Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tell the Truth

First released (as a single) by Derek and the Dominos (1970).
Hit album version re-recorded by Derek and the Dominos (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Tell the Truth’ was composed primarily by keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, with guitarist Eric Clapton adding the last verse.

“The original version of ‘Tell the Truth’ was recorded in London during the sessions for George Harrison’s 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. The session marked the first recordings by Derek and the Dominos. Produced by Phil Spector, this original, faster version of the song featured guitar contributions from Harrison and Dave Mason. It was issued as Derek and the Dominos’ debut single, in September 1970, although the band had the release withdrawn. Four days before the session, Derek and the Dominos, with Dave Mason as second guitarist, had played ‘Tell the Truth’ at their debut concert, held at London’s Lyceum Ballroom.

“In August 1970, while recording their album Layla at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, with producer Tom Dowd, the band decided to remake ‘Tell the Truth’.

“Author Jan Reid writes of the London-recorded version: ‘[T]he problem wasn’t Spector’s fabled Wall-of-Sound engineering control – rather, it sounded as though they sang and played the song about 20 percent too fast. In Spector’s production, the lyrics and the voices of Clapton and Whitlock flew by, in meaningless garble: the song lost its insight and sense of humor.’

“Dowd and the members of the band struggled with the song until Duane Allman was added to the group, after Clapton and members of Derek and the Dominos met him in a concert. Following the concert, Allman joined the band in the studio where they recorded the album version of ‘Tell the Truth’ on 28 August. With Allman’s slide guitar providing a counterpoint to the melody played by Whitlock and Clapton, Dowd and the band were finally satisfied with the song.

“Clapton subsequently called Robert Stigwood, record executive of RSO, and told him not to issue the original version of ‘Tell the Truth’ as a single. In the United States, Atco Records did release the single on 14 September 1970, but the record was soon withdrawn. The Dowd production of the song then appeared as the opening song on side three of the Layla double album, issued in November 1970.”

Derek and the Dominos, “Tell the Truth” album version (1970):

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