Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Captain & Tennille

Shop Around

First recorded by The Miracles (first recording released September 1960).
Hit versions by The Miracles (re-recording released October 1960 US #2/R&B #1/CAN #11), Captain & Tennille (US #4/MOR #1/CAN #4 1976).

From the wiki: “The original record label for ‘Shop Around’ credits Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson as the writer, with Motown founder Berry Gordy as producer. Robinson claims he wrote the song ‘in thirty minutes’ and that it had been intended originally for another Motown singer, Barrett Strong (‘Money (That’s What I Want)‘), but that Gordy thought the song was more suited to the Miracles. Subsequent labels list both Robinson and Gordy as co-writers.

“‘Shop Around’ was initially released (as Tamla 53034) locally, in Detroit and the surrounding area, but not intentionally. Motown’s history of the song relates that after the first pressings were distributed to radio stations and record stores ‘in September 1960, [Gordy] couldn’t sleep, worried that it wasn’t good enough (‘too slow, not enough life’). He called Smokey in the middle of the night, and had him bring all the Miracles to the studio at 3 a.m. to lay down a new, slightly faster take of the song. Gordy himself played piano.’

Lonely Night (Angel Face)

Written and first recorded by Neil Sedaka (1975).
Hit version by The Captain & Tennille (US #3/MOR #1 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Lonely Night (Angel Face)’ was written and first recorded in 1975 by Neil Sedaka, appearing as a track on his 1975 studio album, The Hungry Years. The following year the song was made popular when covered by The Captain & Tennille for their album Song of Joy who took their version to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

Can’t Stop Dancing

Co-written and first recorded by Ray Stevens (1976).
Hit version by The Captain & Tennille (US #13/MOR #12/CAN #11/AUS #67 1977).

From the wiki: “”Can’t Stop Dancin” is a song written by John Pritchard Jr. and Ray Stevens. It was first recorded by Stevens in 1976 for his album Just for the Record.

“The following year, husband-and-wife singing-duo the Captain & Tennile covered ‘Can’t Stop Dancing’ for their third studio album, Come In from the Rain. Released as that albums first promotional single, it peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., and #11 on the Canadian RPM Top Single chart.”

Muskrat Love

Written and originally recorded (as “Muskrat Candlelight”) by Willis Alan Ramsey (1972).
Also recorded (as “Sun Down”) by Lani Hall (1972).
Hit versions by America (US #67/MOR #11 1973), Captain & Tennille (US #4/MOR #1 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Muskrat Love’ is a pop song by written by Willis Alan Ramsey, a cult legend among fans of Americana and Texas country, depicting a romantic liaison between two anthropomorphic muskrats named Susie and Sam. The song was first recorded by Ramsey on the critically acclaimed album Willis Alan Ramsey (1972) on which the song was titled ‘Muskrat Candlelight’.

“The trio America recorded ‘Muskrat Love’ for their 1973 album Hat Trick, marking the second time the band had recorded a song not written by a member of America. David Dickey, bassist for the group, brought ‘Muskrat Candlelight’ to the group’s attention. According to Beckley ‘to us it sounded like a very bluesy, quirky tune. We just felt it was quirky and commercial, and we worked it up.’ Dan Peek would recall that America’s label Warner Bros. ‘hated’ the track and ‘begged us not to release it as a single … We were stupid to press the issue but we liked the song for its easy, acoustic, harmonic beauty not realizing that perhaps it was badly cast for us in order to retain the fairly hip image we had eked out’. In a 2012 interview Gerry Beckley said of ‘Muskrat Love’: ‘It’s a polarizing little number. After concerts, some people tell us they can’t believe we didn’t play it, while others go out of their way to thank us for not performing it.’

I Write the Songs

Originally recorded by Captain & Tennille (May 1975).
Hit versions by David Cassidy (UK #11 July 1975), Barry Manilow (US #1 Oct 1975).
Also recorded by Bruce Johnston, composer (1977).

No. Barry Manilow did not ‘write the songs’. ‘I Write the Songs’ was written by Bruce Johnston, of the The Beach Boys, in 1975.

From the wiki: “The original version was recorded by Captain & Tennille, both of whom worked with Johnston in the early 1970s with The Beach Boys. The song appears on their 1975 debut album, Love Will Keep Us Together, but was never released as a single. (Daryl ‘Captain’ Dragon is quoted as saying the pair wanted to release ‘I Write the Songs’ as their debut single but, instead, opted for ‘Love Will Keep Us Together‘.)

Love Will Keep Us Together

Written and first recorded by Neil Sedaka (UK 1973).
Hit versions by Mac & Katie Kissoon (NETH #12 1973), Captain & Tennille (US #1/UK #32 1975).

From the wiki: “The song first appeared on Neil Sedaka’s 1973 album The Tra-La Days Are Over which did not have a US release, with Sedaka’s version of the song making its US album debut on the 1974 compilation album Sedaka’s Back.