Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Barry Mann (1965).
Hit versions by The Animals (US #13/UK #2/CAN #13/GER #31 1965), Angels (AUS #7 1987).
Also recorded by American Breed (1967).

From the wiki: “‘We Gotta Get out of This Place’ was written by the husband-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and recorded as a 1965 hit single by The Animals. It has become an iconic song and was immensely popular among United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. The song had been intended for The Righteous Brothers, for whom Mann-Weil had already written the #1 hit ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” but then Mann gained a recording contract for himself, and his label Redbird Records wanted him to release it instead.

“Meanwhile, record executive Allen Klein had also heard the demo and gave it to Mickie Most, The Animals’ producer. (Most already had a call out to Brill Building songwriters for material for The Animal’s next recording session The group’s hits ‘It’s My Life’ and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ came from the same call.)

“In The Animals’ rendition, the lyrics were slightly reordered and reworded from the demo and opened with a locational allusion – although different from that in the songwriters’ minds – that was often taken as fitting the group’s industrial, working class origins. Eric Burdon later said, ‘The song became an anthem for different people – everybody at some time wants to get out of the situation they’re in.’

“The song was very popular among United States Armed Forces servicemen stationed in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was frequently requested of, and played by, AFVN radio disc jockeys. A 2006 survey study by two University of Wisconsin–Madison employees (one a Vietnam veteran) of hundreds of Vietnam veterans found that ‘We Gotta Get out of This Place’ resonated strongest of all the music popular in that time (1965-1972). ‘This was the Vietnam anthem. Every bad band that ever played in an armed forces club had to play this song,’ Brian Mattmiller wrote in the survey results.”

The Animals, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” live TV performance (1965):

American Breed, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (1967):

Angels, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (1987):

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