Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Written and originally recorded (as “Brandy”) by Scott English (US #91/UK #12 1971).
Other hit versions by Bunny Walters (NZ #4 1972), Barry Manilow (US #1/MOR #1/UK #11/CAN #1 1974).

From the wiki: “Under the title ‘Brandy’, the selection’s original title, the song charted in 1971 for Scott English, one of its co-writers (along with Richard Kerr, who would go on to later write ‘Somewhere in the Night‘ and ‘I’ll Never Love This Way Again‘), whose version of it reached #12 in the UK Singles Charts. It was also released in the United States, but barely made the Billboard Hot 100.

“The suggestion that the song is about a favorite dog is apparently an urban legend. English has said that a reporter called him early one morning asking who ‘Brandy’ was, and an irritated English made up the ‘dog’ story to get the reporter off his back.

“In 1972, New Zealand singer Bunny Walters recorded ‘Brandy’ and had a Top-5 hit with it in his homeland.

“Arista Records label president Clive Davis claims it was he who suggested the song to Barry Manilow, to record for his second album (the first to be distributed by Arista). In the three years between the song’s original release and Manilow’s recordings, Looking Glass’s ‘Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)’ had topped the chart. Therefore, to avoid confusion, when Manilow agreed to record English’s ‘Brandy’, he changed the title to ‘Mandy’.

“In the studio, the first attempts were arranged similar to the original – as an up-tempo bubblegum pop tune. But, disliking the results, Manilow and his producer, Ron Dante, rearranged ‘Brandy/Mandy’ as a ballad. ‘Mandy’ became Manilow’s first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts, and his first gold single. It also topped the Canadian music chart.”

Bunny Walters, “Brandy” (NZ, 1972):

Barry Manilow, “Mandy” (1974):