Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Bay City Rollers

Rock and Roll Love Letter

Written and first recorded by Tim Moore (1975).
Hit version by Bay City Rollers (US #28/CAN #6/AUS #9/GER #13 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Rock and Roll Love Letter’ is the second single from American Tim Moore’s second album, Behind the Eyes, written by Moore. Moore’s original version when released as a promotional single in 1975 did not chart. But, ‘Rock and Roll Love Letter’ was later covered in 1976 by the band Bay City Rollers, and that version became a Top 40 hit.”

Saturday Night

First recorded by Bay City Rollers (1973).
Hit version by Bay City Rollers (1974 |US #1/CAN #1/GER #2 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Saturday Night’ was written and produced by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, and first recorded by Bay City Rollers – with lead vocals by Nobby Clark – in 1973 with no apparent chart impact. The song was then re-recorded by the Rollers’ for their 1974 UK album Rollin’ with lead vocals by Nobby’s replacement, Les McKeown. At the end of 1975, ‘Saturday Night’ was released as a single in America and it hit the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1976.

“Not that the Bay City Rollers weren’t without hits in the UK (they had ten Top-10 hits, including two #1’s, on the UK Singles chart) but their biggest hit in the US was never released as a single in their home country and did not chart.”

I Only Want to Be with You

First recorded by Dusty Springfield (US #12/UK #4 1964).
Other hit versions by Bay City Rollers (US #12/UK #4 1976), The Tourists (US #83/UK #4 1979), Samantha Fox (US #31/UK #16 1989).

From the wiki: “‘I Only Want to Be with You’ was written by Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde, and was the first solo single released by British singer Dusty Springfield. Although she recorded the song while still a member of The Springfields, it was released in November 1963 – three weeks after The Springfields’ final concert. Bay City Rollers released a version in December 1976 that reached #12 in the US. The song was also a #4 hit in the UK for The Tourists, who were the group Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were in before they formed Eurythmics. A 1989 cover version of this was the last hit for British singer Samantha Fox.”

Keep on Dancing

First recorded by The Avantis (1963).
Hit versions by The Gentrys (US #4 1965), Bay City Rollers (UK #9 1971).
Also recorded by Pink Lady (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Keep on Dancing’ was written by written by Allen A. Jones and Willie David Young, and was first recorded in 1963 by The Avantis (not to be confused with the surf rock band with the same name), a black vocal trio from Memphis, Tennessee, who modeled themselves after the Isley Brothers, and who had toured with, and befriended, the Gentrys.

“The Gentrys’ 1965 cover is notable for the fact that it is actually one short recording repeated in order to stretch the record out to the length of the typical pop single of its day. The second half of the song, after the false fade, beginning with Gentrys drummer Larry Wall’s drum fill, is the same as the first.

“Don Crews and Chips Moman remembered a song, ‘basically a ballad,’ that Chips had cut with the Avantis and leased to Argo Records. ‘We made two or three takes, trying to get something,’ Don recalled. ‘We left it up to the fellows to come up with something,’ and somewhere along the line the band speeded up the song’s tempo. Chips said, ‘Let’s put it down and see what happens,” Don continued. ‘We made one run to get a level, about half the tune, and then recorded it. It came out at a minute and thirty seconds. I said, ‘That’s too short.’ So we just faded it out and spliced the first verse on again.'” – Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios, by Roben Jones, 2010

“In 1971, the Bay City Rollers covered the song as their debut single and their version charted at #9 in the UK. In 1977, Japanese girl duo Pink Lady recorded a Japanese-language version of the song on their debut album Pepper Keibu.”