Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Blood Sweat & Tears

Without Her

Written and first recorded by Harry Nilsson (1967).
Hit album version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (1968).
Also recorded by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1969), Harry Nilsson (remix 1971).

From the wiki: “‘Without Her’ was written by Harry Nilsson (‘Everybody’s Talkin’‘, ‘Without You‘) and appeared on his second album (his first for RCA Victor), Pandemonium Shadow Show, in 1967. The album proved to be the watershed of his career, attracting the attention of publicist Derek Taylor, who ordered a case of albums, sending them out to various industry people he believed would be interested, and The Beatles who invited Nilsson to London. (Nilsson covered ‘You Can’t Do That’ in an arrangement that quoted lyrics from more than 10 other Beatles songs. It became a Top 10 hit in Canada.)

“‘Without Her’ would be revamped for Nilsson’s 1971 ‘best-of’ album Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, one of the first ‘remix’ albums ever produced.

Hi De Ho

Co-written by Carole King and first recorded (as “That Old Sweet Roll”) by The City (1969).
Hit version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (US #14 1970).
Also recorded by Dusty Springfield (1969), Carole King (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Hi De Ho’, originally titled ‘That Old Sweet Roll (Hi De Ho)’, was co-written by Carole King (with Gerry Goffin) and first recorded by the band City, Carole King’s late-1960s band with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey. It appeared on the only album recorded by The City, Now That Everything’s Been Said.

“Dusty Springfield covered ‘That Old Sweet Roll’ during the same In Memphis sessions that also produced her hit single, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. The Springfield recording was released in 1969 as the B-side to the single ‘Willie & Laura Mae Jones’, but was not included on the original album release. It is now included as a bonus track on the CD version of In Memphis.

“Blood, Sweat & Tear’s 1970 recording of the song, now titled ‘Hi De Ho’, would chart into the US Top 20.

“King would re-record ‘Hi De Ho’ in 1980 for her Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King album.”

And When I Die

First released by Peter, Paul & Mary (1966).
Also recorded by Laura Nyro (demo 1966 |1967).
Hit version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (US #2/NZ #1 1969).

From the wiki: “‘And When I Die’ was written by Laura Nyro and first recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1966 after listening to Nyro’s rough demo. The song was one of the first written by Nyro, when she was 17 years old. She then sold the song to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5000, who then recorded the song for their sixth studio album The Peter, Paul and Mary Album.

“Nyro would later produce a studio recording of ‘And When I Die’ for her own 1967 debut album More Than a New Discovery. However, the song is probably best known for the recording by Blood, Sweat & Tears. Their 1969 single release reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

Co-written and originally recorded by Brenda Holloway (US #39/R&B #40 1967).
Other hit version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (US #2/MOR #18/R&B #46/CAN #1/UK #35/AUS #14 1969).

From the wiki: “By 1967, Brenda Holloway had been recording for Motown Records since 1964 and had struggled with Berry Gordy over control of her music, alleging that Gordy had forced her to sing Mary Wells’ ‘leftover tracks’ after the Motown singer left the label in 1964. Along with her sister Patrice, using music provided by Frank Wilson and with additional help from Gordy himself, Holloway co-wrote ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.’ Coincidentally, Holloway recorded the song after a breakup with a boyfriend.