Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Everlasting Love

Originally recorded by Robert Knight (US #13/UK #40 1967 |UK reissue #19 1974).
Hit versions by Love Affair (UK #1 1968), Carl Carlton (US #6/R&B #11 1974), Narvel Felts (C&W #14 1979), Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet (US #32/UK #35 1981), U2 (AUS #2/POL #3/NETH #10 1989), Gloria Estefan (US #28/UK #19 1994).
Also recorded by David Ruffin (1969).

From the wiki: “‘Everlasting Love’ is one of two songs (the other being ‘The Way You Do the Things You Do’, by The Temptations, Rita Coolidge, Hall & Oates & UB40) to become a Top 40 hit in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The original version of ‘Everlasting Love’ was recorded by Robert Knight, at Fred Foster Sound Studio, Nashville. His producers, Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, aimed to record him in a Motown style with an especial reference to the Four Tops and the Temptations, intending the song to serve as B-side for another titled ‘The Weeper’.

“Cason believes he may have drawn the phrase ‘everlasting love’ from the Biblical verse Jeremiah 31.3 which begins: ‘Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love’. According to Cason, the recording ‘had some different sounds on it that, for the time period, were kind of innovative. The string sound is actually an organ and we used a lot of echo.’ Ultimately, ‘Everlasting Love’ was released as an A-side for Knight, and it peaked at #13 in 1967 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“In the UK, Knight’s ‘Everlasting Love’ lost out to a cover by Love Affair, the London-based pop, soul, R&B group formed in 1966, topping the UK Singles chart in 1968. (It also went Top 5 in Ireland, New Zealand, Poland and Malaysia.) The song had previously been offered to Marmalade (who hit in 1969 with ‘Reflections of My Life’). Marmalade turned the opportunity down feeling the song was too pop-oriented for them. Love Affair sold more singles in 1968 in the UK than any other band, except for The Beatles, but, by the end of 1969 had broken apart.

“The most successful US release of ‘Everlasting Love’ was recorded by Carl Carlton in late 1973. Brenda Russell was among the background vocalists used in the session. Coincidentally, Carlton recorded ‘Everlasting Love’ at the Nashville recording studio owned by the song’s composer, Buzz Cason. (However, Cason was not involved in the recording completed by Carlton.)

“Carlton’s original recording of ‘Everlasting Love’ was issued as the B-side to ‘I Wanna Be Your Main Squeeze’. It was then re-released in July 1974 as an A-side having been given a disco-style makeover, quickly becoming a discothèque favorite. The single released to radio peaked in the Top 10 at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. According to Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the Carl Carlton’ recording has been played on the radio more than 4 million times.”

Love Affair, “Everlasting Love” (1968):

David Ruffin, “Everlasting Love” (1969):

Carl Carlton, “Everlasting Love” (1974):

Narvel Felts, “Everlasting Love” (1979):

Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet, “Everlasting Love” (1981):

U2, “Everlasting Love” (1989):

Gloria Estefan, “Everlasting Love” (1994):

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