Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Yvonne Elliman

Hello Stranger

Written and first recorded by Barbara Lewis (US #3/R&B #1 1963).
Other hit versions by Fire & Rain (US #100 1973), Yvonne Elliman (US #15/R&B #57/MOR #1/UK #26/NETH #20/NZ #12 1977), Carrie Lucas & The Whispers (R&B #20 1985).
Also recorded by Martha & the Vandellas (1963), The Capitols (1966), The Supremes & The Four Tops (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Hello Stranger’ was written by Barbara Lewis herself, who was originally inspired to write the while working gigs in Detroit with her musician father: ‘I would make the circuit with my dad and people would yell out: ‘Hey stranger, hello stranger, it’s been a long time’.’ The song is notable because its title comprises the first two words of the lyrics but is never at any point repeated throughout the remainder of the song.

“Lewis recorded ‘Hello Stranger’ at Chess Studios in Chicago in January 1963. The track’s producer Ollie McLaughlin recruited The Dells to provide the background vocals. The arrangement by Riley Hampton – then working with Etta James – featured a signature organ riff provided by keyboardist John Young. The track was completed after thirteen takes. Lewis would recall that, on hearing the playback of the finished track, Dells member Chuck Barksdale ‘kept jumping up and down and saying, ‘It’s a hit, it’s a hit.’…I didn’t really know. It was all new to me.’

Love Me

Written and first recorded by The Bee Gees (1976).
Hit versions by Yvonne Elliman (US #20/UK #6/IRE #9/NZ #3 1976), Martine McCutcheon (UK #6 1999).

From the wiki: “‘Love Me’ was first recorded and released by the Bee Gees, released on the 1976 album Children of the World. It was written by Barry and Robin Gibb featuring Robin on lead with his falsetto (with Barry on the middle eight evidenced on the outro). This makes this song a curio among the group’s mid- to late-’70s tracks, as Barry sang most of the The Bee Gee’s lead vocals. Yvonne Elliman’s version was more successful than the Bee Gees’, reaching the Top-20 US chart, and Top-10 in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. Martine McCutcheon remade ‘Love Me’ for her 1999 debut album You, Me & Us from which the track – serving as the BBC Children in Need single for 1999 – was issued as the third single.”

Somewhere in the Night

First single release by Yvonne Elliman (US August 1975).
Also recorded by Richard Kerr (UK August 1975), Kim Carnes (1975).
Hit versions by Batdorf & Rodney (US #69 1975), Helen Reddy (US #19/MOR #2/CAN #27 1975) and Barry Manilow (US # 9/UK #42 1978).

From the wiki: “The first song composed by Richard Kerr and Will Jennings as a team, ‘Somewhere in the Night’ appeared on four 1975 album releases: You Are a Song by Batdorf & Rodney and Rising Sun by Yvonne Elliman both released in June 1975, No Way to Treat a Lady by Helen Reddy released July 1975, and Kim Carnes’ November 1975 eponymous album release. The Yvonne Elliman version was released as a US single in August 1975, which also saw the release of a ‘Somewhere in the Night’ single in the UK recorded by the song’s co-writer Richard Kerr.

I Don’t Know How to Love Him

First recorded by Yvonne Elliman (US #28/UK #47 1970).
Other hit version by Helen Reddy (US #13/CAN #8/AUS #2 1971).

From the wiki: “‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice song for the 1970 Rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The song has been much recorded with it becoming one of only a handful of songs to have two concurrent recordings simultaneously reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ had first been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, originally titled ‘Kansas Morning’. (The melody’s main theme has come under some scrutiny for being non-original, bearing a resemblance to a theme from Mendelssohn’s ‘Violin Concerto in E Minor’.) Rice wrote new lyrics to ‘Kansas Morning’ when Lloyd Webber and he completed Jesus Christ Superstar in January 1970. Now, entitled ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, the completed song was recorded at a June 1970 Decca Records recording session by Yvonne Elliman in one take.

If I Can’t Have You

Written and originally recorded by The Bee Gees (1977).
Hit version by Yvonne Elliman (US #1/UK #4/CAN #1 1977).

From the wiki: “According to Maurice Gibb, this track was the first song they recorded while producing the other songs for the film Saturday Night Fever. ‘If I Can’t Have You’ was originally intended to be sung for the film soundtrack by The Bee Gees while Elliman’s contribution would be another ballad written by the Gibb brothers, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.

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