Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Them

Baby, Please Don’t Go

First recorded by Big Joe Williams’ Washboard Blues Singers (1935).
Also recorded by Muddy Waters (1953), Mose Allison (1960), Georgia Fame (1963).
Hit versions by The Orioles (R&B #8 1952), Them (US #102/UK #10 1964).

From the wiki: “‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ is a Blues song which has been called ‘one of the most played, most arranged, and most rearranged pieces in Blues history’ by music historian Gerard Herzhaft. Delta Blues musician Big Joe Williams popularized it with several versions beginning in 1935. The song’s roots have been traced back to nineteenth-century slave songs, dealing with themes of bondage and imprisonment. In 1952, a Doo-wop version by The Orioles reached the R&B Top 10 (an early 45 rpm issue available only on red vinyl); Muddy Waters’ 1953 recording recast the song as an electric Chicago Blues ensemble piece, influencing many subsequent renditions.

“‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ became a popular Rock song in 1964 when the Northern Irish group Them recorded it as one of their earliest single releases. (Several music writers have identified Jimmy Page, at that time a studio guitarist, as performing for the recording, although his exact contributions are unclear.) Them’s version was sparked by a 1963 live recording by Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (issued on Rhythm And Blues at the Flamingo) who, in turn, were inspired by Mose Allison’s 1960 recording. ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ was released as Them’s second single in November 1964. Boosted by the B-side, ‘Gloria’, it became their first hit, reaching #10 on the UK Singles Chart. ‘Gloria’ would be released in the US as an A-side in 1965 and 1966, peaking at #93 & #71 respectively.”

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.

Save Me

Based on “Help Me (Get the Feeling)” by Ray Sharpe & The King Curtis Orchestra (1966).
Also recorded (as “Help Me”) by Owen Gray (1966).
Inspired by “Gloria” by Them (1964).
Hit album version by Aretha Franklin (1967).
Also recorded by Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger With The Trinity (1968), Nina Simone (1969).
Also recorded (as “Instant Groove”) by King Curtis (1969).

From Vinyl Witness: “One of the more interesting musical reinventions in 60′s Soul & Pop is ‘Help Me’ by Ray Sharpe with the King Curtis Orchestra. The track is revered among collectors as one of the first appearances by a young James ‘Jimi’ Marshall Hendrix on guitar. Jimi Hendrix at the time was in King Curtis’s band, who backed Sharpe on this track. In addition to the early notoriety, the song went on to have unexpected second and third lives.

“‘Help Me’ began as a simple progression from King Curtis, Atlantic Records’ go-to band leader at the time. It was based on the recent hit, ‘Gloria‘, by Them.

Gloria (Them)

Written by Van Morrison and first recorded by Them (1964).
Hit versions by Them (US #93/UK #10 1965), The Shadows of Knight (US #10 1966), Van Morrison & John Lee Hooker (UK #31 1993).

From the wiki: “Van Morrison said that he wrote ‘Gloria’ while he performed with the Monarchs in Germany in the summer of 1963. He started to perform it at the Maritime Hotel when he returned to Belfast and joined up with The Gamblers to form the band Them. He would ad-lib lyrics as he performed, sometimes stretching the song to fifteen or twenty minutes. After signing a contract with Dick Rowe and Decca, Them went to London for a recording session at Decca Three Studios in West Hampstead on 5 July 1964.

Here Comes the Night

First released by Lulu (UK #50 1964).
Hit version by Them (US #24/UK #2 1965).

From the wiki: “Them had intended this song to be the follow-up to ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go‘ but Decca rush-released a recording of the song by Lulu (‘To Sir With Love’, ‘I Could Never Miss You More Than I Do‘) in November 1964. The band members of Them were said to be bitterly disappointed by this decision made by Decca and Decca Records co-owner (and Radio Caroline co-director) Phil Solomon.

“Songwriter Phil Coulter (‘Puppet on a String’, ‘Saturday Night‘) remarked: ‘They bitched to me a lot but they wouldn’t dare to have said anything to Solomon.’ The band was said to have a ‘certain grim satisfaction’ as Lulu’s recording reached #50 and then dropped off the charts. Jimmy Page played guitar on Them’s arrangement. Andy White (best known for replacing Ringo Starr on drums on The Beatles’ first single, ‘Love Me Do’) and Tommy Scott performed backing vocals with Coulter on keyboards.

“Them’s ‘Here Comes the Night’ became the group’s second UK Top-10 and their first US Top-40 hit.”

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