Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Baby Can I Hold You?

Written and first recorded by Tracy Chapman (US #48/MOR #19/CAN #27 1988).
Also recorded by Neil Diamond (1989), Sanchez (1989).
Other hit versions by Boyzone (UK #2/IRE #2/NZ #11/DAN #2 1997), Tracy Chapman & Luciano Pavarotti (UK #3 2001), Ronan Keating (GER #42 2005).

From the wiki: “‘Baby Can I Hold You?’ was written by Tracy Chapman, and first recorded for release in 1988. The song reached the Top 50 in the US but peaked at only #48, failing to become Chapman’s second Top 40 hit. Chapman subsequently re-recorded the song as a duet with Luciano Pavarotti for the CD Pavarotti and Friends for Cambodia and Tibet. ‘Baby Can I Hold You?’ was also re-released as a single in promotion of Chapman’s hits package Collection in 2001 and, this time, reached #3 in the UK. Neil Diamond recorded the song for his 1989 album, The Best Years of Our Lives and became the first of many artists to cover the song.

“In 1989 the cover recorded by Jamaican Reggae singer Sanchez became a staple in dance clubs internationally. In 1997, the Irish boy band Boyzone released a cover of “Baby Can I Hold You” as a double A-side with the non-album track ‘Shooting Star’. The single peaked at #2 on the official UK Singles chart and stayed in the top 75 for fourteen weeks.

“In 2005, Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating released his own solo cover of ‘Baby Can I Hold You?’ as the third and final single from his greatest hits compilation, 10 Years of Hits. It became the second song that he originally recorded with Boyzone to be re-released for his own solo career. In the United Kingdom, the single was only released via digital download and thus it failed to chart. In Germany, the single received a full-scale release and peaked at #42 on the German Singles Chart.”

Neil Diamond, “Baby Can I Hold You?” (1989):

Sanchez, “Baby Can I Hold You Tonight” (1989):

Boyzone, “Baby Can I Hold You?” (1997):

Tracy Chapman & Luciano Pavarotti, “Baby Can I Hold You?” live performance (2001):

Ronan Keating, “Baby Can I Hold You?” (2005):

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