Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Category: 1970s

Turn the Page

Written and first recorded by Bob Seger (1973).
Also recorded by Bob Seger (1976).
Hit versions by Jon English (AUS #20 1974), Metallica (US #102/US Rock #1/CAN #5/AUS #11/NZ #22/NOR #11/FIN #7 1994).

From the wiki: “‘Turn the Page’ was first written and by Bob Seger in 1972 and released on his Back in ’72 album in 1973. It was not released as a single at that time. But, a live version of the song on the 1976 Live Bullet album was released in Germany and the UK with no apparent chart impact.

“Seger says he wrote the song in a hotel room in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Drummer David Teegarden recalls:

Southern Nights

Written and first recorded by Allen Toussaint (1975).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #1/MOR #1/C&W #1/CAN #1/UK #28/AUS #36/NZ #10/IRE #3 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Southern Nights’ was written and recorded by Allen Toussaint, from his 1975 album, Southern Nights. It was later recorded by Glen Campbell, with a more up-tempo arrangement and modified lyrics (and a unique guitar lick that Campbell had learned from his friend, Jerry Reed), and released as the first promotional single from Campbell’s 1977 album, also titled Southern Nights.

“The lyrics of ‘Southern Nights’ were inspired by childhood memories Allen Toussaint had of visiting relatives in the Louisiana backwoods, which often entailed storytelling under star-filled nighttime skies. When Campbell heard Toussaint’s version, he immediately identified with the lyrics because they too reminded him of his own youth growing up on an Arkansas farm.

Hot Summer Nights

Written and first recorded by Walter Egan (US #55/CAN #56 1978).
Other hit version by Night (US #18/CAN #23/AUS #3/NZ #28/NETH #21 1979).

From the wiki: “Walter Egan wrote and first released ‘Hot Summer Nights’ (produced by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham) in 1978 for his album Not Shy. Released as the album’s second promotional single (US #8 ‘Magnet and Steel’ was first), ‘Hot Summer Nights’ peaked at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.

You’re a Part of Me

Written and first released by Kim Carnes (MOR #35 1975).
Other hit version by Gene Cotton & Kim Carnes (US #36/MOR #6/C&W #78 1978).

From the wiki: “‘You’re a Part of Me’ was written by singer-songwriter Kim Carnes, and was first recorded by her, and produced by Mentor Williams, in 1975 for her second album, Kim Carnes, (an album which also held one of the four arrangements by different artists of ‘Somewhere in the Night‘ that appeared almost simultaneously in 1975). Released as a promotional single, it peaked at #35 of the Adult Contemporary singles chart but did not appear on Billboard‘s Hot 100.

“Three years later, in 1978,’You’re a Part of Me’ received wider popularity – this time as a duet performance between Carnes and another singer-songwriter, Gene Cotton (‘Let Your Love Flow‘). This arrangement did chart on the Hot 100, peaking at #36, scoring Top-10 success on the Adult Contemporary chart, and crossing-over to the Hot Country singles chart. This duet arrangement would be released on Cotton’s 1978 album, Save the Dancer.”

Gene Cotton & Kim Carnes, “You’re a Part of Me” (1978):

After the Lovin’

First recorded (as a demo) by Ritchie Adams (1974).
First released by Rick Chambers (1975).
Also recorded by Jack Jones (1975), Barbara Mandrell (1977).
Hit version by Engelbert Humperdinck (US #8/MOR #1/C&W #40/CAN #7/AUS #13/NZ #1 1976).

From the wiki: “‘After the Lovin” was written by Ritchie Adams and Alan Bernstein in 1974, and first recorded as a demo by Adams. In 1975, Adams, recording under his stage name, Rick Chambers, would record and release the song as a promotional single which did not chart. Adams had earlier co-written hits for Bobby Lewis (‘Tossing and Turning’), Ronnie Dove (‘Happy Summer Days’), and The Banana Splits (‘The Tra La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)’) on which whose TV program Adams was also the music director.

“Jack Jones would cover ‘After the Lovin” in 1975, for his album What I Did For Love (and attributed only to Bernstein).

