Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Arthur Alexander

Detroit City

First recorded (as “I Wanna Go Home”) by Billy Grammar (C&W #18 1962).
Other hit versions by Bobby Bare (US #16/C&W #4/MOR #4 1963), Tom Jones (US #27/UK #8/IRE #4 1967), Dean Martin (US #101/MOR #36/CAN #96 1970).
Also recorded by Arthur Alexander (1965), co-writer Mel Tillis (1968), George Jones (2005).

From the wiki: “‘Detroit City’, a ‘citybilly’ lament about the struggles and loneliness of a rural Southerner migrating north to industrial Detroit, was written by Danny Dill and Mel Tillis. It was first offered to singer George Jones, who turned it down (but who would later record it in 2005 for his album Hits I Missed … and One I Didn’t), and so ‘Detroit City’ was first recorded and made famous (as ‘I Wanna Go Home’) by Billy Grammer in 1962.

“In 1963, country singer Bobby Bare covered the song, releasing it as ‘Detroit City’, scoring a Top-5 hit on both the Country and MOR music charts, and making it the title track from Bare’s debut album ‘Detroit City’ and Other Hits. It would win for Bare a Grammy award for the Best Country & Western Recording in 1963.

You Better Move On

Written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander (US #24/R&B #27 1962).
Other hit versions by The Rolling Stones (UK EP #1 1964), Billy “Crash” Craddock (C&W #37 1972), George Jones & Johnny Paycheck (C&W #18 1980).

From the wiki: “‘You Better Move On’ was written and first recorded by Arthur Alexander (and produced by FAME’s Rick Hall) in 1962. It peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April, 1962.

“Although labeled as a ‘country-soul’ singer-songwriter, Alexander is the only songwriter whose songs have been covered by the Beatles (‘Anna (Go to Him)‘), the Rolling Stones (‘You Better Move On’), and Bob Dylan (who recorded ‘Sally Sue Brown’ on his 1988 LP Down in the Groove). Elvis Presley also covered Alexander’s original 1972 recording of ‘Burning Love‘, Presley’s last Top-10 hit (kept from #1 by Chuck Berry’s ‘My Ding-a-Ling‘).

Sharing the Night Together

First recorded by Arthur Alexander (R&B #92 1976).
Also recorded by Lenny LeBlanc (1976).
Hit version by Dr. Hook (US #6/C&W #50 1978 |UK #43 1980).

From the wiki: “‘Sharing the Night Together’ was written by Ava Aldridge and Eddie Struzick, and was first recorded by Arthur Alexander (‘You Better Move On‘, ‘Anna‘, ‘Burning Love‘) in 1976. In almost simultaneous release in 1976 was a version recorded by Lenny Leblanc (LeBlanc & Carr, ‘Falling’), with co-writer Struzick on background vocals, but which had no chart impact.

“‘Sharing the Night Together’ was later a Top 10 single for Dr. Hook off the 1978 album Pleasure & Pain.”

Anna (Go to Him)

Written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander (US #68/R&B #10 1962).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1963).

From the wiki: “‘Anna (Go to Him)’ (or simply ‘Anna’) was written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, and is considered to be one of the great early Soul ballads even if its loping groove was closer to a mid-tempo song than a slow ballad.

“‘Anna’ was actually a minor pop hit (but Top-10 R&B) when it first came out in 1962, peaking #68 on the Pop charts. However, it was a personal favorite of John Lennon, and ‘Anna’ had been a part of the Beatles live set since its release in 1962. ‘Anna’ would become more famous for its cover version by the Beatles than when originally released by Alexander.

Burning Love

Originally recorded by Arthur Alexander (1972).
Hit version by Elvis Presley (US #2 1972).

From the wiki: “‘Burning Love’ is a song written by Dennis Linde and originally recorded by Country Soul artist Arthur Alexander, who included it on his 1972 self-titled album. It was soon covered and brought to fame by Elvis Presley, becoming his biggest hit single in the United States since ‘Suspicious Minds’ in 1969 and his last Top 10 hit in the American Hot 100 or pop charts. ‘Burning Love’ was kept from becoming #1 by Chuck Berry’s novelty song ‘My Ding-a-Ling‘.