Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Animals

House of the Rising Sun

First recorded (as “Rising Sun Blues”) by Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster (1933).
Also recorded by Woody Guthrie (1941), Lead Belly (1944 |1948), Josh White (1947), Glenn Yarbrough (1957), Pete Seeger (1958), Andy Griffith (1959), Miriam Makeba (1960).
Hit versions by The Animals (US #1/UK #1 1964), Frijid Pink (US #7/UK #4 1970).

From the wiki: “Like many classic folk ballads, the authorship of ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ is uncertain. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads such as The Unfortunate Rake of the 18th century and that English emigrants took the song to America where it was adapted to its later New Orleans setting. Alan Price of The Animals has even claimed that the song was originally a sixteenth-century English folk song about a Soho brothel.

Baby Let Me Take You Home

First recorded (as “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand”) by Hoagy Lands (1964).
Inspired by “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” by Bob Dylan (1962).
Also recorded (as “Baby Let Me Take You Home”) by The Mustangs (1964).
Hit version by The Animals (UK #21 1964).

From the wiki: “‘Baby Let Me Take You Home’ is credited to Bert Russell (a.k.a. Bert Berns) and Wes Farrell, as an arrangement of Eric Von Schmidt’s rendering of ‘Baby, Let Me Follow You Down’, as covered by Bob Dylan on Dylan’s first, self-titled, album. ‘Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand’ was first recorded by Hoagy Lands in 1964. A cover version, re-titled, was recorded in a more Folk-Rock-Blues-style by The Mustangs, also in 1964, using much of the same backing track as Lands’ original which was also produced by co-writer Berns.

“‘Baby Let Me Take You Home” would become The Animals’ debut single release, peaking near the Top 20 in the UK in 1964 but going uncharted in the US.”

Boom Boom

First recorded by John Lee Hooker (US #60/R&B #16 1962 |UK #16 1992).
Other hit versions by The Animals (US #43/CAN #14 1964), Big Head Todd & The Monsters (US #29 1998).
Also recorded by Mae West (1966).

From the wiki: “‘Boom Boom’ was written by American Blues singer/guitarist John Lee Hooker and first recorded in 1961. Although a Blues song, it has been described as ‘the greatest Pop song he ever wrote.’ ‘Boom Boom’, as recorded by Hooker, was both an American R&B and Pop chart success in 1962 as well as placing in the UK Singles Chart in 1992. It is one of Hooker’s most identifiable and enduring songs, and ‘among the tunes that every band on the [early 1960s UK] R&B circuit simply had to play’ (wrote Cub Koda in the liner notes for The Yardbirds compilation, Ultimate!). Hooker later re-recorded and re-released the song in 1968 on the Stateside record label as the B-side of ‘Cry Before I Go’ under the longer title ‘Boom Boom Boom’. According to Hooker, he wrote the song during an extended engagement at the Apex Bar in Detroit:

‘I would never be on time [for the gig]; I always would be late comin’ in. And she [the bartender Willa] kept saying, ‘Boom boom — you late again’. Every night: ‘Boom, boom — you late again’. I said ‘Hmm, that’s a song!’… I got it together, the lyrics, rehearsed it, and I played it at the place, and the people went wild.’

C.C. Rider (See See Rider)

First recorded (as ‘See See Rider Blues’) by Ma Rainey (US #12 1925).
Popular versions by Wee Bea Booze (R&B #1 1943), Chuck Willis (US #12/R&B #1 1957), LaVern Baker (US #34/R&B #9 1963), Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (US #10 1965), The Animals (US #10/CAN #1/AUS #8 1966).
Also recorded by The Orioles (1952), Elvis Presley (1970 |1973).

From the wiki: “The song is generally regarded as being traditional in origin. Ma Rainey’s version (recorded as ‘See See Rider Blues’) became popular during 1925, telling the story of an unfaithful lover, commonly called ‘easy riders’ (‘See See rider, see what you have done’), making a play on the word ‘see’ and the sound of ‘easy’. The song has since become one of the most famous of all Blues songs, with well over 100 versions.

