Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)

First recorded by Bobby Darin (Jul 1962 |Released Nov 1963).
First released by The New World Singers (Released Jul 1963).
Also recorded by Bob Dylan (Nov 1962 |Released Aug 1963), Eric Clapton (1992).
Inspired by “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons (When I’m Gone)” by Paul Clayton (1960).
Hit version by Peter Paul & Mary (US #9/MOR #2 1963), The Wonder Who? (parodied as “Don’t Think Twice” US #12 1965).

From the wiki: “‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ was written by Bob Dylan in 1962, recorded by him on November 14 that year, and released on the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and as his second-ever single in August 1963 with no chart impact.

“But, there were other, earlier recordings and releases prior to Dylan’s because of the music’s availability via Witmark Publishing Co., when Dylan was “just” an aspiring songwriter. Bobby Darin, no slouch in discovering talent (see Tim Hardin), first recorded the song in July 1962, the same month as Dylan, but the New World Singers released their version one month prior Dylan’s own recording and four months prior to Darin’s recording, in July 1963.

“It was the cover recording by Peter, Paul & Mary, released in September 1963 (entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #67 but peaking in the Top-10), the trio’s second consecutive Dylan song released as singles by PP&M from the album In the Wind – preceded by ‘Blowin’ in the Wind‘ – that firmly established Dylan’s legacy as a folk songwriter and the trio’s folk music ‘chops’.

“The Four Seasons released a cover of the song as a single in 1965 (with the truncated title ‘Don’t Think Twice’) under the pseudonym The Wonder Who?, one of a handful of ‘names’ used by the group at that time. On the heels of recording a live album of Broadway tunes (to complete the settlement of the group’s lawsuit with Vee-Jay Records), Valli, Crewe, and Gaudio had planned on recording an album consisting entirely of songs written by Bob Dylan. But, as recording progressed, the concept was modified to also include songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Valli had not been happy with his vocals on the various takes of ‘Don’t Think Twice’ when he decided to record the song with a ‘joke’ falsetto vocal to reduce the tension in the studio. An executive of Philips Records heard a replay of the recording with the ‘joke’ vocal and wanted it to be released as a single.

“Sold in a picture sleeve with a connect the dots puzzle, the record with the truncated name (‘Don’t Think Twice’) was released as by ‘The Wonder Who?’ in November 1965. As the single was sliding down the chart in January 1966, after peaking at #12, a Frankie Valli ‘solo’ single (‘(You’re Gonna) Hurt Yourself’) backed by the Four Seasons, and a Four Seasons single (‘Working My Way Back to You‘) were also in the upper half of the chart, giving three simultaneous hit recordings by the Four Seasons/Valli under three different guises.

In 1992, Eric Clapton performed, to critical acclaim, a blues rendition of the song at the 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration in Dylan’s honor.”

Paul Clayton, “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons (When I’m Gone)” (1960):

The New World Singers, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)” (1963):

Bob Dylan, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)” (1963):

Peter, Paul & Mary, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)” (1963):

The Wonder Who?, “Don’t Think Twice” (1965):

Eric Clapton, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)” (1992):

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