“Recorded and released by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1976, ‘After the Lovin” would go Top-10 in the US and Canada, and top the New Zealand music chart. The song failed, however, to chart in the UK, despite Humperdinck’s earlier successes there.

“Barbara Mandrell would cover ‘After the Lovin” for her 1977 album Friends and Strangers. Although never released as a single, her performance would garner a Grammy nomination for Mandrell for Best Country Vocal Performance (Female) in 1978.”

Rick Chambers, “After the Lovin'” (1975):

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Jack Jones, “After the Lovin'” (1975):

Engelbert Humperdinck, “After the Lovin'” (1976):

Barbara Mandrell, “After the Lovin'” (1976):

Jamaica Say You Will

First recorded by The Byrds (1971).
Also recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1972).
Hit album version by Jackson Browne (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Jamaica Say You Will’ (alternately ‘Jamaica, Say You Will’) was written by Jackson Browne, but was first recorded for release by The Byrds on their Byrdmaniax album, produced by Kim Fowley, the year before Browne’s version came out. ‘Jamaica Say You Will’ was also recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for their All the Good Times, released the same month as Browne’s self-titled debut album (aka Saturate Before Using) in January 1972.

Cum On Feel the Noize

First recorded by Slade (UK #1 1973).
Other hit version by Quiet Riot (US #5/CAN #8 1983).

From the wiki: “‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ was written by Slade lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler (The Animals, Jimi Hendrix), as a non-album single. It reached #1 on the UK Singles chart, giving the band their fourth number-one single. ‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ would be included on the band’s 1973 compilation album, Sladest. In a 2015 UK poll, the song it was voted #15 on the ITV special The Nation’s Favourite 70s Number One.

“In 1983, the American heavy metal band Quiet Riot recorded their cover of the song, which became a million-selling hit single in the United States and Canada, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

Starting All Over Again

First recorded by Mel & Tim (US #19/R&B #4 1972).
Other hit version by Hall & Oates (MOR #10/CAN #11 1991).
Also recorded by Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole (1996).

From the wiki: “‘Starting All Over Again’ was written by cousins Melvin McArthur Hardin and Hubert Timothy McPherson (‘Backfield in Motion’, 1969), and recorded by them in 1972. Released as a single after the duo switched record labels, from Bamboo to Stax, the song peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Soul singles chart, and it would become the title track of the second album, Starting All Over Again.

“‘Starting All Over Again’ was covered by ‘blue-eyed soul’ duo Hall and Oates for their album Change of Season. Recorded in 1990 for the album but not released as a promotional single until 1991, their cover arrangement peaked at #10 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart but failed to reach the Top-40. It did go Top-10 in Canada.”

Fascination (Bowie)

First performed (as “Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)”) by the Mike Garson Band feat. Luther Vandross (1974).
Hit album version (as “Fascination”) by David Bowie (1975).
Other hit version (as “Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)”) by Luther Vandross (R&B #34 1976).

From BowieSongs: “Luther Vandross had sung his ‘Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)’ during the opening set of Bowie’s Philly Dogs tour, as part of ‘The Mike Garson Band’ (basically, Bowie’s touring band minus Bowie).

“Bowie had first heard Vandross’ song during the Sigma sessions [in 1974 for Bowie’s Young Americans album], as Vandross sometimes ran his fellow backing singers through it during studio downtime. When Bowie asked Vandross his permission to record ‘Funky Music’, the latter was incredulous. ‘What do you mean, ‘let’ you record it. I’m living in the Bronx in a building with an elevator that barely works and you’re asking me to ‘let’ you record one of my songs?’

Come On Over

Written and first recorded by the Bee Gees (1975).
Hit version by Olivia Newton-John (US #23/MOR #1/C&W #5/CAN #22/NZ #3 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Come On Over’ was by Barry and Robin Gibb and was first recorded by the Bee Gees for their 1975 album Main Course, produced by Arif Mardin in Miami, FL.

“A year later, in 1976, Olivia Newton-John’s cover of ‘Come On Over’ was released as the title track and promotional single for her album Come On Over. Her recording peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also Newton-John’s sixth #1 in a row on the Easy Listening chart, for one week in April 1976. ‘Come On Over’ also peaked Top-5 on the US Country Singles chart.”

