Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Tom T. Hall

Fox on the Run

First recorded by Manfred Mann (US #95/UK #5 1968).
Also recorded by The Country Gentlemen (1970).
Other hit version by Tom T. Hall (C&W #9 1976).

From the wiki: “Note: NOT the mid-’70s hit by Sweet. ‘Fox on the Run’ was first recorded by Manfred Mann as a single issued 29 November 1968. It was introduced to Bluegrass by Bill Emerson and quickly became a Bluegrass favorite, first recorded in that genre by The Country Gentlemen in 1970. In 1976, ‘Fox on the Run’ was covered by Country music singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall whose recording peaked in the US Country Top-10, its highest-charting US performance.”

Harper Valley PTA

First recorded (as “Mama Socked It to the Harper Valley PTA”) by Margie Singleton (1968).
Also recorded by Billie Jo Spears (1968).
Hit version by Jeannie C. Riley (US #1/C&W #1/CAN #1 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Harper Valley PTA’ was written by Tom T. Hall who reportedly first offered it to Skeeter Davis, who declined. The story goes that Hall, after driving past a school called Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee, noted the name and commenced writing ‘Harper Valley PTA’ about a fictional confrontation between a young widow, Stella Johnson, and the local PTA who objected to her manner of dress, social drinking, and friendliness with town’s men folk.

“On, however, Hall recalls the song being based on a true event: ‘I was just hanging around downtown when I was about nine years old and heard the story and got to know this lady. I was fascinated by her grit. To see this very insignificant, socially disenfranchised lady – a single mother – who was willing to march down to the local aristocracy and read them the riot act so to speak, was fascinating.’

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