Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Second Avenue

Written and first recorded by Tim Moore (US #58 1974).
Other hit version by Art Garfunkel (US #34 1974).

From the wiki: “‘Second Avenue’ was written by multi-instrumentalist Tim Moore and first appeared on his 1973 solo album, Tim Moore. As the album’s third single, ‘Second Avenue’, was climbing the Billboard Hot 100, the album distributor, Paramount, abruptly ceased operations. The sudden release from contract spurred a Tim Moore bidding war between Clive Davis and David Geffen. By the time the deal went to Geffen, Art Garfunkel had released his competing version of ‘Second Avenue’. This ‘cover battle’ between the two versions effectively doomed both records’ chances of becoming sizable, individual hits.

“The following year Moore released Behind The Eyes featuring what remains his best-known song in the U.S., ‘Rock’n’Roll Love Letter‘, a hit for the Bay City Rollers in 1976. Moore’s guitar work on ‘Rock’n’Roll Love Letter’ drew the attention of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. The two became friends, and Moore spent two weeks guesting on guitar with the Stones and Peter Tosh during 1975 tour rehearsals at Bearsville Studios.

“A self-taught musician, Moore grew up in Philadelphia where he went to art school and began to play his self-penned songs at local coffee houses. The Muffins, the first group to perform and record Moore originals, was formed by Moore and a friend, Jeff Scott and enjoyed some had minor US success on RCA records with a Kinks influenced single, ‘Subway Traveler’. The Muffins peaked in the Summer of Love (1969), opening for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground for a week at Philadelphia’s Trauma psychedelic club. After the Muffins disbanded, Frank Zappa heard Moore’s songs, which he found harmonically advanced for the period, and brought him to New York with the intention of signing him to Bizarre Records. Moore declined the signing when tour scheduling kept Zappa from producing the album himself.”

Art Garfunkel, “Second Avenue” (1974):

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