Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Cat Stevens

(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard

First recorded (as “The Old Schoolyard”) by Linda Lewis (1975).
Hit version by Cat Stevens (US #33/MOR #28/CAN #27/UK #44/AUS #18 1977).

From the wiki: “‘(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard’ was inspired by the playground at St. Joseph’s in London, where Stevens went to school, recalling simple days filled with childhood fun.

“Stevens wrote the song for Linda Lewis, who was the first to record the song. Lewis had sung on Stevens’ 1972 album Catch Bull At Four and had accompanied him on his 1974 ‘Bamboozle’ tour. Clive Davis of Arista Records signed Lewis on the strength of her performance of ‘The Old Schoolyard’, which she released as an album track on her 1975 collection, Not A Little Girl Anymore.

Here Comes My Baby

Written and first recorded by Cat Stevens (1966, released 1968).
Hit version by The Tremeloes (US #13/UK #4 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Here Comes My Baby’ was written by Cat Stevens in 1966, and was almost released as Cat’s first single in September 1966. But, ‘I Love My Dog’ was thought to be a stronger song. Even after the success of ‘I Love My Dog’ (UK #28), ‘Here Comes My Baby’ was shelved from release for several more months. Meantime, the Tremeloes picked it up and it became their breakthrough hit in America and their first hit in the UK after the departure of the group’s lead singer, Brian Poole.

“The Tremeloe’s success with the song did help to establish Cat Stevens as a songwriter (‘Wild World‘, ‘The First Cut is the Deepest‘). His recording of ‘Here Comes My Baby’ was included it on his first album, Matthew And Son, released in 1968.”

The First Cut is the Deepest

First released by P.P. Arnold (UK #18 1967).
Also recorded by Cat Stevens, writer (1967).
Other hit versions by Norma Fraser (Jamaica, 1967), Keith Hampshire (CAN #1 1973), Rod Stewart (US #21/UK #1 1976), Sheryl Crow (US #14/MOR #1 2003).

From the wiki: “‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in the spring of 1967. Stevens had made a demo recording of ‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ in 1965 but had written the song only to promote his songwriting to other artists, and did not record it for commercial release until early October 1967. He sold the song for £30 to P. P. Arnold and it became a huge hit for her in the UK, reaching #18 on the UK Singles Chart.

“After several years touring the United States with the Ike & Tina Revue, P.P. Arnold came to England in 1966. Impressed by her powerful and soulful voice, Mick Jagger convinced Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to sign Arnold to a recording contract. During this period Arnold also toured alongside Delaney and Bonnie & Friends, Small Faces, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, Blind Faith, David Bowie and others, and she recorded several other hits including a 1969 UK #29 hit release of ‘Angel of the Morning‘.

Wild World

Originally recorded by Jimmy Cliff (UK #8 July, 1970).
Other hit versions by Cat Stevens (US #11 November, 1970), The Gentrys (MOR #28 1971) Maxi Priest (US #25/UK #5 1988), Mr. Big (US #27/UK #59 1993).

From the wiki: “Jimmy Cliff’s version, released a few months before the song’s writer, Cat Stevens, released his version, reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart. Surprisingly, Stevens’ version was not released as a single in the UK, thus its appearance only on US radio charts. Some of the subsequent covers have also been in the reggae style, indicating that they may be covers of Cliff’s version, as opposed to direct covers of Cat Stevens’ original acoustic arrangement.