Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Heaven Must Have Sent You

First recorded by The Elgins (US #50/R&B #9 1966 |UK #3 1971).
Other hit version by Bonnie Pointer (US #11 1979).

From the wiki: “The version by the Elgins, released on the Motown subsidiary V.I.P. Records label in 1966, reached #9 on the Billboard R&B chart and #50 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was reissued in the UK in 1971, and reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart. The Elgins’ backing vocals were augmented by The Andantes.

“Founding members Robert Fleming, Johnny Dawson, Cleo ‘Duke’ Miller and Norbert McClean recorded together for various small labels in Detroit prior to their Motown days, as the Sensations, the Five Emeralds, and the Downbeats, and also recorded as the Downbeats for Motown in 1962. The record company suggested that they add female lead vocalist Saundra Mallett, who had recorded unsuccessfully for the label, backed by The Vandellas.

“The new group’s first single release was ‘Darling Baby‘, issued in December 1965; early copies credited the record to the Downbeats, but Motown owner Berry Gordy wanted to use the name ‘Elgins’, which had previously been one of the names used by The Temptations.

“The Elgins broke up in 1967.

“‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’ was one of two remakes of Motown hits recorded by Bonnie Pointer for her 1978 self-titled solo debut album which was released by Motown. Pointer would later remember: ‘I wanted to cut that tune and the other old Motown tune: ‘When I’m Gone’, simply because I’ve always dug them.’ Pointer has also stated that she suggested to label owner Gordy that he have her remake the song as a disco track after hearing the Village People late 1978 hit ‘Y.M.C.A.’ and realized that ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’ would work well with a similar arrangement. Also, Pointer spontaneously ‘channeled’ Louis Armstrong while recording her vocal for the album version of ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’.”

Bonnie Pointer, “Heaven Must Have Sent You” single version (1979):

Bonnie Pointer, “Heaven Must Have Sent You” album version (1979):

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