his 1975 album Atlantic Crossing, and it was subsequently a #1 hit in the UK in September 1975 for four weeks. The single returned to the UK Top 10 a year later when used as the theme music for the BBC documentary series Sailor, about HMS Ark Royal. It remains Stewart’s biggest-selling single in the UK, having been a hit there twice, with sales of over a million copies.

“Stewart’s music video was shot in New York Harbor in 1975 and credited with a 1978 completion date. It also was one of the first to be aired on MTV when the cable music channel launched on 1 August 1981. Despite Stewart’s great popularity in the United States, the song never climbed higher than #58 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

I Don’t Want to Talk About It

First recorded by Crazy Horse (1972).
Hit versions by Rod Stewart (US #44/UK #1 1977 |US #46 1979 |US #2 1990), Everything But The Girl (UK #3 1988).

From the wiki: “‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’ was written by Danny Whitten, and first recorded and released by Whitten’s band, Crazy Horse, on their 1971 eponymous album. In 1975, Rod Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, for his album Atlantic Crossing. In 1988, Everything but the Girl released their cover version as a single. Stewart recorded a new version of ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’ in 1989 that charted in the US Adult Contemporary Top-10.”

That’s What Friends Are For

First recorded by Rod Stewart (1982).
Hit version by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight (US #1/R&B #1/UK #16/CAN #1/AUS #1 1985).

From the wiki: “‘That’s What Friends Are For’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager (‘Everchanging Times‘) and was first recorded in 1982 by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the film Night Shift. The Dionne Warwick cover was a one-off collaboration featuring Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, released as a charity single in the US and UK to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Sales from the song raised over US$3 million for that cause.”

Have I Told You Lately

Written and first recorded by Van Morrison (UK #74/IRE #12 1989).
Hit version by Rod Stewart (US #5/UK #5 1993).
Also recorded by The Chieftains & Van Morrison (1996).

From the wiki: “‘Have I Told You Lately’ was written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and recorded for his 1989 album Avalon Sunset. Although it was originally written also as a prayer, and built on the same framework as Morrison’s ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Have I Told You Lately’ quickly became a romantic ballad often played at weddings. ‘Have I Told You Lately’ was listed as #261 on the ‘All Time 885 Greatest Songs’ compiled by Philadelphia radio station WXPN; in 2006, Van Morrison’s original recording was voted #6 on a list of the Top 10 ‘First Dance Wedding Songs’, based on a poll of 1,300 DJs in the UK. The song was awarded a Grammy in 1996, for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, for the recording produced by The Chieftains and Van Morrison.”

Rhythm of My Heart

First recorded by René Shuman (1986).
Hit version by Rod Stewart (US #5/UK #3/CAN #1/IRE #1/AUS #2 1991).

From the wiki: “‘Rhythm of My Heart’ is a rock song written by Marc Jordan and John Capek for Dutch Rock ‘n Roll artist René Shuman’s 1986 debut album René Shuman, with a melody adapted from ‘Loch Lomond’.

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.

Country Comfort

First released by Rod Stewart (June 1970).
Also recorded by Orange Bicycle (Sept 1970), Kate Taylor w/ Linda Ronstadt (1971).
Hit album version by Elton John (Oct 1970).

Written by Elton John, ‘Country Comfort’ would be recorded and released by two other artists in the months prior to John’s own recording. ‘Country Comfort’ would be released as a single from the album Tumbleweed Connection, with ‘Love Song’ on the B-side, to no apparent singles chart impact. Rod Stewart also performed the song live, with Elton John dressed as a hornet, at a fund-raising gig at the Vicarage Road Stadium in May, 1974.

Reason to Believe

Written and first recorded by Tim Hardin (1965).
Also recorded by Bobby Darin (1966), Marianne Faithful (1967).
Hit versions by Rod Stewart (US #62 1971/US #19 1993).

From the wiki: ‘Reason to Believe’ is a song written and first recorded by American folk singer Tim Hardin in 1965. After having had his recording contract terminated by Columbia Records, Hardin achieved some success in the 1960s as a songwriter based in Greenwich Village. The original recording of ‘Reason to Believe’ comes from Hardin’s debut album, Tim Hardin 1, recorded in 1965 and released on the Verve Records label in 1966 when he was 25.

Some Guys Have All the Luck

Originally recorded by The Persuaders (US #39 1973).
Also recorded by Nikki Wills (1981).
Hit versions by Robert Palmer (US Rock #59/UK #16 1982), Rod Stewart (US #10/UK #15 1984), Louise Mandrell (as “Some Girls Have All the Luck” C&W #22 1985), Maxi Priest (UK #12 1987).

From the wiki: “[Jeff] Fortgang wrote many songs during his three years in the music business after graduating Yale in 1971, but sold only this one. He went on to get a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and still works in the mental health field in the Boston area. The major hit by Rod Stewart, in 1984, arrived after Fortgang was already well into his psychology career.

Downtown Train

Written and first recorded by Tom Waits (1985).
Also recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter (1987), Patty Smyth (US #95 1987), Bob Seger (1989, released 2011), The Piano Has Been Drinking (recorded as “Rude Jolf”) (1990), Everything But the Girl (1992).
Hit version by Rod Stewart (US #3/UK #10/CAN #1 1989).

From the wiki: “‘Downtown Train’ is a song written and first recorded by Tom Waits, released on his album Rain Dogs in 1985. The promo video for the song was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and features the boxer Jake LaMotta.

The First Cut is the Deepest

First released by P.P. Arnold (UK #18 1967).
Also recorded by Cat Stevens, writer (1967).
Other hit versions by Norma Frazier (Jamaica, 1967), Keith Hampshire (CAN #1 1973), Rod Stewart (US #21/UK #1 1976), Sheryl Crow (US #14/MOR #1 2003).

From the wiki: “‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in the spring of 1967. Stevens had made a demo recording of ‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ in 1965 but had written the song only to promote his songwriting to other artists, and did not record it for commercial release until early October 1967. He sold the song for £30 to P. P. Arnold and it became a huge hit for her in the UK, reaching #18 on the UK Singles Chart.

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