Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Someday We’ll Be Together

First recorded by Johnny & Jackey (1961).
Hit versions by Diana Ross & The Supremes (US #1/R&B #1/CAN #3/UK #13/IRE #19 1969), Bert Kaempfert (MOR #27 1970), Bill Anderson & Jan Howard (C&W #4 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Someday We’ll Be Together’ was written by Johnny Bristol, Jackey Beavers, and Harvey Fuqua in 1961. Bristol and Beavers recorded the song together, as ‘Johnny & Jackey’, for the Tri-Phi label that same year, becoming a moderate success in the Midwestern United States but gaining little attention elsewhere.

“Tri-Phi would then be purchased by Motown in the mid-1960s. Fuqua, Bristol, and Beavers all then joined Berry Gordy’s famous Motown record company and, as a result, ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’ became part of Motown’s Jobete publishing catalog.

“In 1969, Bristol was preparing an instrumental cover version of ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’, to be recorded by Motown act Jr. Walker & the All-Stars. He had already recorded the basic instrumental track and background vocals (by Maxine and Julia Waters) when Berry Gordy happened upon the tracks and heard them and thought that ‘Someday …’ would be the perfect vehicle for Diana Ross’ anticipated exit from the Supremes. Gordy had Bristol quickly sequester Ross into the studio to record her vocal over the instrumental track intended for Jr. Walker.

“Unable at first to get the vocal performance he desired from Diana Ross, Bristol – as producer – decided to try something different: he would harmonize with Ross, helping her to get into the mood needed for the record. On the first take, the engineer accidentally recorded both Ross’s vocal and Bristol’s ad-libs. Bristol and arranger Wade Marcus liked the results, and Bristol had his vocal recorded alongside Ross’ for the final version of the song.

“Bristol’s ad-libs and words of encouragement to Ross can be heard in the background throughout the song. When Berry Gordy heard the completed song, he decided that rather than releasing it as Ross’ first solo single he would release it as the final Diana Ross & The Supremes single – even though the background vocals weren’t sung by Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong but, rather, by the Waters sisters.

“Other charting cover versions in 1970, after Bristol’s Ross production became a hit, included an easy-listening instrumental treatment by Bert Kaempfert, and a country-fied cover by Bill Anderson and Jan Howard that charted Top-5 on the Billboard Country Singles chart.”

Diana Ross & The Supremes, “Someday We’ll Be Together” (1969):

Bert Kaempfert, “Someday We’ll Be Together” (1970):

Bill Anderson & Jan Howard, “Someday We’ll Be Together” (1970):

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