Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Across the Universe

First released by The Beatles (1969).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1969).

From the wiki: “‘Across the Universe’ was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

“The song, the recording of which began in February 1968 and mastered in October 1969, first appeared on a various-artists’ charity compilation album for the World Wildlife Fund, No One’s Gonna Change Our World, released in December 1969. This version had been considered for release as a Beatles’ single but was instead donated to the WWF. In its place, ‘Lady Madonna’ became the group’s next 45.

“This original release would later be included among the tracks assembled for the 1978 Rarities compilation, and again in 1988 with the release of the Past Masters compilations. However, ‘Across the Universe’ would appear, in somewhat different form, in May 1970 on Let It Be, the Beatles’ final released album.

“The Let It Be production used the same basic track as the 1968 original but with major differences arising from Phil Spector’s arrival as the album producer. In the spring of 1970, Spector had been brought in to salvage the original Get Back sessions, including ‘Universe’. Spector stripped some of the original overdubs, slowed it down and, in his famous ‘wall of sound’ manner, added numerous layers of strings, brass, percussion and a vocal choir, giving the song a whole new feel.”

The Beatles, “Across the Universe” from Let It Be (1969):

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