Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Mama Told Me Not to Come

Originally recorded by Eric Burdon (1966).
Also recorded by Randy Newman (1970).
Hit versions (titled “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”) by Three Dog Night (US #1 1970), Tom Jones & Stereophonics (UK #4 2000).

From the wiki: “‘Mama Told Me (Not to Come)’ is a song by Randy Newman written for Eric Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. A scheduled single-release of September 1966 was withdrawn, but the song was eventually included on the US-only 1967 album Eric Is Here (billed as ‘Eric Burdon & The Animals’ although the actual band with Burdon is the Horace Ott Orchestra).

“The songwriter, Randy Newman, says that the song was inspired by his own lighthearted reflection on the Los Angeles music scene of the late 1960s. However, the song is not strictly autobiographical; Newman uses a green narrator, a sheltered and extraordinarily straight-laced young man, who recounts what is presumably his first ‘wild’ party in the big city. The young man is shocked and appalled by everything he sees (including cigarette-smoking, whiskey-drinking, drunkenness, and loud music) and—in the chorus of the song—he recalls his ‘mama told [him] not to come.’

“Three Dog Night released a longer, Rock ‘n roll and Funk-inspired version (titled ‘Mama Told Me (Not to Come)’) on It Ain’t Easy. Three Dog Night’s cover topped the U.S. Pop singles charts. This was the very first #1 song played on the debut broadcast of Kasey Kasem’s American Top 40 on July 4, 1970 (a show that also featured the very last time both Elvis Presley and The Beatles had songs simultaneously in the US Top 10).

“Newman’s own version of his song was released on the 1970 album 12 Songs, and was characterized by Newman’s mid-tempo, rollicking piano accompaniment as well as Ry Cooder’s understated slide guitar part, both of which give the song the feel of a bluesy Ray Charles-style R&B number.

“Tom Jones & Stereophonics recorded a cover in 2000 that peaked at #4 on the UK Singles chart.”

Randy Newman (composer), “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (1970):

Three Dog Night, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” (1970):

Tom Jones & Stereophonics, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” (2000):

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