Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Rose Garden

First recorded by Billy Joe Royal (1967).
Also recorded by Dobie Gray (US #119 1969), Joe South, writer (1969), The Three Degrees (1970), .
Hit versions by Lynn Anderson (US #3/C&W #1/UK #3 1970), Sandi Shaw (UK #57 1971).

From the wiki: “‘Rose Garden’ was written by Joe South (‘Down in the Boondocks’) and first recorded by Billy Joe Royal (‘Down in the Boondocks’, ‘Hush‘) in 1967 for the album Billy Joe Royal Featuring Hush.

“Several cover versions were recorded soon thereafter (sometimes titled ‘(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden’), including productions by the writer, Joe South, Dobie Gray and The Three Degrees, before Lynn Anderson took ‘Rose Garden’ to the top of the US Country Singles chart. Anderson had wanted to record the song but her producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton felt it was a ‘man’s song’, in part because of the line ‘I could promise you things like big diamond rings’.

“But, after arranging a more up-tempo, light-hearted melody, Sutton and the studio musicians were impressed with the results. Columbia Records’ executive Clive Davis was equally impressed and insisted the song be released as a single in both the country and pop markets. Shortly after its breakthrough on US Top 40 radio, the song became an international hit. A cover version released by Sandie Shaw in the UK failed to break the UK Top-40, as Anderson’s version also quickly became a major success there.”

Dobie Gray, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” (1969):

Joe South, “Rose Garden” (1969):

The Three Degrees, “Rose Garden” (1970):

Sandi Shaw, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” (1970):

Lynn Anderson, “Rose Garden” (1970):

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