Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Hungry Eyes

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Franke & The Knockouts (1987, released 1999).
Hit version by Eric Carmen (US #4/UK #82/CAN #2 1987).

From the wiki: “Songwriters Franke Previte and John De Nicola, of Franke & The Knockouts, wrote and first recorded the song as a demo that would find its way onto the Dirty Dancing movie soundtrack. (The pair also composed ‘(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life’ for the same movie.) Franke & The Knockouts recorded for Millenium Records, which was helmed by Jimmy Ienner, who asked Franke for songs when Ienner began producing the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Previte remembers: ‘Jimmy had closed his label and ‘Hungry Eyes’ was a song on my demo reel, because I was trying to get a new recording contract. No one thought the song had a chance. I guess history proves them wrong.’

“Eric Carmen, who had not had a hit recording since 1978, recalls: ‘One day, my former producer, Jimmy Ienner, called and said he was working on the film Dirty Dancing. He had this one song, and he thought I was the guy to sing it. He sent the tape. It sounded like Air Supply with Led Zeppelin’s drummer. It was very strange. But through it, you could hear there was actually a pretty good song in there somewhere. The next thing I knew, Dirty Dancing sold 15 million albums, and all of a sudden, I was a performer again.’

“The original demo of ‘Hungry Eyes’ was released, first, in 1999 on the Franke & the Knockouts greatest-hits compilation album, The Sweetest Collection and, again, in 2010 as part of the compilation album Dirty Dancing: The Original Demos, to raise money for the Patrick Swayze Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation at Stanford University.”

Eric Carmen, “Hungry Eyes” (1987):

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