Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Save Me

Based on “Help Me (Get the Feeling)” by Ray Sharpe & The King Curtis Orchestra (1966).
Also recorded (as “Help Me”) by Owen Gray (1966).
Inspired by “Gloria” by Them (1964).
Hit album version by Aretha Franklin (1967).
Also recorded by Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger With The Trinity (1968), Nina Simone (1969).
Also recorded (as “Instant Groove”) by King Curtis (1969).

From Vinyl Witness: “One of the more interesting musical reinventions in 60′s Soul & Pop is ‘Help Me’ by Ray Sharpe with the King Curtis Orchestra. The track is revered among collectors as one of the first appearances by a young James ‘Jimi’ Marshall Hendrix on guitar. Jimi Hendrix at the time was in King Curtis’s band, who backed Sharpe on this track. In addition to the early notoriety, the song went on to have unexpected second and third lives.

“‘Help Me’ began as a simple progression from King Curtis, Atlantic Records’ go-to band leader at the time. It was based on the recent hit, ‘Gloria‘, by Them.

“After its relative failure to light the charts on fire, Curtis recycled the track for the debut Atlantic release of a new signing with some promise, Aretha Franklin. ‘Retha and her sister Carolyn wrote new lyrics or, more accurately, wrote actual verses for the first time, and a MAJOR classic was born. Aretha is soul personified and it’s impossible not to like any song that name checks Batman and The Green Hornet in its fading moments.

“In 1966, one of Jamaica’s ‘Foundation’ singers, Owen Gray, covered ‘Help Me’. King Curtis recycle ‘Help Me/Save Me’ into his 1969 recording, ‘Instant Groove’.”

From the wiki: “‘Save Me’ was released on I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, the eleventh studio album by Aretha Franklin. Released in March 1967 by Atlantic Records, the album went to #2 on the Billboard Album Chart and #1 on the magazine’s Black Albums Chart. It was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1967. It received a #83 ranking on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Them, “Gloria” (1964):

Owen Gray, “Help Me” (1966):

Aretha Franklin, “Save Me” (1967):

Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger With The Trinity, “Save Me” (1968):

Nina Simone, “Save Me” (1969):

King Curtis, “Instant Groove” (1969):

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