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

First recorded by Rose Royce (US #32/R&B #5/UK #2/IRE #7/NZ #2 1978).
Also recorded by Madonna (1984).
Other hit versions by Jimmy Nail (UK #3 1985), Madonna (US #78/MOR #29/DANCE #16/CAN #24/POL #9 1996).

From the wiki: “”Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” is a song written by Miles Gregory and originally recorded by Rose Royce. It was produced by former Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield (‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine‘,’War‘,’Smiling Faces Sometimes‘) for Whitfield Records. Lead vocals were sung by Gwen Dickey and the song was released as the second single from Rose Royce’s third studio album Strikes Again.

“The song was developed as a result of producer Whitfield’s interest to work with Paul Buckmaster, the British arranger and composer. Together they asked songwriter Miles Gregory to write a song for them. Gregory’s undergoing medical care for his deteriorating physical health became the inspiration behind the song. ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ was one of the first recordings to make effective use of an electronic drum machine (most likely the Roland CR-78, released in 1977).

Half the Way

First recorded by Clem Easterling (B-side 1978).
Hit version by Crystal Gayle (US #15/MOR #9/C&W #2/CAN #2/IRE #1 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Half the Way’ was written by Ralph Murphy and Bobby Wood (‘Talking in Your Sleep’). First recorded by Clem Easterling in 1978, it was released as the B-side to her cover single ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’ from the album Just in Time on the New Orleans indie label, Hep’ Me, run by recording entrepreneur Senator Jones.

“The song would be covered in 1979 by Crystal Gayle who, after having achieved major country-pop crossover success the previous two years with ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ and ‘Talking in Your Sleep‘, had newly signed with Columbia Records. ‘Half the Way’ was the first song recorded under her new recording contract. As happened with Gayle’s previous recordings, ‘Half the Way’ cross-overed to the pop music chart, and was also a success in Canada (her 5th Canadian #1) and Ireland.”

What Have They Done to My Song Ma

Written and released by Melanie (B-side US #35/A-side UK #9 1970).
Other hit version (as ‘Look What They Done to My Song Ma’) by The New Seekers (US #14/MOR #4/CAN #3/UK #44 1970).

From the wiki: “‘What Have They Done to My Song Ma’ was written by Melanie (Safka). Released in 1970 as the B-side of her ‘Ruby Tuesday’ promotional single for the album Candles in the Rain, the reached the #9 on the UK Singles charts for three weeks.

“Later in 1970, the New Seekers covered Melanie’s song, retitling it to its first lyric line, ‘Look What They Done to My Song Ma’, and scored their first US hit single.”

Lonely Night (Angle Face)

Written and first recorded by Neil Sedaka (1975).
Hit version by The Captain & Tennille (US #3/MOR #1 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Lonely Night (Angel Face)’ was written and first recorded in 1975 by Neil Sedaka, appearing as a track on his 1975 studio album, The Hungry Years. The following year the song was made popular when covered by The Captain & Tennille for their album Song of Joy who took their version to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

All You Get from Love is a Love Song

First recorded by Steve Eaton (1973).
Also recorded by the Righteous Brothers (1975).
Hit version by the Carpenters (US #35/MOR #4/CAN #38/JPN #68 1977).

From the wiki: “‘All You Get from Love Is a Love Song’ was composed by Steve Eaton, former lead guitarist of Paul Revere & the Raiders (‘Indian Reservation (Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)‘), and was first recorded by Eaton in 1973.

“In 1975, the Righteous Brothers were the first to cover the song, for the album Sons of Mrs. Righteous. But, in 1977, ‘All You Get from Love is a Love Song’ was internationally popularized by the Carpenters. Included on the album, Passage, their cover was released as a promotional single – charting in the US Top-40, in Canada, and in Japan.

Some Days are Diamonds (Some Days are Stone)

Written and first recorded by Dick Feller (1975).
Hit version by John Denver (US #36/C&W #6 1981).

From the wiki: “‘Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stone)’ was written by singer-songwriter Dick Feller, and was quite different from the humorous and novelty songs he was best known for writing (e.g., ‘The Night Miss Nancy Ann’s Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down’, ‘Lord, Mr. Ford’, ‘Makin’ the Best of a Bad Situation’). Feller was first to record and release the song, in 1976, but his version failed to chart.

