Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Roy Orbison

Love Hurts

First recorded by The Everly Brothers (1960).
Also recorded by Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris (1969).
Hit versions by Roy Orbison (AUS #5 1961), Jim Capaldi (UK #4 1975), Nazareth (US #8/UK #15/CAN #1 1975), Cher (1975 |UK #43/NOR #2 1991).

From the wiki: “‘Love Hurts’ was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’, ‘Bye Bye Love’), and was first recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960. The song was introduced in December 1960 as an album track on A Date with The Everly Brothers, but was never released as a single (A-side or B-side) by the Everlys. (The duo would re-record the song with a more up-tempo arrangement in 1964.)

“A 1969 recording by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons was included on Parsons’ posthumously released Grievous Angel album. After Parsons’ 1973 death, Harris made the song a staple of her concert repertoire. The song became a well-known international hit in 1975 with versions released by Nazareth (Top-10 in the US) and Jim Capaldi (Top-5 in the UK).

Ooby Dooby

First recorded (as a demo) by The Wink Westerners (1955).
First released by The Teen Kings (1955).
Hit version by Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings (US #59 1956).

From the wiki: “‘Ooby Dooby’ was written by Dick Penner and Wade Moore, and was first commercially-released by The Teen Kings in 1955 when Roy Orbison was a band member. The song was published by the Odessa, Texas, Je-Wel label as the B-side to ‘Trying To Get To You’. (An even earlier recording of ‘Ooby Dooby’ was recorded in 1955 by Orbison and his then-group, The Wink Westerners, as a demo for Columbia Records.) In 1955, when Johnny Cash toured the Odessa area and played on the same local radio show bill as the Teen Kings, Cash suggested to Orbison that he approach Sam Phillips at Sun Records, home of rockabilly stars including Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips was persuaded to listen to the Teen Kings’ recording. Impressed, Phillips and offered the group a contract in 1956.


First recorded by The Velvets (JPN #1 1961).
Hit version by Roy Orbison (UK #15 1966).

From the wiki: “The Velvets were an American Doo-wop group from Odessa in Ector County in west Texas. The quintet was formed in 1959 by Virgil Johnson, a high-school English teacher, with four of his students. Roy Orbison heard the group and signed them to Monument Records in 1960 as artists and as his backing group. Their biggest hit single was ‘Tonight (Could Be the Night)’, which hit #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961. After the success of ‘Tonight’, the group’s next release was ‘Lana’/’Laugh’, both written by Orbison and Joe Melson. Johnson said that it had been a mistake to produce the two songs together. ‘Laugh’ stalled at #90, but ‘Lana’ (recorded by Orbison himself later in 1961) was a #1 hit in Japan.


Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Roy Orbison (1958).
Hit version by The Everly Brothers (US #30/C&W #15/UK #1 1958).

From the wiki: “‘Claudette’ was written by Roy Orbison and named for his wife. It was the first major songwriting success for the then-unknown Orbison, who at the time was under contract to Sun Records. Orbison’s demo found its way to The Everly Brothers who would record and release their version as the B-side to ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’ but ‘Claudette’ would also chart in the US and the UK. As a result of the song’s success, Orbison would terminate his contract with Sun and affiliate himself with the Everly’s publisher, Acuff-Rose Music. Orbison would record his own version of ‘Claudette’ in 1965.”

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