Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Gentle On My Mind

Written and first recorded by John Hartford (1967).
Also recorded Tompall & the Glaser Brothers (1967).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #62/C&W #30 1967 |US #39/C&W #44/MOR #8 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Gentle On My Mind’ won two 1968 Grammy Awards. Hartford himself won the award for Best Folk Performance. The other award, Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance (Male), went to Country music singer Glen Campbell for his hit version of Hartford’s song.

“Hartford reported that he was inspired to write the song after seeing the film Doctor Zhivago when his own memories took over, and that it took about fifteen minutes for him to write down the music and lyrics, and he would record it in-studio on February 2, 1967 and release it on the album Earthwords & Music. Hartford would later re-record ‘Gentle On My Mind’ in 1977 for inclusion on the album All in the Name of Love.

“Tompall & Glaser Brothers recorded their cover version three weeks after Hartford’s recording, and released it in April, 1967 on Tompall & the Glaser Brothers. The album peaked at #41 on the US Country chart.

“Campbell’s hit recording, produced in May, 1967, has an interesting history of its own. Campbell had heard Hartford’s original version on the radio and decided at once that he wanted to record it. Campbell gathered some of his fellow session players from the famous ‘Wrecking Crew’ gang (including Leon Russell, listed in the credits as arranger and conductor) to come into the Capitol studio to record a demo version that he could pitch to his producer. Between phrases and stanzas, Campbell would yell instructions to the players. He then left the rough recording for his producer, Al De Lory, to listen to.

“De Lory fell in love not only with the song – but with the rough recording itself. Without telling Campbell, he took the tape back into the studio and removed the unwanted verbiage from between the phrases. He then released the demo recording, which became a mega-hit for Campbell when it was re-released a second time in the wake of ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’. (‘Gentle On My Mind’ had faltered upon its first release, reaching only #62 on the Billboard Hot 100.)”

Tompall & the Glaser Brothers, “Gentle On My Mind” lip-synced 1969 TV performance (1967):

Glen Campbell, “Gentle On My Mind” (1967):

Glen Campbell & John Hartford, “Gentle On My Mind” live TV performance (1968):

John Hartford, “Gentle On My Mind” rerecording (1977):

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