Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Rock Me on the Water

First recorded by Johnny Rivers (1971).
Also recorded by Brewer & Shipley (1971).
Hit version by Jackson Browne (US #48 1972).

From the wiki: “‘Rock Me on the Water’ is an oft-covered song written singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. The title was released as the second single from his 1972 debut album, Jackson Browne, following the #7 success of Browne’s debut single, “Doctor My Eyes.” Browne’s version reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Sept. 23, 1972.

“Johnny Rivers was the first to release a recording of ‘Rock Me on the Water,’ including the song on his 1971 album Homegrown. It was not released as a single. Brewer & Shipley also recorded the song for release in 1971, on their album Shake Off the Demon.

“Browne was performing the song as early as autumn 1970, and says that the song, with its reference to the ‘sisters of the sun,’ pays homage to his real-life sisters. Note: The original single from 1972 and the version on Browne’s self-titled album are actually two different performances of the song – the timing discrepancy is not due to an edit of the album version.

“Bruce Springsteen referenced the song in his speech upon the induction of Browne into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 saying: ‘Listen to the chord changes of ‘Rock Me on the Water’ and ‘Before the Deluge,’ it’s gospel through and through.'”

Brewer & Shipley, “Rock Me on the Water” (1971):

Jackson Browne, “Rock Me on the Water” single version (1972):

Jackson Browne, “Rock Me on the Water” album version (1972):

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