Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Waylon Jennings

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys

Co-written and first recorded by Ed Bruce (C&W #15 1975).
Other hit version by Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson (US #42/C&W #1/CAN #1 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys’ was first recorded in 1975 by Ed Bruce, written by him and wife Patsy Bruce. Bruce’s rendition of the song went to number 15 on the Hot Country Singles charts. Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson covered the song on their 1978 duet album Waylon & Willie. This recording peaked at #1 in March 1978, spending four weeks atop the Country music charts while also crossing-over to the Billboard Hot 100, and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Members of the Western Writers of America chose ‘Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys’ as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.”

Jolé Blon

First recorded (as “Ma blonde est partie”) by Amede, Ophy & Cleoma Breaux (1929).
Hit version by Red Foley (C&W #1 1947).
Also recorded by Waylon Jennings (1958), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (1980), Gary “U.S.” Bonds (1981).

From the wiki: “‘Jolé Blon’ is a traditional Cajun waltz, often called ‘the Cajun national anthem’ because of the popularity it had in Cajun culture’; is considered to be the very first Cajun recording. The song was then later popularized on a nationwide scale by a series of renditions and references in late 1940s country songs. There is some mystery to the song’s origin: According to Cleoma Breaux’s daughter, while Amede Breaux is credited with writing the song, it was his sister, Cleoma, who actually wrote the lyrics and Amede sang the song. Dennis McGee claims the original song was written by Angelas Lejeune as ‘La Fille De La Veuve (The Widows Daughter)’ during WWI and Cleoma simply rewrote the lyrics, allegedly about Amede’s first wife.

It’s So Easy!

First recorded by The Crickets (1958).
Also recorded by Bobby Vee (1963), The Trashmen (1963), Waylon Jennings (1969).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #5/UK #11/CAN #9 1977).

From the wiki: “‘It’s So Easy!'” was written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, and first released as a single by Holly under the moniker of his band, The Crickets. The single did not chart. Bobby Vee, The Trashmen (‘Surfin’ Bird’), and Waylon Jennings were among the several performers who recorded cover versions of the song before Linda Ronstadt’s 1977 Peter Asher-produced Top-5 recording.”

Leather and Lace

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Stevie Nicks with Don Henley (c. 1975).
Hit version by Stevie Nicks & Don Henley (US #6/MOR #10/CAN #12 1981).

From Songfacts, Stevie Nicks recalls: “I wrote this song because Waylon Jennings called me up and asked me to write a song called ‘Leather and Lace.’ It was to be a duet for him and his then-wife (Jessi Colter), and I worked very hard trying to explain what it was like to be in love with someone in the same business, and how to approach dealing with each other. It’s probably the hardest thing in the world to do because it falls out of your hands and into the hands of the world, which tends to want you to not be able to handle it.

Love of the Common People

First released by The Four Preps (1967).
Also recorded by The Everly Brothers (1967), Waylon Jennings (1967), The Gosdin Brothers (1968), The Winstons (1969), John Denver (1969), John Hurley, co-writer (1970).
Hit versions by Nicky Thomas (UK #9 1970), Paul Young (US #45/UK #2/IRE #1/NETH #1 1983).

From the wiki: “‘Love of the Common People’ is a Folk ballad composed by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, eventually released in 1970 on Hurley’s album John Hurley Sings about People, but first recorded in January 1967 by The Four Preps in a session arranged and conducted by Leon Russell.

“The song was covered by both the Everly Brothers and Country singer Waylon Jennings in 1967, The Gosdin Brothers (1968), Soul group The Winstons (1969), John Denver (on his 1969 Rhymes & Reason album), Reggae artist Nicky Thomas (1970), Stiff Little Fingers in 1982, and English pop singer Paul Young in 1982 (re-released in 1983).

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