Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Celine Dion

The Last to Know

First recorded by Sheena Easton (1987).
Hit version by Celine Dion (MOR #22/CAN #16 1991).

From the wiki: “‘The Last to Know’, written by Brock Walsh and Phil Galdston, was first recorded by Sheena Easton for her 1987 album, No Sound But a Heart.

“Canadian singer Celine Dion covered ‘The Last to Know’ for her first English-language album, Unison (1990), produced by British record producer, Christopher Neil. The song was released by Columbia Records as the album’s fourth single in Canada in March 1991. Later, in September, it was issued as a single in the rest of the world. While not charting in the Billboard Hot 100, Dion’s recording did chart Top-20 in Canada and on the US Adult Contemporary music chart.”

Beauty and the Beast

First performed and recorded by Angela Lansbury (1991).
Hit version by Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson (US #9/MOR #3/CAN #2/UK #9/AUS #17 1991).

From the wiki: “‘Beauty and the Beast’ was written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken for the Disney animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). The film’s theme song, a Broadway-inspired ballad, was first recorded by British-American actress Angela Lansbury in her role as the voice of the character Mrs. Potts.

“Disney first solely recruited Canadian singer Celine Dion in 1991 to record a radio-friendly version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to promote the film and the film’s forthcoming soundtrack album. However, the studio was concerned that the then-newcomer would not be a strong enough marquee name on her own in the United States (up until then, Dion had had only two songs reach the Billboard Hot 100 and only one hit Top-10), so the more bankable Peabo Bryson (‘Tonight, I Celebrate My Love’, ‘If Ever You’re in My Arms Again’), with his far larger fan-base, was brought in to be a duet partner. (In the beginning Dion had been reluctant to record ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at all because she had just been replaced from recording ‘Dreams to Dreams’, the theme song of the animated film An American Tail: Fievel Goes West – a song that had first been offered to but was rejected by Linda Ronstadt, but which would ultimately be recorded by Ronstadt after she changed her mind.)

(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1967).
Hit versions by Aretha Franklin (US #8/R&B #2 1967), Celine Dion (MOR #31 1995), Mary J. Blige (R&B #39/UK #23 1995).
Also recorded by Carole King (1971).

From the wiki: “Written by the celebrated partnership of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, ‘You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)’ was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler.

“As recounted in his autobiography, Wexler, a student of African-American musical culture, had been mulling over the concept of the ‘natural man’, when he drove by Goffin on the streets of New York. Wexler shouted out to him he wanted a ‘natural woman’ song for Aretha Franklin’s next album. In thanks, Goffin and King granted Wexler a co-writing credit.

“Franklin’s recording features all three Franklin sisters, including Erma and Carolyn singing backup. Erma had a record deal in the ’60s, but didn’t have much success. Her biggest hit was her 1967 original recording of ‘Piece Of My Heart‘, made famous by Janis Joplin.”

The Power of Love

Co-written and first recorded by Jennifer Rush (UK #1/GER #17 1985 |US #56/CAN #1/AUS #1/IRE #1/GER #9 1986).
Also recorded (as “Si tu eres mi hombre y yo tu mujer”) by Jennifer Rush (SPN #1 1986).
Other hit versions by Air Supply (as “The Power of Love (You Are My Lady)” US #68/MOR #13 1985), Laura Branigan (as “Power of Love” US #26/MOR #19 1987) and Celine Dion (US #1/MOR #1/CAN #1/UK #4/AUS #1 1993/FRA #3/BEL #5).

From the wiki: “‘The Power of Love’ was first recorded by Jennifer Rush in 1984. The American-born Rush had been recording for CBS (Frankfurt) with producers Gunther Mende and Candy de Rouge (alias of Wolfgang Detmann) since 1982. The song, written by Rush, de Rouge, and Mende along with Mary Susan Applegate, took Rush to the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1984 and into the German Top 20 in 1985. Rush filmed a low-budget music video in NYC in the fall of 1984, with the primary intention of entering the U.S market, but was unsuccessful.

“‘The Power of Love’, when originally released in the UK, debuting at #97 on the UK chart dated 22 June 1985. It was briefly withdrawn and, then, re-released in September 1985. It rose to #1 and retained the top spot on the UK chart for five weeks with a total of ten weeks accrued in the UK Top-10. The massive success of the song in the UK occasioned widespread international success for Rush’s recording in the last months of 1985 and the first months of 1986 including a German re-release of ‘The Power of Love’ that peaked at #9.

At Last

First performed by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (1941).
First commercial recording by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (US #9 1942).
Other hit versions by Ray Anthony (US #2 1952), Etta James (US #47/R&B #2/UK #39 1961), Celine Dion (MOR #16 2002).
Also recorded by Beyoncé (2008).

From the wiki: “‘At Last’ was first recorded in 1941 by Glenn Miller for possible inclusion in the film Sun Valley Serenade. The song, sung by Pat Friday with actor John Payne, was going to be a major performance on the soundtrack. But, the song was mostly deleted from the release print.

“A subsequent recording, in 1942, was made and used extensively a follow-up movie, Orchestra Wives (1942), with vocals by Pat Friday (dubbing for actress Lynn Bari) and Ray Eberle. In 1942, a vocal version of ‘At Last,’ sung solo by Ray Eberle, was recorded for commercial release by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra in Chicago in May 1942 and first released as the B-side to ‘(I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo’.

It’s All Coming Back to Me Now

Originally recorded by Pandora’s Box (UK #51 1989).
Other hit versions by Celine Dion (US #2/MOR #1/UK #3/CAN #1/ 1996), Meat Loaf & Marion Raven (UK #6/SCOT #2/NOR #1/GER #7 2006).

If this sounds like a song Meat Loaf should’ve recorded, you’d be right. The songwriter was Jim Steinman, writer of Meat Loaf’s hits ‘Paradise By the Dashboard Lights’, and ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’. But, Steinman had other plans. Meat Loaf would, however, eventually, be given his opportunity to record ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ – in 2006 – a decade after Celine Dion had made it into an international hit.

From the wiki: “According to Jim Steinman the song was inspired by the book Wuthering Heights, and was his attempt to write ‘the most passionate, romantic song’ he could ever create. Meat Loaf had wanted to record the song for years, but Steinman saw it as a ‘woman’s song.’ Steinman won a court movement preventing Meat Loaf from recording it.

“In 1989, Steinman instead produced a concept album, Original Sin, with an all-female group called Pandora’s Box. Elaine Caswell was the lead vocalist for ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’, who apparently collapsed five times during its recording. (Original Sin featured other tracks that would later be recorded by other artists, particularly Meat Loaf.)

“For the session, Roy Bittan (of the E Street Band) performed on the grand piano, with Steinman and Jeff Bova on electric keyboards. Todd Rundgren arranged the background vocals, which were performed by Ellen Foley, Gina Taylor, and Deliria Wilde. ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ was released as a single in the United Kingdom in October 1989, but only reached #51 in the singles charts.

When I Fall in Love

First recorded by The Victor Young Orchestra w. Jeri Southern (1952).
Hit versions by Doris Day (US #20 1952), Nat “King” Cole (UK #2 1957), Natalie Cole (US #6/R&B #31 1987), Rick Astley (UK #2 1987), Celine Dion & Clive Griffin (US #23/MOR #6 1993).

From the wiki: “Jeri Southern released the original version in April 1952 with the song’s composer, Victor Young, handling the arranging and conducting duties. The song has become a standard, with many artists recording it, though the first hit version was by Doris Day released in July 1952.”