Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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More Than I Can Say

Written and originally recorded by The Crickets (UK #42 1960).
Other hit versions by Bobby Vee (US #61/UK #4 1961), Leo Sayer (US #2/UK #2 1980).

“‘More Than I Can Say’ is a tune penned by Sonny Curtis (‘I Fought the Law‘) and Jerry Allison, who were both part of Buddy Holly’s former supporting ensemble, The Crickets. This heartfelt composition was recorded in 1959, shortly after Holly’s tragic passing, and subsequently released in 1960. This original rendition of the song managed to climb to #42 on the British Record Retailer Chart, marking its chart debut on May 12, 1960.

“The following year Bobby Vee, known for his other chart-toppers like ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ and ‘The Night Has a Thousand Eyes,’ decided to lend his voice to ‘More Than I Can Say.’ This rendition found its place at #61 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, across the Atlantic Ocean in the United Kingdom, the song and its B-side, ‘Staying In,’ ascended to an impressive #4 on the UK Singles Chart.

“Meanwhile, in a twist of fate, Leo Sayer stumbled upon the song while searching for a classic track to record for his album ‘Living in a Fantasy’ in 1980. It all began with a TV commercial promoting a greatest hits collection by Bobby Vee. Captivated by ‘More Than I Can Say,’ Sayer promptly decided to give it a go, recalling: ‘We walked into a record store that very afternoon, bought the record, and had the song recorded that very night.’

“Prior to this, Sayer had already enjoyed significant success with two number-one singles in the U.S., namely ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ and ‘When I Need You,’ both released in 1977. The cover version of ‘More Than I Can Say’ came close to claiming the top spot as well, lingering at the second position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five weeks during December 1980 and January 1981. Unfortunately, it was unable to snatch the crown, as ‘Lady’ by Kenny Rogers and ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ by John Lennon held onto the coveted top positions respectively over the course of those five weeks.”

Bobby Vee, “More Than I Can Say” (1961):

Leo Sayer, “More Than I Can Say” (1980):

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