Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Let’s Live for Today

First recorded (as”Piangi Con Me”) by The Rokes (1967).
First recorded (in English) by The Rokes (1967).
Also recorded (and first released) by The Living Daylights (1967).
Hit version by The Grass Roots (US #8 1967).

From the wiki: “The song that would become ‘Let’s Live for Today’ was originally written by David Shapiro and Ivan Mogul in 1966, with Italian lyrics and the Italian title of ‘Piangi Con Me’ (translated as ‘Cry with Me’). At the time, Shapiro was a member of The Rokes, an English beat group who had relocated to Italy in 1963. Following its success on the Italian charts, plans were made to release ‘Piangi Con Me’ in the United Kingdom and as a result, the song was translated into English and given the new title of ‘Passing Thru Grey’. However, the song’s publisher in Britain, Dick James Music, was unhappy with the lyrics of “Passing Thru Grey” and decided that they should be changed.

“Michael Julien, a member of the publisher’s writing staff, was assigned the task of composing new words for the song and it was his input that transformed it into ‘Let’s Live for Today’. Before the Rokes could release the song in the UK, however, another British group, The Living Daylights, released a version of it. Ultimately, neither The Living Daylights nor The Rokes would reach the charts with their recording of the song.

“But the composer/producer team of P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri, who managed The Grass Roots’ recordings, were enthusiastic about the song, with Sloan being particularly enamored with the similarities that the song’s chorus had to The Drifters’ ‘I Count the Tears’, and it would be recorded by The Grass Roots, with the help of a number of studio musicians, including Sloan on lead guitar, and released as a single in May 1967.

“As well as being popular with domestic American audiences, ‘Let’s Live for Today’ also found favor with young American men serving overseas in the Vietnam War, as Bruce Eder of the Allmusic website has noted: ‘Where the single really struck a resonant chord was among men serving in Vietnam; the song’s serious emotional content seemed to overlay perfectly with the sense of uncertainty afflicting most of those in combat; parts of the lyric could have echoed sentiments in any number of letters home, words said on last dates, and thoughts directed to deeply missed wives and girlfriends.'”

The Living Daylights, “Let’s Live for Today” (1967):

The Grass Roots, “Let’s Live for Today” (1967):

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