Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Bob Marley

Stir It Up

Written and first recorded by The Wailing Wailers (1967).
Hit versions by Johnny Nash (US #12/UK #13 1972), Diana King (R&B #53 1994).
Also recorded by Bob Marley & the Wailers (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Stir It Up’ was written by Bob Marley in 1967, for his wife Rita, and was first recorded and released the same year by the Wailing Wailers. Following Marley’s return to Jamaica from the United States in 1967, the Wailers started their own label, Wail’n Soul’m Records, and released their first independent single, ‘Freedom Time’. ‘Nice Time’, ‘Thank You Lord’, and ‘Stir It Up’ (backed with ‘The Train’) were all recorded in the same year. The label folded shortly after, after which Marley began writing for American singer Johnny Nash. Nash used members of The Wailers and recorded several Marley songs on his 1972 album, I Can See Clearly Now, including ‘Stir It Up’.

One Love

First recorded by The Wailing Wailers (1965).
Also recorded (as “All in One”) by The Wailers (1970).
Hit version by Bob Marley & the Wailers (UK #5/NZ #1 1977).

From the wiki: “‘One Love’ was written by Bob Marley (with a later credit extended to Curtis Mayfield) and first recorded in a Ska style in 1965 by The Wailing Wailers. The song contains an interpretation of The Impressions’ song ‘People Get Ready’, written by Curtis Mayfield. This version was later included on their first singles compilation The Wailing Wailers in 1966.

“It was rerecorded as part of the 1970 medley ‘All In On’e, which contained reggae reworkings of the Wailers’ early ska songs. Yet another re-recording, in 1977, became a part of Marley’s Exodus album in 1977, and was released as one of that album’s promotional singles charting in the UK Top-10 and topping the music sales chart in New Zealand.

I Shot the Sheriff

Written and first recorded by The Wailers (1973).
Hit version by Eric Clapton (US #1/UK #9/CAN #1/NZ #1 1974).

From the wiki: “‘I Shot The Sheriff’ was written by Bob Marley, told from the point of view of a narrator who claims to have acted in self-defense when the sheriff tried to shoot him. The song was first released in 1973 on The Wailers’ album Burnin’. Eric Clapton recorded a cover version that was included on his 1974 album, 461 Ocean Boulevard. It is the most successful version of the song, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2003, Clapton’s version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.”