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Written and first recorded by Bob Dylan (1965).
Hit versions by Them (1965 |GER #12 1973), The Byrds (from the Easy Rider soundtrack 1969).
Also recorded by Dion (1965), The Byrds (1965, released 1987), (as “Baby Blue”) by The Seldom Scene (1973), The Animals (1977).

Live performance, 1966:

From the wiki: “‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ was written and performed by Bob Dylan and featured on his 1965 Bringing It All Back Home album. The song was originally recorded with Dylan’s acoustic guitar and harmonica and William E. Lee’s bass guitar the only instrumentation. Dylan’s two previous albums, The Times They Are A-Changin’ and Another Side of Bob Dylan both ended with a farewell song, ‘Restless Farewell’ and ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’ respectively. ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ concludes Bringing It All Back Home in consistent fashion. Dylan played the song for Donovan in his hotel room during his May 1965 tour of England in a scene shown in the D. A. Pennebaker documentary Don’t Look Back; a version of the song is also included on the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home. In a 2005 readers’ poll reported in Mojo, ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ was listed as the #10 all-time-best Bob Dylan song.

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Barry Mann (1965).
Hit versions by The Animals (US #13/UK #2/CAN #13/GER #31 1965), Angels (AUS #7 1987).
Also recorded by American Breed (1967).

From the wiki: “‘We Gotta Get out of This Place’ was written by the husband-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and recorded as a 1965 hit single by The Animals. It has become an iconic song and was immensely popular among United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. The song had been intended for The Righteous Brothers, for whom Mann-Weil had already written the #1 hit ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” but then Mann gained a recording contract for himself, and his label Redbird Records wanted him to release it instead.

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

First recorded by Nina Simone (1964).
Hit versions by The Animals (US #15/UK #3 1965), Santa Esmeralda (US #15/UK #41 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ is a song written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, and Sol Marcus for Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964.

“The beginnings of ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ originated with composer and arranger Horace Ott, who came up with the melody and chorus lyric line after a temporary falling out with his girlfriend (and wife-to-be), Gloria Caldwell. He then brought it to writing partners Bennie Benjamin and Sol Marcus to complete. However, when it came time for songwriting credits, rules of the time prevented BMI writers (Ott) from officially collaborating with ASCAP members (the other two), so Ott instead listed Caldwell’s name on the credits. Horace Ott’s involvement did not end with his initial songwriting; he was the arranger and orchestral conductor for Simone’s entire album, Broadway-Blues-Ballads, released in 1964.

Mama Told Me Not to Come

Originally recorded by Eric Burdon & The Animals (1966).
Also recorded by Randy Newman (1970).
Hit versions (titled “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”) by Three Dog Night (US #1 1970), Tom Jones & Stereophonics (UK #4 2000).

From the wiki: “‘Mama Told Me (Not to Come)’ is a song by Randy Newman written for Eric Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. A scheduled single-release of September 1966 was withdrawn, but the song was eventually included on the US-only 1967 album Eric Is Here (billed as ‘Eric Burdon & The Animals’ although the actual band with Burdon is the Horace Ott Orchestra).

The Girl Can’t Help It

First recorded by Little Richard (R&B #7/UK #9 1956).
Also covered by The Animals (1964), The Everly Brothers (1965), The Flamin’ Groovies (1969), Led Zeppelin/The Nobs (1970), Mick Ronson (1975), Darts (as “Daddy Cool/The Girl Can’t Help It” UK #6 1977), Bonnie Raitt (as “The Boy Can’t Help It” (1979), Babes in Toyland (2001).

From the wiki: “‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ is the title song to the film The Girl Can’t Help It, composed by songwriter Bobby Troup (‘Route 66’, ‘Girl Talk’, ‘The Meaning of the Blues’). The recording was released in December 1956 and peaked at #49 on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart (also UK #9 and US R&B #7 ), and is included in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Originally, Fats Domino was lined up to record the track, which was not written to be a Rock song. The movie, The Girl Can’t Help It, was originally intended as a vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, with a satirical subplot involving teenagers and rock ‘n’ roll music. The unintended result has been called the ‘most potent’ celebration of Rock music ever captured on film. The original music score included the title song performed by Little Richard. Reportedly, the producers had wanted Elvis for ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’, but Elvis’s manager Tom Parker demanded too much money.

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