Originally recorded by Chris Farlowe (UK #33 1967).
Also recorded by Mike d’Abo, composer (1970), Kate Taylor (1971).
Other hit versions by Chase (US #84 1971), Rod Stewart (1969 |US #42 1972), Big George (2000), Stereophonics (UK #4/IRE #3 2001).
From the wiki: “‘Handbags and Gladrags’ was written by Mike d’Abo (Manfred Mann). In November 1967, singer Chris Farlowe was the first to release a version of the song, produced by d’Abo. It became a #33 hit in the United Kingdom for Farlowe from the album The Last Goodbye. In 1969, Rod Stewart recorded a version for his album An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down.
“Stewart’s version of the song was also arranged by d’Abo, who doubled as the pianist on the recording. The song failed to garner significant sales or airplay in the United States upon its initial release but, when it was re-released as a single in 1972, it managed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Composer d’Abo would make a full studio recording of the song for his album d’Abo (1970).
“Kate Taylor, sister of James, recorded a version of ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ in 1971 on her debut album, Sister Kate, notable if only for its background vocalists: Linda Ronstadt, Merry Clayton, and Carole King (who also played piano on the album).
“In 1971, Bill Chase and his jazz/rock fusion group Chase recorded a version as a single but it did not chart. The track was included on the group’s 1971 debut album Chase, which did reach #22 on the Billboard Album chart.
“In 2000, a version of ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ was specifically arranged by Big George as the theme song on the BBC series The Office. The short and full vocal versions of the song produced for the series were recorded by Waysted vocalist Fin Muir.
“In 2001, the band Stereophonics released a version of the song on a single which became so popular – it peaked at #4 on the UK Singles chart – the track was belatedly added to their album Just Enough Education to Perform.
“d’Abo’s original demo tape of the song was discovered in 2004 in a closet belonging to Mo Foster (a session musician who had worked with d’Abo). It was amongst a collection of studio recordings d’Abo had recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The collection, including the demo recording, was eventually released on the Angel Air label under the title of Missing Gems & Treasured Friends.”
Rod Stewart, “Handbags and Gladrags” (1969|1972):
Mike d’Abo, “Handbags and Gladrags” (1970):
Kate Taylor, “Handbags and Gladrags” (1971):
Chase, “Handbags and Gladrags” (1971):
Big George, “Handbags and Gladrags” instrumental opening and closing credits from The Office (2000):
Big George, “Handbags and Gladrags” full vocal version from The Office (2000):
Stereophonics, “Handbags and Gladrags” (2001):