Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Different Drum

First recorded by The Greenbriar Boys (1966).
Hit version by The Stone Poneys (US #13 1967).
Also recorded by Michael Nesmith, writer (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Different Drum’ is a classic song written by Mike Nesmith in 1965 (also copyrighted that year) and originally recorded by the northern bluegrass band the Greenbriar Boys and included on their 1966 album, Better Late than Never!. The song reached a wider audience when Nesmith rushed through a version of it in a comedy bit on The Monkees television show episode “Too Many Girls” (air date December 1966), while pretending to be Billy Roy Hodstetter.

“The song is best known for the yearning 1967 version performed by the Stone Poneys featuring a young and up-and-coming singer named Linda Ronstadt. The song was Ronstadt’s first hit single, reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Stone Poney’s version flips the gender references in Nesmith’s original lyric.

“The Stone Poneys had initially intended to record an ‘acoustic ballad version”‘ of the song, but their producer, Nick Venet, opted for a more complex instrumental approach, using an arrangement largely improvised by sessions musicians during the recording. As a result, Ronstadt was the only member of the Stone Poneys who actually performed on the record.

“Nesmith later rerecorded the song for his 1972 LP And the Hits Just Keep on Comin’. His version contains four verses, as opposed to the three in Ronstadt’s version.”

Michael Nesmith, “Different Drum” clip from The Monkees (1967):

The Stone Poneys, “Different Drum” (1968):

Michael Nesmith, “Different Drum” (1972):