Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Long Train Runnin’

First recorded (as a demo) by The Doobie Brothers (c. 1970)
Hit versions by The Doobie Brothers (US #8/CAN #8/NETH #10 1973/NZ #15/SA #11), Traks (FRA #62/GER #18 1982), Bananarama (UK #30/IRE #18/ITA #33/POR #10 1991), Doobie Brothers (remix UK #7/IRE #14/BEL #32 1993).

From the wiki: “Back before The Doobie Brothers signed their first recording contract, they were a biker bar band in California. On one occasion, the band went into the studio to record some demos. One would eventually become known as ‘Long Train Running’.

“Lead singer and songwriter Tom Johnston explained that it began as a song with no real lyrics, merely providing filler on the group’s set list in their early days playing live. Names for the song included ‘Rosey Pig Mosely’, ‘Parliament’ and ‘Osborne’.

“Upon signing with Warner Brothers Records, producer Ted Templeman heard the song and suggested they should cut it. At that point, Johnston gave the song some lyrics built around a transportation theme, and the song with multiple names finally settled on a permanent one.

“‘Long Train Runnin” was included on the band’s 1973 album The Captain and Me and released as a single, becoming a Top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #8. Johnston performed the lead vocal and performed the distinctive, rhythmic guitar strumming that propels the song. The signature harmonica solo was performed by Norton Buffalo.

“In the early ’80s, the Italian dance remix band Traks hit the West German and French music charts with their arrangement of ‘Long Train Runnin”. A decade after that, “Long Train Runnin'” became a hit in the UK – twice. In 1991, the song was covered by English girl group Bananarama, peaking at #30 on the UK Singles charts. Then, in 1993, the Doobie Brothers version was remixed, again, for the greatest hits compilation Listen to the Music: The Very Best of the Doobie Brothers and hit the UK Top 10.”

The Doobie Brothers, “Long Train Runnin'” (1972):

Traks, “Long Train Runnin'” (1982):

Bananarama, “Long Train Runnin'” (1991):

The Doobie Brothers, “Long Train Runnin'” remix (1993):

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