Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Carolina in My Mind

Written and first recorded by James Taylor (US #118 1968 |US #67 1970).
Other hit version by George Hamilton IV (C&W #29/CAN #3 1969).
Hit album re-recording by James Taylor (1976).
Also recorded by The Everly Brothers (1969), Melanie (1970).
Performed by Glen Campbell & Linda Ronstadt (1971).

From the wiki: “‘Carolina in My Mind’ was written and first recorded by singer-songwriter James Taylor on his 1968 debut album, James Taylor, released by Apple Records. The original recording of the song was done at London’s Trident Studios during the July to October 1968 period, and was produced by Peter Asher.

“The song’s lyric ‘holy host of others standing around me’ is allegedly a reference to the Beatles, who were recording The Beatles (aka the ‘White Album’) in the same building as Taylor was recording his album. Indeed, the original recording of ‘Carolina in My Mind’ features a credited appearance by Paul McCartney on bass guitar and an uncredited appearance by George Harrison on backing vocals.

“Owing to the same problems which plagued the release of the album (namely, Taylor’s inability to promote it due to his hospitalization for drug addiction), the single’s original release reached only #118 on US pop charts and failed to chart in the UK. Following the success two years later of Taylor’s second album, Sweet Baby James, distributed on the Warner Bros. Records label, and its hit single ‘Fire and Rain’, ‘Carolina in My Mind’ was re-issued by Apple as a single in October 1970 and rose to #67 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Because of the difficulty of obtaining licensing rights from Apple during the 1970s and because of uncertainty about where the Apple masters were, a new arrangement of ‘Carolina’ (and also ‘Something in the Way She Moves‘) was recorded by Taylor for use on his 1976 Greatest Hits album. The new recording was done in October 1976 at The Sound Factory in Los Angeles, and production was again done by Peter Asher. It’s this re-recorded version of ‘Carolina’ that has become the most familiar rendition of the song.

“While ‘Carolina in My Mind’ did not gain much attention from the public upon its original release, other singers took early notice.

“The Everly Brothers released their arrangement of ‘Carolina in My Mind’ as a single in 1969. It failed to chart. But, the song soon after became a #29 hit on the Billboard Country Singles chart and #3 hit in Canada in 1969 for North Carolinian singer George Hamilton IV. The song was also recorded by Melanie on her hit April 1970 album Candles in the Rain with an arrangement and vocal phrasing different from Taylor’s original Apple recording; Allmusic writes that her version ‘exist[s] on an entirely separate plane from the original.’ Glen Campbell performed ‘Carolina in My Mind’ with Linda Ronstadt on an Oct. 1, 1971 episode of his popular television variety series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.”

The Everly Brothers, “Carolina on My Mind” (1969):

George Hamilton IV, “Carolina in My Mind” (1969):

Melanie, “Carolina in My Mind” (1970):

Glen Campbell & Linda Ronstadt, “Carolina in My Mind” TV performance from The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour (1971):

James Taylor, “Carolina in My Mind” Greatest Hits rerecording (1976):