Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Devil with the Blue Dress

Co-written and originally recorded by Shorty Long (1964).
Hit version (as “Devil with the Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly”) by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (US #4 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Devil with the Blue Dress On’ (also known as ‘Devil with a Blue Dress On’) was a song written by Shorty Long and William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson, first performed by Long (as a slow jam) and released as Shorty Long’s debut single on Motown in 1964 but the single failed to chart. Two years later, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels covered the song as a medley with a cover of Little Richard’s ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’. The Wheels’ version was notably more up-tempo than Long’s more blues-influenced rendition. Reaching #4 on the Hot 100, the Wheels’ track would end up becoming the group’s most well-known and highest-charting hit in the United States.

“Shorty Long came to Motown in 1963 from the Tri-Phi/Harvey label, owned by Berry Gordy’s sister, Gwen, and her husband, Harvey Fuqua. ‘Devil with the Blue Dress On’ was the first recording issued on Motown’s Soul label, a subsidiary designed for more blues-based artists such as Long. The song never charted nationally. (Long’s biggest hit would be ‘Here Comes the Judge’ in 1968, which reached #4 on the R&B charts and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.)

“Long was the only Motown artist besides Smokey Robinson who was allowed to produce his own recordings in the 1960s. Marvin Gaye, in David Ritz’s biography Divided Soul: The Life & Times of Marvin Gaye, described Shorty Long as ‘this beautiful cat who had two hits, and then got ignored by Motown.'”

Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, “Devil with a Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly” (1966):

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