Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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It’s in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)

First recorded by Merry Clayton (1963).
Also recorded by Ramona King (1963).
Hit versions by Betty Everett (US #6/R&B #1 1963 |UK #38 1968), The Searchers (1964), Bootleg Family Band (AUS #5 1974), Linda Lewis (UK #6 1975), Kate Taylor (US #49 1977), Cher (US #33/UK #1/IRE #1/SPN #1/NOR #1 1990).
Also performed by Linda Ronstadt & Phoebe Snow (1979).

From the wiki: “‘It’s in His Kiss’ was first rejected by the premier girl-group of the early 1960s, the New York-based Shirelles, and was instead first recorded in Los Angeles by Merry Clayton as her first credited single. Clayton had previously provided an uncredited female vocal to the hit ‘You’re the Reason I’m Living’ recorded by Bobby Darin as his debut on Capitol Records, and Darin had subsequently arranged for Clayton herself to be signed to Capitol.

“Clayton recorded ‘It’s in His Kiss’ – whose composer Rudy Clark was a staff writer for TM Music which Bobby Darin headed – in a session produced by Jack Nitzsche with The Blossoms (‘Stoney End‘, ‘He’s a Rebel‘) as chorale: the single was released June 10 1963 with no evident chart success.

“Clayton became better known for her 1969 performance in a duet with Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones song ‘Gimme Shelter’. Clayton also sang backing vocals on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Early in her career, Clayton sang backup vocals for Tom Jones, Joe Cocker (‘Feelin’ Alright‘) and Carole King. She also originated the role of the Acid Queen in the original 1972 London production of The Who’s Tommy.

“The next evident recording of ‘It’s in His Kiss’ was made in Los Angeles by Ramona King, an R&B singer from San Francisco: this version was produced in late 1963 by Joe Saraceno and former Phil Spector associate Jerry Riopelle and released on Warner Brothers in February 1964, one-week prior to the release of Betty Everett’s version. Although Everett’s single was more likely to receive airplay due to her being an established hitmaker (with ‘You’re No Good‘), Vee-Jay feared losing sales to the King version and opted to distinguish Everett’s version by issuing it under the title ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ referring to the song’s background vocals. ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ reached the US Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1964.

“‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ had its first significant UK profile performed by a male act, The Searchers — with Mike Pender on lead – who cut the song as ‘It’s in Her Kiss’ for their April 1964 album It’s the Searchers (‘Needles and Pins‘) which peaked at UK #4. In 1974 the song was remade by Australian band the Bootleg Family Band: ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ was a Top 5 hit for the band who later on became known as Avalanche. ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ first became a major UK hit in 1975 via a disco version by Linda Lewis, featuring Luther Vandross as a background vocalist.

“Kate Taylor remade ‘It’s in His Kiss’ in 1977 at the suggestion of her brother, Livingston Taylor. An acoustic rendition featuring a counter vocal by Kate’s other brother, James Taylor, – who co-produced the track – became Kate’s sole Billboard Hot 100 hit, and was then included her 1978 self-titled album.

“On the May 19, 1979 broadcast of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Maureen Stapleton, Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow performed ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ as a duet. In 2008, Snow recalled that she and Ronstadt ‘always talked about’ recording ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ adding, ‘Maybe we still will’, although the duet remained unrecorded at the time of Snow’s April 26, 2011 death. Ronstadt would also perform the song, solo, on an 1980 broadcast of The Muppet Show.

“Cher’s 1990 remake was cut for the soundtrack of her film Mermaids (where it played under the closing credits), and the single’s US release coincided with the November release of the film. It peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in the UK, where it remained #1 for five weeks, selling a total of 520,000 copies, making it one of the biggest-selling singles by a female artist in Britain in the 1990s. Her recording also topped the charts in Austria, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Spain.”

Ramona King, “It’s in His Kiss” (1963):

Betty Everett, “The Shoop Shoop Song” (1963):

The Searchers, “It’s in Her Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)” (1964):

The Bootleg Family Band, “The Shoop Shoop Song” (1974):

Linda Lewis, “It’s In His Kiss” (1975):

Kate Taylor, “It’s in His Kiss” (1977):

Linda Ronstadt, ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ from The Muppet Show (1980):

Cher, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” (1990):

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