Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Happy Heart

Co-written and first recorded (as an instrumental) by The James Last Orchestra (1969).
Hit versions by Nick DeCaro (MOR #22 1969), Petula Clark (US #62/MOR #12 1969/AUS #22), Andy Williams (US #22/MOR #1/UK #19/AUS #22 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Happy Heart’ was written by James Last and Jackie Rae, and was first recorded as an instrumental by The James Last Orchestra in 1969. It was first covered by Nick DeCaro, a version which enjoyed modest success in the U.S. on the Billboard MOR chart. ‘Happy Heart’ would go on to be recorded by both Petula Clark and Andy Williams.

“Clark was reportedly dismayed when Williams, guest-starring on her second U.S. television special, made known his intention to perform ‘Happy Heart’ at the time each were planning to launch arrangements of the song as their next respective single. ‘Happy Heart’ would be released as promotional singles by each simultaneously in March 1969. Williams performed ‘Happy Heart’ on Portrait of Petula on April 7.

“The differences between the arrangements of the two vocal versions stood out for critics. Billboard described both of them in one capsule review, which also appeared in the March 22 issue. ‘Miss Clark’s reading is soulful with a driving slow beat. Williams’s, produced by Jerry Fuller, is a brighter tempo with much jukebox appeal as well.’

“Clark and Williams each debuted ‘Happy Heart’ on Billboard‘s MOR chart in the April 5 [1969] issue, but Clark reached only #12 during a seven week run there. Williams, on the other hand, enjoyed two weeks at #1 during a 14-week stay. Both recordings also made their first appearances on the magazine’s Hot 100 in the April 12 issue, which began a five-week run for Clark that took the song as high as #62. During his 11 weeks on the Hot 100, Williams went to #22.

“Williams’ version also began a 10-week run on the UK Singles chart on May 13 [1969], where it reached #19. Clark’s arrangement did not chart in the U.K.

“Co-writer Jackie Rae was a Canadian singer, songwriter and television performer. He began performing at the age of three with his brother and sister on the vaudeville circuit in Canada. During World War II, Rae flew Spitfires as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. After four years as head of the CBC’s radio and television division, in 1956 Rae stepped in front of the camera as star of TV’s The Jackie Rae Show, which aired for two seasons before he relocated to London, where he hosted the BBC television series Jackie Rae Presents and Sunday Night at the Palladium. Rae also co-authored Engelbert Humperdinck’s ‘When There’s No You’ and Tony Bennett’s ‘Dream Just a Dream.'”

Nick DeCaro, “Happy Heart” (1969):

Petula Clark, “Happy Heart” (1969):

Andy Williams, “Happy Heart” (1969):

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