Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You

Written and first performed (live) by Neil Diamond (1966).
Hit version by The Monkees (US #2/UK #3/CAN #1/AUS #4 1967).

From the wiki: “‘A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You’ was written by Neil Diamond. He never made a studio recording of the song (as he had done with The Monkees’ ‘I’m a Believer‘), but he did perform ‘A Little Bit Me’ in his live shows circa late 1966.

“Music impresario Don Kirshner was in charge of the Brill Building stable of songwriters in New York City (which included Diamond, Carole King and Gerry Goffin), and was also music supervisor for both The Monkees’ television series and their record releases. While the band members themselves chose which songs they would record, Kirshner tended to favor his writing stable for record releases, singles in particular.

“While the Monkees were willing to cooperate with Kirshner, he was not willing to reciprocate, or to listen to many (if any) of their ideas. Michael Nesmith led the band through a struggle for more creative control, and the chance to play their own accompaniment on records. With Diamond’s ‘I’m a Believer’ already a hit (it would prove to be the group’s biggest, and the biggest-selling single in the US that year), Kirshner gave Diamond first shot at writing a follow-up, and turned a deaf ear to the group’s efforts. He persuaded Davy Jones to fly to New York and record a solo session with producer Jeff Barry in January 1967. ‘A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You’ and ‘She Hangs Out’ from that session were chosen by Kirshner for the next Monkees single. He also authorized pressing and distribution of the single with picture sleeve, something he technically was not supposed to do without approval.

“When copies of Kirshner’s single appeared in Canada, and the song began to get airplay in both Canada and the US, Kirshner was fired, on the grounds that he had issued an unauthorized record. The single was withdrawn in Canada, and cancelled in the US. However, because the title had already been announced, and the song heard on the radio, ‘A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You’ was retained as the next Monkees’ A-side.”

The Monkees, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” (1967):

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