Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Save the Country

Written and first recorded by Laura Nyro (1968).
Also recorded by The Magnificent Men (1969), Brian Auger & the Trinity (1969), Thelma Houston (1970).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #27/MOR #10/CAN #24/AUS #79 1970).

From the wiki: “Laura Nyro wrote ‘Save the Country’ as her reaction to Robert Kennedy’s assassination in June, 1968, and recorded the original version of the song with just a piano accompaniment. It was released as a single in 1968 and did not chart, but would later be included on Nyro’s 1969 album New York Tendaberry, her most commercially-successful album. (‘Time and Love’ from the album would also see commercial release as a single in 1970, by Barbra Streisand.)

“Among early versions of ‘Save the Country’ that didn’t chart was one recorded in 1969 by the seven-piece R&B band, The Magnificent Men, the first white act ever to headline New York City’s Apollo Theater. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity included their recording of ‘Save the Country’ as the last track of their 1969 double-LP, Streetnoise. Thelma Houston (‘Don’t Leave Me This Way‘) recorded the song after the release of her debut album, Sunshower, in 1969.

“The most successful version of ‘Save the Country’ was recorded by The 5th Dimension (‘Wedding Bell Blues‘, ‘Stoned Soul Picnic‘), for their 1970 album Portrait.”

The Magnificent Men, “Save the Country” (1969):

Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity, “Save the Country” (1969):

Thelma Houston, “Save the Country” (1970):

The 5th Dimension, “Save the Country” (1970):