Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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I Don’t Know How to Love Him

First recorded by Yvonne Elliman (US #28/MOR #15 1971 |UK #47 1972).
Other hit versions by Helen Reddy (US #13/MOR #12/CAN #8/AUS #2 1971), Petula Clark (UK #47 1972).

From the wiki: “‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice song for the 1970 Rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The song has been much recorded with it becoming one of only a handful of songs to have two concurrent recordings simultaneously reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ had first been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, originally titled ‘Kansas Morning’. (The melody’s main theme has come under some scrutiny for being non-original, bearing a resemblance to a theme from Mendelssohn’s ‘Violin Concerto in E Minor’.) Rice wrote new lyrics to ‘Kansas Morning’ when Lloyd Webber and he completed Jesus Christ Superstar in January 1970. Now, entitled ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, the completed song was recorded at a June 1970 Decca Records recording session by Yvonne Elliman – in one take.

“The choice for a single release from the album (on Decca in the UK; on MCA in the US) went to the title track, though – ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, sung Murray Head. Meanwhile, Capitol Records executive Artie Mogull had heard the potential for a smash hit in ‘I Don’t Know …’ and first pitched the song to Linda Ronstadt, who was then on the Capitol roster.

“After being advised by Ronstadt that she hated the song, Mogull invited the then-unknown Helen Reddy to record the song as part of a one-off-single deal with Capitol, intending the song to serve as B-side for the song Reddy herself wished to record – a Mac Davis composition, ‘I Believe in Music’. It was only after Reddy’s cover began moving up the charts in the spring of 1971 that the original recording by Elliman was also issued, belatedly, as a single. Elliman’s version reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100; Reddy’s version was more successful, peaking at #13.

“In early 1972, Elliman’s ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ was issued in the UK on a double A-side single with Head’s ‘Superstar’. With this release Elliman faced competition again, against a cover by Petula Clark, but neither version became a major hit, with both arrangements peaking at #47 on the UK Singles chart.”

Helen Reddy, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (1970):

Petula Clark, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (1972):

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