Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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By the Time I Get to Phoenix

First recorded by Johnny Rivers (1965).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #26/C&W #2/CAN #1 1967).

From the wiki: “‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ was written by Jimmy Webb (‘Up, Up and Away‘). Originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965 on his album Changes it would be made famous by Glen Campbell, appearing as the opening and title track on Campbell’s 1967 album By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Campbell’s recording reached #2 on the US Country Singles chart in 1968, and #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, and would go on to win two Grammy Awards in 1968: Best Vocal Performance (Male), and Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance. Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) has named ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ the third most-performed song from 1940 to 1990. Frank Sinatra called it ‘the greatest torch song ever written.’

“The inspiration for the song was Webb’s breakup from Susan Ronstadt, a cousin of singer Linda Ronstadt. Both remained friends, even after her marriage to another man. The relationship itself, which peaked in mid-1965, was also the primary influence for ‘MacArthur Park’ and ‘The Worst That Could Happen‘, two other popular Webb compositions.”

Glen Campbell, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967):

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