“‘Some Days are Diamonds …’ was later covered by John Denver, on his 1981 album Some Days Are Diamonds. Released in May 1981 as the album’s first promotional single, Denver’s version peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right

First recorded by The Emotions (unreleased 1972), Vera Brown (unreleased 1972).
First released by Luther Ingram (US #3/R&B #1 1972).
Other hit versions by Jackie Burns (C&W #72 1972), Millie Jackson (US #42/R&B #42 1974), Barbara Mandrell (US #31/C&W 1 1978), Rod Stewart (UK #23 1980), Rhonda Clark (R&B #26 1992).
Also recorded by Faces (1973).

From the wiki: “‘(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right’ was composed by Stax Records songwriters Homer Banks, Carl Hampton, and Raymond Jackson. Originally written for The Emotions, it was first recorded by The Emotions and also by Veda Brown, but neither of those recordings were ever released.

“The song has had a prominentchart presence, most notably by Luther Ingram whose 1972 arrangement topped the R&B chart for four weeks and rose to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the #16 song in popularity for the entire year.

Signs

First recorded and released by The Five Man Electrical Band (B-side 1970).
Hit versions by Bobby Vee (US #125 Feb 1971), The Five Man Electrical Band (re-release US #3/CAN #4/AUS #1 1971), Tesla (US #8/UK #70 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Signs’ was written by the Five Man Electrical Band’s frontman, Les Emmerson, and was recorded it for their second album, Good-byes and Butterflies, in 1970. ‘Signs’ was first released as the B-side earlier that year to the unsuccessful single ‘Hello Melinda Goodbye’, thus remaining relatively obscure.

“Re-released by the group in 1971 as the A-side, ‘Signs’ reached #4 in Canada and #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Billboard ranked it as the #4 song for 1971. It became a gold record. But, prior to the Five Man Electrical Band re-release, ‘Signs’ made its first chart appearance in February 1971 when a recording by Bobby Vee ‘bubbled under’ the Hot 100, peaking at #125.

We’re All Alone

Written and first recorded by Boz Scaggs (AUS #54 1976).
Other hit versions by Frankie Valli (US #76/MOR #27/CAN #73 1976), La Costa (C&W #75 1977), The Walker Brothers (NETH #22 1977), Rita Coolidge (US #7/MOR #1/C&W #68/UK #6/IRE #6/AUS #32/NZ #34/NETH #22 1977).

From the wiki: “”We’re All Alone” was written by Boz Scaggs, and was included on his 1976 album Silk Degrees. ‘We’re All Alone’ was used as the B-side of one of the album’s promotional singles, ‘Lido Shuffle’, in advance of the album’s release but was itself never released as an A-side except in Australia, where it peaked at #57.

“‘We’re All Alone’ did garner attention soon after the Scaggs’ album’s March 1976 debut. Frankie Valli covered and released a single version from his Valli LP which reached #78 U.S. in August 1976. The Walker Brothers – one of Scaggs’ formative influences – cut ‘We’re All Alone’ for their Lines album. The Walker’s track had an October 1976 single release in the UK whereas the Frankie Valli version had been released that July. Neither single charted in the UK, but the Walker Brothers’ version did reach #22 in the Netherlands in August 1977. Country singer La Costa (sister of Tanya Tucker) had a single release of ‘We’re All Alone’ in both the US – where it charted at #75 C&W – and also the UK where the track was the B-side of a remake of ‘I Second That Emotion’.

Playground in My Mind

First recorded by Billy Lawrence (1971).
Hit versions by Clint Holmes (US #2/MOR #7/CAN #1/NZ #3 1972), Johnny Ashcroft (AUS #19 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Playground In My Mind’, a nursery rhyme-styled song, was written by record producer Paul Vance (‘Catch a Falling Star’, 1957; ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’, 1960) with Lee Pockriss, and was first recorded in 1971 by Billy Lawrence (in a session produced by Vance and Pockriss) and released in June 1971 by Atlantic Records with no apparent chart impact.

