Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: America

Muskrat Love

Written and originally recorded (as “Muskrat Candlelight”) by Willis Alan Ramsey (1972).
Also recorded (as “Sun Down”) by Lani Hall (1972).
Hit versions by America (US #67/MOR #11 1973), Captain & Tennille (US #4/MOR #1 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Muskrat Love’ is a pop song by written by Willis Alan Ramsey, a cult legend among fans of Americana and Texas country, depicting a romantic liaison between two anthropomorphic muskrats named Susie and Sam. The song was first recorded by Ramsey on the critically acclaimed album Willis Alan Ramsey (1972) on which the song was titled ‘Muskrat Candlelight’.

“The trio America recorded ‘Muskrat Love’ for their 1973 album Hat Trick, marking the second time the band had recorded a song not written by a member of America. David Dickey, bassist for the group, brought ‘Muskrat Candlelight’ to the group’s attention. According to Beckley ‘to us it sounded like a very bluesy, quirky tune. We just felt it was quirky and commercial, and we worked it up.’ Dan Peek would recall that America’s label Warner Bros. ‘hated’ the track and ‘begged us not to release it as a single … We were stupid to press the issue but we liked the song for its easy, acoustic, harmonic beauty not realizing that perhaps it was badly cast for us in order to retain the fairly hip image we had eked out’. In a 2012 interview Gerry Beckley said of ‘Muskrat Love’: ‘It’s a polarizing little number. After concerts, some people tell us they can’t believe we didn’t play it, while others go out of their way to thank us for not performing it.’