Written and first recorded by Paul Simon (1965).
Hit version by Simon & Garfunkel (US #3/UK #17 1966).
From the wiki: “‘I Am a Rock’ was written by Paul Simon, and first recorded by Simon solo as the opening track on his album The Paul Simon Songbook which he originally recorded and released as a solo performance in August 1965 but only in the United Kingdom. Later that year, Simon and Art Garfunkel, as the American pop/folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, re-recorded the song on December 14, 1965, and included it as the final track on their album Sounds of Silence. ‘I Am a Rock’ became the duo’s third Top 5 hit in the US when released as a single in May 1966.”
Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Pete Townshend (1971).
Hit versions by The Who (US #34 1971), Limp Bizkit (US #71/UK #18/AUS #4/NZ #5/SWE #1/SPN #1 2003).
From the wiki: “‘Behind Blue Eyes’ was originally written by Pete Townshend for his aborted Lifehouse project. According to Townshend, the song’s origin happened after a Who concert in Denver on 9 June 1970. Following the performance, Townshend became tempted by a female groupie, but he instead went back to his room alone, possibly as a result of the teachings of his spiritual leader, Meher Baba. Upon reaching his room, he began writing a prayer, the first words being ‘When my fist clenches, crack it open …’
“The song is sung from the point of view of the main villain of Lifehouse, Jumbo. The lyrics are a first-person lament from Jumbo, who is always angry and full of angst because of all the pressure and temptation that surrounds him, and the song was intended to be his ‘theme song’ had the project been completed.
“The version of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ on the original Who’s Next album was the second version the band recorded; the first was recorded at the Record Plant in New York on 18 March 1971 and features Al Kooper on Hammond organ. It would not be released until 1995, as a bonus track on the CD reissue of Who’s Next. The released album version of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ was recorded 8 July 1971 at Olympic Studios in London.
Written and first recorded by Nilsson (1967).
Also recorded by Al Kooper (1968).
Hit versions by Three Dog Night (US #5/CAN #4 1969), Johnny Farnham (AUS #1 1969).
From the wiki: “‘One’ was written by Harry Nilsson and recorded in 1967. It appeared initially on Nilsson’s third album, Aerial Ballet, released in 1968. Nilsson wrote the song after calling someone and getting a busy signal. He stayed on the line listening to the ‘beep, beep, beep, beep…’ tone, writing the song. The busy signal was expressed musically to become the opening notes of the song.
First recorded (as a demo) by Jimmy Radcliffe (1964).
Hit released by Sammy Ambrose (US #117 1965)
Other hit version by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (US #1 1965).
Also recorded by Al Kooper (1976).
From the wiki: “‘This Diamond Ring’ was written by Al Kooper (who would later record with Bob Dylan, and found the group Blood, Sweat & Tears), Bob Brass, and Irwin Levine (‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’, ‘Candida‘) in 1964. The song was first recorded as a demo that year by Jimmy Radcliffe in a session produced by Kooper.
“Sammy Ambrose, a Miami soul singer who had begun his recording career fronting the Afro-Beats, was the first to release a commercial single of ‘This Diamond Ring’, in December 1964. This was quickly followed by the January 1965 release of ‘This Diamond Ring’ by Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Both recordings appeared on Billboard magazine’s ‘Bubbling Under the Hot 100′ chart on January 9, 1965 – Ambrose’s recording at #117 and the Playboys’ recording at #101. But, that one appearance by Ambrose would mark his single’s only chart appearance while the Playboys continued the ascend the Hot 100 all the way to #1, on February 20, 1965, becoming the group’s only #1 single of their career.
“Ambrose’s biggest liability was that he didn’t have the same caché as being the son of a famous comedian (name recognition is everything in show biz) nor could make use off the chutzpah of producer Snuff Garrett, who promised radio disc jockey Murray the K a performance by the Playboys if he could break the Playboys’ record in New York City, and who also got Gary’s famous dad to call Ed Sullivan about booking an appearance on the The Ed Sullivan Show.
“None of the Playboys played their instruments on the hit recording and Lewis’s vocals were heavily supported by Ron Hicklin’s overdubs. The music was performed by members of The Wrecking Crew, including Hal Blaine (drums), Carol Kaye (bass) and Leon Russell (keyboard).
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