“When produced again by Vance in 1972, it featured a duet with Clint Holmes and Vance’s son, nine-year-old Philip, on the chorus. This arrangement of ‘Playground in My Mind’ was released in the U.S. in July 1972 but did not reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart until eight months later – March 24, 1973 – before going on to remain on the Hot 100 for a total of 23 weeks, peaking at #2 in June 1973. It ended 1973 at the 12th most popular song of the year.”

Rings

First recorded (as a demo) by Eddie Reeves & Alex Harvey (1971).
First released by Lonnie Mack (1971).
Hit versions by Cymarron (US #17/MOR #6/CAN #41/AUS #46 1971), Tompall & the Glaser Brothers (C&W #7 1972), Reuben Howell (US #86 1974), Lobo (US #43/CAN #30 1974), Twiggy (UK#35 1977).
Also recorded by Alex Harvey (co-writer 1972), Leo Kottke (1983).

From the wiki: “‘Rings’ was composed by Eddie Reeves, an executive at the West Coast office of United Artists Music, and Alex Harvey, who was contracted as a songwriter to United Artists, and was written for the wedding of a friend of Reeves named Bob Hamilton who – as the song’s lyrics indicate – had experienced an estrangement and reconciliation with his fiancée: the song concludes with the couple ‘hand in hand…upon the sand with the preacher man’ – a reference to Hamilton and his bride’s exchanging vows on the Venice beachfront. The lyric ‘Got James Taylor on the stereo’ was a reference to James Taylor’s ‘Fire and Rain‘ being the couple’s favorite song – while the ‘Tony and Mario’ mentioned in the song were the owners of a Hollywood restaurant the couple frequented.

Change of Heart

First released by Samantha Sang (recorded 1977, released B-side 1978).
Hit version by Eric Carmen (US #19/MOR #6/CAN #14 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Change of Heart’ was written by Eric Carmen. It was first recorded in 1977 by Samantha Sang for her album, Emotion, and released as a single in April 1978 as the B-side to ‘You Keep Me Dancing’ (US #57), the follow-up single to her Top-10 international hit Emotion.

“Carmen released ‘Change of Heart’ in September 1978 as the lead single to Change of Heart, his third solo album (after leaving The Raspberries), with Sang on backing vocals.”

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

First recorded by Klaatu (US #62/CAN #45 1976).
Other hit version by The Carpenters (US #32/MOR #18/UK #9/CAN #9/IRE #1 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’, written by Terry Draper, John Woloschuk, was first recorded by Canadian band Klaatu in 1976 for release on their debut album 3:47 EST. John Woloschuk, a member of Klaatu and one of the song’s composers, recalled:

‘The idea for this track was suggested by an actual event that is described in The Flying Saucer Reader, a book by Jay David published in 1967. In March 1953 an organization known as the ‘International Flying Saucer Bureau’ sent a bulletin to all its members urging them to participate in an experiment termed ‘World Contact Day’ whereby, at a predetermined date and time, they would attempt to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words … ‘Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!”

“After its release, the Klaatu recording would open night transmissions of the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. Even more bizarre, the song got caught up in rumors that it presaged a Beatles reunion – that ‘Klaatu’ was just a pseudonym for the Fab Four’s return to the recording studio (and possible reunion concert).

Stop and Smell the Roses

First recorded by Henson Cargill (recorded 1973, C&W #29 1974).
Other hit version by co-writer Mac Davis (US #9/MOR #1/C&W #40/CAN #3 1974).

From the wiki: “‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ was written by songwriter Mac Davis (he wrote ‘In the Ghetto’ for Elvis Presley) and the noted bandleader-trumpeter Doc Severinsen. It was first recorded by Henson Cargill (best known for the socially controversial 1968 Country #1 hit ‘Skip a Rope’) in late 1973 on his album This Is Henson Cargill Country, and then released in May 1974 as something of a come-back single for the performer, peaking at #29 on the Country singles chart.

“Co-writer Davis released his arrangement in March 1974 as the title track for the album Stop and Smell the Roses. Promoted as a single beginning in August 1974, ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ peaked at #40 on the Country singles chart but went Top-10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian RPM music charts and topped the MOR chart in the US.”

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