Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Christina Aguilera

A Song for You

Written and first recorded by Leon Russell (1970).
Hit versions by Andy Williams (MOR #29 1971), The Carpenters (1972), Ray Charles (US #104/MOR #9/R&B #57 1993), Herbie Hancock & Christina Aguilera (US #19 2005).
Also recorded by Donny Hathaway (1971), Dusty Springfield (1972).

From the wiki: “‘A Song for You’ was recorded Leon Russell for his debut album, Leon Russell, originally intending for it to be recorded by Rita Coolidge. It has been called ‘an American classic’ by Elton John (who sang ‘Song for You’ as an intro to a medley of his own songs ‘Blue Eyes’ and ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues’ on his 1986 tour).

“One of the first versions of the song that brought the song broader attention was by Andy Williams, in 1972. The Carpenters’ version, while not released as a single, was the title track to their 1972 hit album A Song for You (#4 on the Billboard Album chart; three Top-10 singles). Dusty Springfield recorded her version of ‘A Song for You’ for possible inclusion on the album See All Her Faces (1972) but the track went unreleased until 1996.

“Ray Charles recorded a poignant version of the song on his 1993 album My World. Released as a single, it reached #4 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles but still won for him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.”

Lady Marmalade

First recorded by Eleventh Hour (1974).
Hit versions by LaBelle (US #1/R&B #1/UK #17/CAN #1/ITA #8/NETH #1 1974); All Saints (UK #1/SCOT #2 1998); Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, & Pink (US #1/R&B #1/UK #1/CAN #17/AUS #1/NZ #1/GER #1 2001).

From the wiki: “‘Lady Marmalade’ is a song written by Bob Crewe (‘Silhouettes‘, ‘Silence is Golden‘, ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore‘, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’) and Kenny Nolan (‘My Eyes Adored You’, ‘I Like Dreamin”), inspired by Crewe’s first-hand observations of New Orleans and made famous for its sexually suggestive chorus of ‘Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?’ (‘Do you want to go to bed with me (tonight)?’).

“After it was first recorded as a demo by The Eleventh Hour, a group made up of studio musicians, fronted by co-writer Nolan on vocals, ‘Lady Marmalade’ was first released in 1974 as a track on the Eleventh Hour’s Greatest Hits LP which did not chart. Meanwhile, co-writer Crewe showed the song to Allen Toussaint in New Orleans; Toussaint then decided to record the song with Labelle, whose label (Epic Records) had hired him to produce their label debut, Nightbirds.

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