Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday

First recorded by Chris Clark (1966).
Hit version by Stevie Wonder (recorded 1967 |US #7/R&B #5/MOR #10/UK #2/CAN #10/IRE #3/GER #15/NZ #10 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday’ was written by Ron Miller and Bryan Wells and was first recorded, in 1966, by blue-eyed Soul singer and Motown recording artist Chris Clark. Clark became famous in England as the ‘white Negress’ (a nickname meant as a compliment) because the six-foot platinum blonde toured with fellow Motown artists who were predominantly black.

“America’s answer to Dusty Springfield, Clark managed to have only one chart hit in the US: ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ peaked at #105 on the Billboard’s Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart and #41 R&B in 1966. Much later, Clark would co-wrote the screenplay for the 1972 Diana Ross vehicle Lady Sings the Blues, for which Clark was nominated for an Academy Award. Clark also later became an executive for Motown Productions’ film and television division in Los Angeles.

“It was another Motown artist, Stevie Wonder, who covered and made a worldwide hit of ‘Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday’. Recorded in 1967, Wonder’s arrangement would not be released until 1969 when, during the period of time when Wonder was convalescing from throat problems and unable to record, Motown began issuing earlier, previously unreleased Wonder recordings (including ‘My Cherie Amour’, also recorded in 1967) in place of new material.”

Stevie Wonder, “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday” (1967):

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