Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Drifters

This Magic Moment

First recorded by The Drifters (US #16 1960).
Other hit version by Jay & The Americans (US #6 1968).

From the wiki: “‘This Magic Moment’ was composed by lyricist Doc Pomus and pianist Mort Shuman, one of their best-known songs, and was first recorded in 1960 by Ben E. King and The Drifters. In 1969, ‘This Magic Moment’ was covered by Jay and the Americans and reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

Up on the Roof

First recorded by Little Eva (1962).
Hit versions by The Drifters (US #5/R&B #4 1962), Kenny Lynch (UK #10 1962), Julie Grant (UK #33 1963), Laura Nyro (US #92 1970), James Taylor (US #28 1980), Robson & Jerome (UK #1 1995).
Also recorded by Carole King (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Up on the Roof’ is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, first recorded in 1962 by Little Eva. The song was also recorded by The Drifters and released late that year, becoming a major hit in early 1963 (reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the US R&B Singles chart).

On Broadway

Originally recorded by The Cookies (1962).
Also recorded (and released first) by The Crystals (1962).
Hit versions by The Drifters (US #9/R&B #7 1963) and George Benson (US #7/R&B #2 1978).

From the wiki: “Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann were based at Aldon Music, in NYC, and the song as written by Mann-Weil was originally recorded by The Cookies (although The Crystals’ version beat them to release) and featured an upbeat lyric in which the protagonist is still on her way to Broadway and sings ‘I got to get there soon, or I’ll just die.’ For the Crystals’ recording, Phil Spector created his soon-to-be trademark cocktail of pizzicato strings, mandolins and castanets. Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ was inspired by, and reflects, the ‘neon lights of Broadway’. It might not even exist without ‘On Broadway’.

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