Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Sonny & Cher

The Beat Goes On

Inspired by “The Trip” by Donovan (1966).
Hit version by Sonny & Cher (US #6/UK #29 1967).

“The Trip” was written by English folk-rock singer Donovan about his popular engagement in Los Angeles at the Sunset Strip nightclub of the same name, and the “happenings” on the scene at the time.

The evidence is purely circumstantial, but:

“[Charlie Greene] discovered and built acts like Sonny and Cher, Buffalo Springfield and Iron Butterfly, from obscurity to stardom. The same groups would eventually have seizures until Greene was booted out of the very contracts he landed them. Every time. Sonny Bono paid $250,000 to buy back Greene’s contract.

“‘I hocked my typewriters for that first record, ‘Baby Don’t Go.’ Got $168, you know, it was just a West Coast hit anyway. And then Sonny stole . . . ah, wrote, ‘I Got You Babe’. . . . heheheheh. . . .

“‘Why the big laugh?

“‘It was a very timely song, man. Hey, Donovan had just come off ‘Catch The Wind’ and Sonny is very good at picking out certain commercial aspects of other hit songs. As are other writers. Sure. Just listen to them side-by-side, it’s an influence. Sonny’s clever. He’s not a good songwriter, but he’s a clever thief. No, thief is the wrong word. Influence . . . he uses influence well.

“. . . ‘The Beat Goes On,’ you might listen to Donovan’s ‘The Trip.’ ‘Baby Don’t Go,’ you might listen to ‘We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.’ Some are direct; some are indirect. I got to hand it to the mother-fucker for continuing to have perseverance on . . . ah . . . on an overabundance of a lack of talent. No, no, no, I got no complaint with Sonny.'”

– ‘As Bare As You Dare With Sonny and Cher’, Rolling Stone RS135, May 24, 1973

Sonny & Cher, “The Beat Goes On” (1967):

What Now My Love

First recorded 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.

“English-language arrangements of ‘What Now My Love’ charted in the UK (Shirley Bassey, 1962; her recording spent 4 months on the UK Singles chart), and the US (Sonny & Cher, 1966; Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, 1966; Mitch Ryder, 1967).

“Elvis Presley performed the song before an audience of an estimated 1 billion people, as part of his Aloha from Hawaii live broadcast in 1973 beamed to 43 countries via INTELSAT.”

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