Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Love is Strange

First recorded by Bo Diddley (May 1956, released 2007).
Hit versions by Mickey & Sylvia (US #11/R&B #1 October 1956), Maddox Brothers & Rose (C&W #82 1957), Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (R&B #42 1964), The Everly Brothers (UK #11, 1965), Peaches & Herb (US #13/R&B #16 1967).
Also recorded by Wings (1971).

From the wiki: “The song was based on a guitar riff by Jody Williams. The song was written by Bo Diddley under the name of his wife at the time, Ethel Smith. The first recorded version of ‘Love Is Strange’ was performed by Diddley, who completed it in a session on May 24, 1956 with Williams on lead guitar.

“However, Diddley’s version was not released until its appearance in 2007 on I’m a Man: The Chess Masters, 1955-1958. (Diddley would maintain that he just never got around to releasing the record.)

“Mickey Baker and Sylvia Robinson, the duo Mickey & Sylvia, recorded their arrangement several months later on October 17, 1956 – differentiated from Diddley’s recording by Baker’s lead guitar and the famous spoken-work section in the middle.

“It topped the R&B chart at #1 and peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 on March 6, 1957, managing also to garner the duo a co-writing credit for their spoken-word cameo. Mickey’s guitar stylings, especially his soloing on ‘Love Is Strange’, inspired a plethora of future guitarists including Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground, and covered by dozens of other performers including the Everly Brothers, and Paul McCartney & Wings. Jerry Allison, of Buddy Holly’s Crickets, has suggested that Baker’s arrangement of ‘Love is Strange’ was the inspiration behind Holly’s own ‘Words of Love’.

“Soon after Mickey & Sylvia’s chart ascent, Maddox Brothers & Rose recorded a cover that peaked at #82 on the Country Singles chart. Other charting versions include an pseudo-cha-cha arrangement released in 1964 by Betty Everett and Jerry Butler, Phil and Don Everly’s UK-charting single in 1965 (with Billy Preston on piano), and a decidingly uptempo cover by Peaches & Herb in 1967.

“‘Love is Strange’, done as reggae, also appeared on Wings’ debut album, Wild Life, in 1971, with the idea it would be released as a single. (It wasn’t. A promotional single was distributed in the UK by Apple in December 1971 with catalogue No. R5932, but the commercial release was cancelled due to poor album sales.)

“In 2004 ‘Love Is Strange’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its influence as a rock and roll single.”

Mickey & Sylvia, “Love is Strange” (1956):

Maddox Brothers & Rose, “Love is Strange” (1957):

Betty Everett & Jerry Butler, “Love is Strange” (1964):

The Everly Brothers, “Love is Strange” (1965):

Peaches & Herb, “Love is Strange” (1967):

Paul McCartney & Wings, “Love is Strange” (1971):

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