Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Mitchell Trio

Blowin’ in the Wind

First released by The New World Singers (January 1963).
Also released by The Chad Mitchell Trio (March 1963), Bob Dylan (May 1963), Marlene Dietrich (1963).
Hit versions by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #2/UK #13 1963), Stan Getz (US #110 1964), Stevie Wonder (US #9/R&B #1 1966).

From The Originals: “The timeline of ‘first’ recordings and releases of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ can sure be a more than confusing. Some sources date the New World Singers’ recording to September 1963, four months after Dylan’s was released. That is patently wrong, however. The New World Singers’ version appeared on a compilation of ‘topical songs’ called Broadside Ballads Vol. 1 which apparently was released on 1 January 1963 on Broadside Records, the recording arm of the folk magazine (you guessed it) Broadside, which was founded by Pete Seeger and printed the lyrics of the song in May 1962. The Chad Mitchell Trio, sometimes credited with recording the song first, released the song on their In Action LP in March 1963.

Leaving On a Jet Plane

First recorded (as “Babe, I Hate to Go”) by John Denver (1966).
First broadcast (as “Babe, I Hate to Go”) by John Denver on WAVA-FM’s Hootenanny at The Cellar Door (1966).
Hit version by Peter, Paul & Mary (recorded 1967/US #1 1969 single release).
Also recorded by The Mitchell Trio (1967), Spanky & Our Gang (1967), John Denver (1969 |1973).

From the wiki: “Chad Mitchell left his trio in 1965 to embark on a solo singing career. An audition process that followed, and which saw 300 musicians try-out, replaced Mitchell with the young (and unknown) singer-songwriter John Denver. The group retained the well-known ‘Mitchell Trio’ name – with Denver writing some of the group’s songs, including ‘Leaving On A Jet Plane’ (found on The Mitchell Trio’s 1967 album Alive!). The song was first recorded in 1966 by John Denver with the title ‘Babe, I Hate to Go’. He remembers composing the song in 1966 during a layover at Washington airport, ‘Not so much from feeling that way for someone, but from the longing of having someone to love.’

“A year earlier, in 1966, ‘Babe, I Hate to Go’ was among fifteen songs Denver recorded himself and, with his own money, had 250 copies pressed onto vinyl and distributed to friends and family. Later that year, while engaged to perform at The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C., Denver performed the song on a live radio broadcast on WAVA-FM, hosted by disc-jockey Dick Cerri for his program Hootenanny, where Denver was backed by fellow Trio guitarist, Bob Hefferan (and handled a heckler in the audience). It was John’s second time singing the song in public and the first radio broadcast of it. (In 1969, Denver would again record the song for his debut solo album, Rhymes & Reasons, and re-recorded it again in 1973 for John Denver’s Greatest Hits.)

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