Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Hello, It’s Me

First recorded by The Nazz (US #66 1968).
Hit version by Todd Rundgren (US #5 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Hello, It’s Me’ was the first original song written by Todd Rundgren. It was first recorded in 1968 by Rundgren’s band The Nazz and was included on the group’s self-titled debut album.

“Rundgren had been an avid listener of music but it was only when he put The Nazz together at the age of 19 that he realized that, as the band’s front man, he’d better start penning some original material. Although first released as the B-side of The Nazz’s debut single, ‘Open My Eyes’, ‘Hello, It’s Me’ was picked up in preference to the A-side by Boston radio station WMEX, where it rose to #1. It was picked up by other stations, but not enough to fare well nationally, so ‘Hello, It’s Me’ peaked at #66 in 1968 on the U.S. charts.

“When ‘Hello It’s Me’ was re-recorded by Rundgren, for release in 1973 on his Something/Anything album, he expected the album opener and first single release from the album, ‘I Saw the Light’, to be the big hit – even going as far as to say so tongue-in-cheek in the liner notes. But, the ‘Hello’ re-recording proved to have the greater appeal of the two and peaked at #5 in 1973 while ‘I Saw the Light’ reached only #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Rundgren’s songs in the early phase of his career were heavily influenced by the work of Laura Nyro, but said in a 2005 interview that the basic structure of ‘Hello It’s Me’ was adapted from the introduction of a Jimmy Smith recording, [saying]: ‘[T]he main influence for ‘Hello, It’s Me’ was an eight bar intro that Jimmy Smith played on a recording of ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’. He had this whole sort of block chord thing that he did to set up the intro of the song. I tried to capture those changes, and those changes became what are the changes underneath ‘Hello It’s Me.’ I then had to come up with melody and words, but the changes are actually almost lifted literally from something that was, from Jimmy Smith’s standpoint, a throwaway.'”

Todd Rundgren, “Hello, It’s Me” (1973):

“Hello, It’s Me” video compilation 43 Years and 11 Versions of Hello It’s Me:

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