Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Vogues

It’s Getting Better

First recorded by The Vogues (1968).
Also recorded by Leonard Nimoy (1968), Pierre Lalonde (1968), The Will-O-Bees (1969).
Hit version by “Mama” Cass Elliot (US #30/MOR #13/UK #8 1969).

From the wiki: “‘It’s Getting Better’ was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (‘Make Your Own Kind of Music‘,’Never Gonna Let You Go‘, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘). The earliest evident recording of ‘It’s Getting Better’ was by the Vogues for their August 1968 album release Turn Around, Look at Me for Reprise Records. Also in 1968, the song was featured on the Leonard Nimoy album The Way I Feel released that October. The first evident single release of ‘It’s Getting Better’ was by French-Canadian singer, Pierre Lalonde, in September 1968.

“The folk-rock group, The Will-O-Bees, released ‘It’s Getting Better’ as a single in early 1969 but it failed to chart. (The group had also been among the first to record ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music‘, in 1968, previous to Cass Elliot’s hit recording.)

“‘It’s Getting Better’ was recorded by Cass Elliot for inclusion on her June 1969 album release Bubblegum, Lemonade, and … Something for Mama. The Wrecking Crew (James Burton on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on keyboards, and Joe Osborn on bass) — who’d regularly backed The Mamas & the Papas — were among the instrumentalists on the album. The song peaked at #30 in August 1969 during what was then considered an unusually lengthy 19-week run on Billboard’s Hot 100. Only five other 1969 releases had longer chart runs on the Hot 100. Elliot’s ‘It’s Getting Better’ had a more pronounced chart impact in the UK, reaching #8 in October 1969.”

Till

First recorded by The Percy Faith Orchestra (US #63 1957).
Other hit versions by Roger Williams (US #22 1957), Tony Bennett (UK #38 1961), The Angels (US #14 1961), The Vogues (US #27 1969), Tom Jones (UK #2 1971).

From the wiki: “Since there are many songs with ‘Till’ in the title, let it be clear that this is the one that starts: ‘Till the moon deserts the sky’, with music by Charles Danvers and English lyrics by Carl Sigman, and adapted from the French song ‘Prière Sans Espoir’ recorded in 1956. The Percy Faith Orchestra (with chorus) charted first, in April 1957. Later the same year, Roger Williams released a similarly mostly-instrumental recording that reached into the US Top 40. In 1961, Shirley Bassey and Tony Bennett each recorded all-vocal covers of ‘Till’, with Bennett’s version reaching #38 on the UK Single chart. Girl-group The Angels originated in New Jersey as The Starlets. After a failed attempt at record deal, producer Gerry Granahan (‘Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu‘) heard some hit potential with a song The Starlets had performed for him in their audition, ‘Till’. ‘Till’ became the group’s first single under their new name, The Angels, and also their first hit (US #14) released by Granahan’s Caprice label in 1961.

You Were On My Mind

Written and first recorded by Ian & Sylvia (1964).
Also recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio (1965), The Vogues (1965).
Hit versions by We Five (US #3 1965), Crispian St. Peters (US #36/UK #2 1966), Barry McGuire (ITA #19 1966).

From the wiki: “‘You Were On My Mind’ was written by Sylvia Tyson in 1964, and originally performed and recorded by her and Ian Tyson as the duo Ian & Sylvia. It first appeared on their 1964 album, Northern Journey. The following year, We Five recorded a cover that charted in the Billboard Top 5. Crispian St. Peters (‘The Pied Piper’) scored a sizable UK hit in 1966 with his cover version. A 1966 cover by Barry McGuire (‘Eve of Destruction’, ‘California Dreamin’‘) peaked in the Italian Top 20.”

My Special Angel

First recorded by Sonny Land Trio (1957).
Hit versions by Bobby Helms (US #7/C&W #1/R&B #8/UK 22 1957), Malcolm Vaughn (UK #3 1957), The Vogues (US #7 1968).

From the wiki: “‘My Special Angel’ was written by Jimmy Duncan, published in 1957. (Duncan would, in the late 1960s, operate a nightclub in Houston, Texas, called ‘The Living Eye’. Nationally-known groups such as the Electric Prunes and ? and the Mysterians played there.) ‘My Special Angel’ became a crossover hit in 1957 for Bobby Helms, charting on the Billboard Hot 100, and the Country and R&B singles charts.

Turn Around, Look At Me

First recorded by Glen Campbell (US #62/MOR #15 1961).
Hit versions by The Letterman (US #105 1962), The Vogues (US #7/MOR #3 1968).
Also recorded by The Bee Gees (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Turn Around, Look at Me’ was written by Jerry Capehart. In 1961, Glen Campbell was the first to release the song, and it would become his first song to chart in the United States. The Letterman recorded a version in 1962 that ‘bubbled’ under the Billboard Hot 100. In 1964, while Bee Gees were still in Australia, they released a version of the song which did not chart. In 1968, The Vogues released their cover version, by far the most successful recording of the song, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.”

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