Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Billy Preston

My Sweet Lord

First recorded and released by Billy Preston (US #93/R&B #23 1970).
Hit version by George Harrison (US #1/UK #1/FRA #1/GER #1 1971 |UK #1 2002).
Based on “He’s So Fine” recorded by The Chiffons (1963), Jody Miller (1971) & “Oh Happy Day” recorded by The Eddie Hawkins Singers (1969).
Parody recordings by George Harrison (as “The Pirate Song”, 1976), by Jonathan King (a “He’s So Fine/My Sweet Lord”, 1987).

From the wiki: “‘My Sweet Lord’ was written by George Harrison but originally given to fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record. Harrison produced Preston’s recording and it was first released on Preston’s Encouraging Words album in September 1970.

You Are So Beautiful

Co-written and first recorded by Billy Preston (1974).
Hit version by Joe Cocker (US #5/MOR #12/CAN #4 1975).

From the wiki: “Written by Billy Preston (‘Will It Go ‘Round in Circles’) and Bruce Fisher (‘If I Ever Lose This Heaven‘), ‘You Are So Beautiful’ was first recorded by Preston for the album The Kids & Me, released in May 1974. The album’s dedication, reflected in the title, was to St. Elmo’s Village, an inner-city children’s recreation center and arts community located in Los Angeles.

“In November 1974, Joe Cocker released a slower version of the song on his album I Can Stand a Little Rain. Cocker’s version was produced by Jim Price, and released as a single. It became one of Cocker’s biggest chart hits, peaking at #5 on the United States’ Billboard Hot 100, and at #4 on Canada’s Top Singles chart.