Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: a-ha

Take On Me

First released by a-ha (NOR #3 1984).
Hit version by a-ha (US #1/UK #2/AUS #1/IRE #2/GER #1/SWE #1/NOR #1 1985).
Also performed by a-ha (2017).

From the wiki: “‘Take On Me’ was written by the Swedish synth-pop group a-ha (Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket & Pål Waaktaar), and was first recorded as a demo by the group in 1984. The band met with producer Tony Mansfield, an expert in the use of the Fairlight CMI, who mixed their arrangement with electronic instrumentation. The sound was not what a-ha had hoped to achieve, and the album was remixed again. The band then rushed to release ‘Take On Me’ as a single in the United Kingdom but the single flopped. Even so, Warner Brothers’ main office in the United States decided to invest in the band and gave them the opportunity to re-record the song. Alan Tarney, who had previously helmed recording sessions for Cliff Richard and Leo Sayer, produced this new version.

Crying in the Rain

First recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1962).
Hit versions by The Everly Brothers (US #6/UK #6 1962), The Sweet Inspirations (US #112/R&B #42 1969), Tammy Wynette (C&W #18 1981), a-ha (US #26/UK #13 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Crying in the Rain’ was written by Howard Greenfield and Carole King, the only collaboration between the successful songwriters. Both worked for Aldon Music at the time of the song’s composition. On a whim, two Aldon songwriting partnerships decided to switch partners for a day – Gerry Goffin (who normally worked with King) partnered with Greenfield’s frequent writing partner Jack Keller, leaving King and Greenfield to pair up for the day. Despite the commercial success of this collaboration, King and Greenfield never wrote another song together.