Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Wilson Pickett

Funky Broadway

First recorded by Dyke & the Blazers (1966).
Hit version by Wilson Pickett (US #8/R&B #1/UK #43 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Funky Broadway’ was written by Arlester ‘Dyke’ Christian. It was originally recorded by his band, Dyke & the Blazers, in 1966, and was made into a hit by Wilson Pickett the following year. The song is notable as being the first charted single with the word ‘Funky’ in the title as well as being prototypical Funk music itself. The ‘Broadway’ in the title refers to the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood in Buffalo, NY; not the famous Broadway theater district in New York City.”

Something You Got

Written and first recorded by Chris Kenner (1961).
Hit version by Alvin Robinson (US #54/R&B #6 1964).
Also recorded by Moody Blues (1965), Wilson Pickett (1966), Herman Hitson (1966), Bruce Springsteen (1974).

From the wiki: “‘Something You Got’ was written by New Orleans R&B singer and songwriter Chris Kenner (‘Land of 1000 Dances‘, ‘I Like It Like That‘) who released it in 1961 as a single, with ‘Come and See About Me’ on the B-side, and as an album track on the 1966 album Land of 1000 Dances. Covered later with some acclaim by Wilson Pickett (who also covered Kenner’s ‘Land of 1000 Dances’), ‘Something You Got’ charted only with the 1964 version recorded by Alvin Robinson.”

Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

Co-written and first recorded by Solomon Burke (US #58/R&B #4 1964).
Also recorded by The Rolling Stones (1965).
Other hit versions by Wilson Pickett (US #29/R&B #19 1967), The Blues Brothers (1980 |UK #12 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ was written by Bert Berns, Solomon Burke and Jerry Wexler, and was originally recorded by Burke at Atlantic Records in 1964. His original charted in 1964, peaking at #4 on the R&B chart but missing the US Top 40. Wilson Pickett covered the song in 1966, and his recording did make it to #29 on the Top 40 and #19 R&B in early 1967. A re-release of The Blues Brothers’ 1978 recording nudged the UK Top 10 in 1990. ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ is ranked #429 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)

Co-written and first recorded by Eddie Floyd (1966).
Hit versions by Wilson Pickett (US #13/R&B #1/UK #36 1966), Tina Turner & Robert Cray (NETH #14/BEL #23 1986).
Also recorded by Ry Cooder (1980), Tower of Power & Huey Lewis (2009), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (2012).

From the wiki: “‘634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)’ was written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper (of Booker T. & the MGs), in the spirit of ‘Beechwood 4-5789’ by The Marvelettes (1962). First recorded by Floyd, ‘634-5789’ was later covered in 1966 by Wilson Pickett whose recording went US Top-15 hit and #1 R&B. The song has since been covered by many performers including Otis Redding, Ry Cooder, and Tower of Power (feat. Huey Lewis). Bruce Springsteen also performs the song live on many occasions. Tina Turner and Robert Cray covered ‘634-5789’ in 1986 as a duet, recorded live as part of her Break Every Rule TV special in the UK, and a subsequent single release saw some European chart success in the Netherlands and Belgium.”

Hey Joe

First recorded by Billy Roberts (1961).
Popular versions by The Leaves (US #31 1966), The Jimi Hendrix Experience (UK #6 1966), Wilson Pickett (US #59/R&B #29/UK #16 1969), Willy DeVille (SPN #1 1992).
Also recorded by Tim Rose (1966), The Golden Cups (1968).

Billy Roberts, “Hey Joe” re-recording (1976?):

From the wiki: “Diverse credits and claims have led to confusion as to the song’s true authorship and genesis. But, the earliest known commercial recording of the song is the late-1965 single by the Los Angeles garage band The Leaves. The band re-recorded the track (for the third time) in 1966, releasing it as a follow-up single which became a hit. While claimed by the late Tim Rose to be a traditional Blues song (or often erroneously attributed to the pen of American musician Dino Valenti aka Chet Powers and Jesse Farrow), ‘Hey Joe’ was registered for copyright in the U.S. in 1962 by Billy Roberts. Producer Hal Resner has stated there is a live recording of Roberts performing ‘Hey Joe’, dating from around 1961.

Mustang Sally

Written and first recorded by “Sir” Mack Rice (R&B #15 1965).
Other hit versions by Wilson Pickett (US #23/R&B #6/UK #28 1967 |UK #62 1987), The Commitments (UK #63 1991).

From the wiki: “According to music historian Tom Shannon the song started as a joke. Mack Rice wrote a song called ‘Mustang Mama’ after visiting his friend, the actress/singer Della Reese, in New York City. Reese told him that she was thinking about buying her drummer a new Lincoln for his birthday, which Rice, being from Detroit, thought was a great idea. When Rice mentioned this to Shields, the drummer replied, ‘I don’t want a Lincoln, I want a Mustang.’

Land of 1000 Dances

Written and first recorded by Chris Kenner (1962).
Also recorded by Danny & The Memories (1965).
Hit versions by Cannibal & The Headhunters (US #30 1965), Wilson Pickett (US #6/R&B #1 1966).

From the wiki: “Written and first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962, ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ is famous for its ‘na na na na na’ hook added by Cannibal & The Headhunters in their 1965 version. (The ‘na na na na na’ hook happened by accident when Frankie ‘Cannibal’ Garcia, lead singer of Cannibal & The Headhunters, forgot the lyrics. The melody to that section of the song was also created spontaneously, as it is not on Kenner’s original recording.) The song’s best-known version was Wilson Pickett’s 1966 single release, from the album The Exciting Wilson Pickett, which became an R&B #1 and Billboard Top 10 hit, his highest-charting Pop song.

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