Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Written and first recorded by Rod McKuen (1969).
Hit version by Oliver (US #2 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Jean’ was written by the American poet and composer Rod McKuen (‘Seasons in the Sun‘) who first recorded the song in 1969 as the theme to the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. ‘Jean’ would go to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Original Song. Although released as a single in the summer of 1969, McKuen’s version of the song failed to reach the American music charts. A cover of ‘Jean’ would later be released in 1969 by Oliver, selected as the follow-up single to Oliver’s hit ‘Good Morning Starshine’. Of the ‘Jean’ recording, Oliver would recall: ‘We had no idea it would be a [hit] single. It was a 3/4 ballad in the psychedelic era … it was a beautiful arrangement.'”

Oliver, “Jean” (1969):