Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Lady Godiva

Originally recorded by Paul Jones (1966).
Hit versions by Peter & Gordon (US #6/UK #16/CAN #1/AUS #1 1966), Alex Day (UK #15 2012).

From the wiki: “Written by Mike Leander, Charlie Mills, and Gordon Mills, ‘Lady Godiva’ is a music hall-style number which frivolously references the legend of Lady Godiva, re-imagining it in the modern day: a director from Hollywood witnesses her legendary ride (with ‘her long blonde hair’ obscuring her breasts and other private parts) and recruits the lady to star in his (pornographic) movie.

“Peter & Gordon’s producer John Burgess brought ‘Lady Godiva’ to the attention of the duo, which Burgess had recently produced for former Manfred Mann lead singer and harmonicist Paul Jones’ album My Way. Peter Asher recalls that he [Asher] objected to recording the song – the duo’s previous hits were almost all melancholy love songs. P&G’s other half, Gordon Waller, responded ‘It’ll be funny [so] shut up’.

“Peter & Gordon recorded ‘Lady Godiva’ at Abbey Road Studios, reuniting the pair with Geoff Love who, after arranging and conducting the duo’s first six singles, had sat out their last three A-sides. ‘Lady Godiva’ would become the Peter & Gordon’s first US Top-10 hit since ‘I Go to Pieces’ in 1965; in fact, it would become Peter & Gordon’s highest-charting US hit.

“It was been reported that the mayor of Coventry attempted to suppress local airplay of the single: Peter Asher would recall hearing that the mayor felt the song ‘was insulting to his city or something’ although Asher later claimed to have had no immediate awareness of this purported boycott.

“In 2012, the song was covered and released as single by English musician Alex Day. It was Day’s first single to get a physical release in UK record stores following a distribution deal with Universal Music.”

Peter & Gordon, “Lady Godiva” (1966):

Alex Day, “Lady Godiva” (2012):

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