Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Hasten Down the Wind

Written and first recorded by Warren Zevon (1976).
Hit album version by Linda Ronstadt (1976).

From the wiki: “‘Hasten Down the Wind’ was song written and first recorded by Warren Zevon, featured on his eponymous major-label 1976 debut album. The track was produced by Jackson Browne, who had met Zevon in the mid-seventies. Their relationship played a significant role in Zevon’s career thereafter. It was with Browne’s assistance that Zevon got a major record contract. Zevon’s version of the song features Phil Everly singing harmony vocals, and also David Lindley playing slide guitar.

“During the early 1970s, Zevon toured regularly with The Everly Brothers as keyboard player, band leader, and musical coordinator. Later, he toured and recorded with Don Everly and Phil Everly separately, as they each attempted to launch solo careers after the breakup of their duo. Zevon’s own dissatisfaction with his career (and a lack of funds) led him to move to Spain in the summer of 1975, where he lived and played in the Dubliner Bar, a small tavern in Sitges, near Barcelona, owned by David Lindell, a former mercenary. (Together they composed ‘Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner’.)

“By September 1975, Zevon had returned to Los Angeles where he roomed with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who had by now gained fame as members of Fleetwood Mac. There Zevon met and collaborated with Jackson Browne, who produced and promoted Zevon’s major-label debut album, Warren Zevon, in 1976. Contributors to the album included Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, members of the Eagles, Carl Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, and Bonnie Raitt.

“‘Hasten Down the Wind’ was later covered in 1976 by Linda Ronstadt (with Don Henley singing harmony), who used the song – one of three she would eventually cover from the Zevon album, including ‘Poor Poor Pitiful Me’ – as the title track for her seventh solo LP, Hasten Down the Wind, also released in 1976. That album, which yielded the hits singles ‘That’ll Be the Day’, ‘Someone to Lay Down Besides’, and ‘Crazy’, earned her a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female) in early 1977. The album also topped the US Country album chart.”

Linda Ronstadt, “Hasten Down the Wind” (1976):

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