Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Got My Mind Set on You

Originally recorded (as “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You”) by James Ray (1962).
Hit version by George Harrison (US #1/UK #2/AUS #1 1988).

From the wiki: “‘I’ve Got My Mind Set on You’ was written by Rudy Clark and originally recorded by James Ray in 1962. Standing just 5′ tall, Ray first recorded as Little Jimmy Ray. He recorded ‘Make Her Mine’ in 1959, but it was unsuccessful and by 1961 Ray was destitute and living on a rooftop, though still performing in clubs.

“Songwriter Rudy Clark befriended him, and persuaded Gerry Granahan of Caprice Records to sign him. Using the name James Ray, his first recording was of Clark’s song, ‘If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody’. The record was a hit on both the Pop and R&B charts. The single was issued in the UK in 1962 as well, and the song was performed by The Beatles before being discovered by Freddie and the Dreamers, who took their cover of it into the UK Top 5 the year after.

“In the United States, Ray’s ‘Make A Fool’ was followed by an eponymous album that contained the follow-up single ‘Itty Bitty Pieces’, which reached #41 on the Billboard pop chart, as well as ‘Got My Mind Set on You’, also written by Clark, which had no chart impact.

“While in the United States to visit his sister living near Chicago, Illinois, a couple of months before Beatlemania exploded in the US, the Beatles’ George Harrison purchased a copy of Ray’s album in the summer of 1963 . Two-and-a-half decades later, Harrison covered ‘Got My Mind Set On You’ and took it to #1 in the US and Australia in early 1988.”

George Harrison, “Got My Mind Set on You” (1988):

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