Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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One Tin Soldier

First recorded by The Original Caste (CAN #6 1969 |US #34 1970).
Other hit versions by Coven (US #17 1971 |US #79 1973), Skeeter Davis (C&W #54/CAN #4 1972).

From the wiki: “‘One Tin Soldier’ is a 1960s counterculture era anti-war song written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. Canadian pop group The Original Caste first recorded the song in 1969. The track went to #6 on the (Canadian) RPM Magazine charts, hit the #1 position on CHUM-AM in Toronto on 27 December 1969, and reached #34 on the American pop charts in early 1970.

“In 1971 a cover recording became a bigger US hit for Coven, whose re-recording featuring its lead singer, Jinx Dawson, was featured in the film Billy Jack. Dawson asked that her band, Coven, be listed on the recording and film, not her name as a solo artist. The single went to #17 on the Billboard pop chart before it was pulled from radio by the film’s producer.

“The full Coven band then re-recorded the song in 1973 for their MGM album. The self-titled album, Coven, containing this third version of ‘One Tin Soldier’ displayed the group’s whited-out faces on the cover, contrived again by the film’s producer Tom Laughlin. The re-recording hit the charts again in 1973 but achieved only modest chart success compared to Coven’s earlier 1971 release. Still, Coven’s recording was named Number One All Time Requested Song in 1971 and 1973 by the American Radio Broadcasters Association.

“A 1972 remake by Skeeter Davis had some success on the US Country singles chart but the recording did much better in Canada, peaking at #4 on the Canadian Country chart. Davis received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal for her recording.”

Coven, “One Tin Soldier” original Billy Jack soundtrack (1971):

Coven, “One Tin Soldier” single re-recording (1973):

Skeeter Davis, “One Tin Soldier” TV performance (1972):