Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancing)

First recorded (as “Slow Dancing”) by The Funky Kings (US# 61/MOR #13 1976).
Other hit versions by Johnny Rivers (US #10/MOR #1/CAN #3 1978), Johnny Duncan (C&W #6 1979).
Also recorded by Olivia Newton-John (1977), Unicorn (1977), Ian Gomm (1980).

From the wiki: “The first recording of ‘Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancing)’ was released on the self-titled 1976 album by the Funky Kings whose membership included its composer, Jack Tempchin (‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’, ‘Already Gone’, ‘You Belong to the City’), and Jules Shear (later of Jules & The Polar Bears, ‘If She Knew What She Wants‘). Titled ‘Slow Dancing’, its single release reached #13 on the AC chart before crossing over to #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. Olivia Newton-John also recorded “Slow Dancing” for her 1977 album Making a Good Thing Better.

“Another version of the song was recorded for the 1977 album One More Tomorrow by the group Unicorn, fronted by Muff Winwood (bass guitarist of The Spencer Davis Group, and a noted producer and A&R executive); it was issued as a single in 1977 with no apparent chart impact.

“Johnny Rivers’ Top 10 recording of the song was originally titled ‘Slow Dancing’ but was retitled ‘Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancin’)’ after its release to avoid confusion with the then-current Addrisi Brothers single, ‘Slow Dancing Don’t Turn Me On’.”

“Johnny Duncan reached #6 on the Billboard Country chart in 1979 with his part-spoken/part-sung cover recording of ‘Slow Dancing’. UK singer-songwriter (and former Brinsley Schwarz guitarist) Ian Gomm failed to chart in the UK or the US with his 1980 single release of “Slow Dancing” from the album What a Blow.”

Olivia Newton-John, “Slow Dancing” (1977):

Unicorn, “Slow Dancing” (1977):

Johnny Rivers, “Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancing)” (1978):

Johnny Duncan, “Slow Dancing” (1979):

Ian Gomm, “Slow Dancing” (1980):