Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Never Been to Spain

Written and first recorded by Hoyt Axton (1971).
Hit versions by Three Dog Night (US #5/MOR #18/CAN #3/AUS #34 1972), Ronnie Sessions (C&W #34 1972).
Also recorded by Elvis Presley (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Never Been to Spain’ was written by Hoyt Axton (‘Joy to the World‘,’No No Song‘), and was first recorded for and released on his 1971 LP Joy to the World. It would later be recorded later that same year by Three Dog Night, with Cory Wells on lead vocal, and was featured on the album, Harmony. Released as the second single from the album (after ‘An Old Fashioned Love Song‘), ‘Never Been to Spain’ peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #18 on the MOR chart in 1972.

“The lyrics to ‘Never Been to Spain’ consist of the narrator ruminating on places that he has never visited, but feels that he has some proxy experience of, via the music or other features of those places, or from having gone to similar locations. In the final verse, he observes that while he has ‘never been to heaven,’ he has ‘been to Oklahoma,’ where he was told he was born, thus implying a kinship between the two places. Hoyt Axton explained that he originally wrote, ‘…in Oklahoma, born in a coma….’ However, that was considered inappropriate and the lyric was changed to ‘not Arizona.'”

“Ronnie Sessions covered ‘Never Been to Spain’ in 1972, releasing the song as his debut single, peaking at #34 on the Country singles chart. Other notable cover recordings from 1972 include recordings by Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, and Cher.”

Three Dog Night, “Never Been to Spain” (1971):

Ronnie Sessions, “Never Been to Spain” (1972):

Elvis Presley, “Never Been to Spain” (1972):

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