Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Four Strong Winds

Written by Ian Tyson and first recorded by Ian & Sylvia (1963).
Also recorded by The Kingston Trio (1963).
Hit versions by Bobby Bare (C&W #3 1965), Neil Young (US #61/UK #57 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Four Strong Winds’ was written by Canadian songwriter Ian Tyson and first recorded by Tyson and his folk singing partner, Sylvia Fricker. Released as a single in September 1963, preceding the Four Strong Winds album release in April 1964. the song did not generate any chart momentum. It was then recorded by The Brothers Four in a version that ‘bubbled under’ the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1963.

“A country arrangement of ‘Four Strong Winds’ was recorded by Bobby Bare in 1964, and it became a #3 hit on the US Country Singles chart in early 1965. The song also enjoyed popularity in Scandinavia, becoming a big hit in Norway in 1966 in a Norwegian version, ‘Mot ukjent sted’, by The Vanguards, and also a big hit in Sweden in 1967 in a Swedish version, ‘Mot okänt land’, recorded by The Hep Stars.

“To American rock music listeners, the most known recording comes by Neil Young from his 1978 album Comes a Time, with harmony vocals from Nicolette Larson. Young’s recording peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it received significant airplay over Album Oriented Rock and Classic Rock radio stations, and has since become a familiar part of Young’s concert repertoire.”

The Kingston Trio, “Four Strong Winds” (1963):

Bobby Bare, “Four Strong Winds” (1964):

The Hep Stars, “Mot okänt land” (1967):

Neil Young, “Four Strong Winds” live performance from Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006):

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