Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Dave Edmunds

When Will I Be Loved

First recorded by The Everly Brothers (US #8/UK #4 1960).
Other hit versions by Johnny Young & Kompany (AUS #3 1967), Linda Ronstadt (US #2/C&W #1/CAN #1 1975).
Also recorded by John Denver (1966, released 2011), The Bunch (1972), Dave Edmunds & Keith Moon (1974), Tanya Tucker & Phil Everly (1975), Rockpile (1980), John Fogerty & Bruce Springsteen (2009).

From the wiki: “‘When Will I Be Loved’ was written by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, who had a US Top-10 hit with it in the summer of 1960. The track was recorded (with Chet Atkins also on guitar) while the duo were contracted to Cadence Records; by 1960 they had moved to Warner Brothers and recording songs in a more mainstream pop/rock style than previously. The belated release by Cadence of ‘When Will I Be Loved’ provided the Everly Brothers with a final rockabilly-style hit.

Promised Land

Written and first recorded by Chuck Berry (US #41/R&B #16/UK #26 1965).
Other hit versions by Fred Weller (C&W #3 1971), Johnnie Allan (1971), Dave Edmunds (AUS #5 1972), Elvis Presley (US #14/C&W #9/UK #9 1974).
Also recorded by The Grateful Dead (1976).

From the wiki: “‘Promised Land’ was written by Chuck Berry to the melody of ‘Wabash Cannonball’, an American Folk song. It was first recorded in this version by Chuck Berry in 1964 for his album St. Louis to Liverpool. Released in 1965 as a promotional single, it was Berry’s first single issued following the completion of his prison sentence for a Mann Act conviction.

“In the lyrics, the singer (who refers to himself as ‘the poor boy’) tells of his journey from Norfolk, Virginia to the ‘Promised Land’, Los Angeles, California, mentioning various cities of the American Southeast that he encounters along his journey. Berry borrowed an atlas from the prison library to plot the song’s itinerary. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, ‘the poor boy’ calls Norfolk, Virginia (‘Tidewater four, ten-oh-nine’) to tell the folks back home he’s made it to the ‘promised land.’

Singing the Blues

First hit version recorded by Marty Robbins (US #17/C&W #1 1956).
Other hit versions by Guy Mitchell (US #1/R&B #4/UK #1 1956), Tommy Steele (UK #1 1957), Dave Edmunds (UK #28 1980), Gail Davies (C&W #17 1983), Daniel O’Donnell (UK #23 1994), The Kentucky Headhunters (C&W #70 1997).

From the wiki: “Composed and first recorded by Melvin Endsley, ‘Singing the Blues’ holds a unique record in the UK: It was the first and, in half a century and more of its existence, the only song in the history of the UK Singles chart to knock itself off the top spot twice! Guy Mitchell’s version topped the UK Singles chart at the start of January 1957, and was replaced the following week by the Tommy Steele version. The following week, the Mitchell version again replaced the Steele version at #1.

Almost Saturday Night

Written and first recorded by John Fogerty (US #78 1975).
Also recorded by Karla DeVito (1981).
Other hit versions by Dave Edmunds (US #54/ROCK #18/UK #58 1981), Burrito Brothers (C&W #49 1984).

From the wiki: “‘Almost Saturday Night’ is a song written by John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and first released on his 1975 album John Fogerty. It was released as the second single from the album, as a follow up to ‘Rockin’ All Over the World‘. The song had more success when covered in a Rockabilly style by Dave Edmunds in 1981 from his album Twangin…, peaking at #18 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart. The Burrito Brothers (neé The Flying Burrito Brothers) covered the song in 1984. Their version peaked at #49 on the Hot Country Singles chart.

From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)

Written and first recorded by Bruce Springsteen (1979, released 2003).
Hit version by Dave Edmunds (US #28 1982).

From Legends of Springsteen:

“Clearly influenced by 1950’s rockabilly style guitar riffs, this song was criminally cut from The River, never put on another studio album, including Tracks. (Bruce did release it in 2003 on the limited edition third disc of his compilation double album The Essential Bruce Springsteen.) That’s a shame, as this might be one of the best Bruce songs to dance to. Seriously, pump it up right now and just try not to tap your toes. It’s nearly impossible.”

I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n Roll)

Inspired by “You Never Can Tell”, Chuck Berry (1964).
Hit versions by Dave Edmunds (UK #26/AUS #32 1977), Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit (US #77 1985).
Also recorded by Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken in the Shop (1978).

From the wiki: “Nick Lowe has indicated Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ was the source of inspiration for his own song ‘I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock’n’Roll)’, first recorded and made popular in 1977 by Dave Edmunds. Lowe, the song’s writer, also recorded it as part of the 1978 Live Stiffs Live concert compilation (as ‘Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken in the Shop’) and, again, in the studio in 1985 with Huey Lewis & the News. This version was released as a single, peaking at #77 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I Hear You Knocking

Originally recorded by Smiley Lewis (R&B #2 1955).
Other hit versions by Gale Storm (US #2 1955), Dave Edmunds (UK #1 1970 |US #4 1971).

From the wiki: “‘I Hear You Knocking’ (sometimes spelled ‘I Hear You Knockin”) was written in 1955 by Dave Bartholomew and Earl King (under the pen name Pearl King) and first recorded that year by Smiley Lewis, reaching #2 on the Billboard R&B singles chart in 1955.

Queen of Hearts

First recorded by Dave Edmunds (UK #11 1979).
Also recorded by Rodney Crowell (1980).
Other hit version by Juice Newton (US #2/C&W #14/CAN #8/AUS #8/NZ #7/DEN #6/SA #2 1981).

‘Queen of Hearts’ is the country-pop ballad crafted by Hank DeVito, the renowned pedal steel guitarist within Emmylou Harris’ backing ensemble, The Hot Band. This song made its initial appearance through Dave Edmunds, who featured it on his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary. When released as a single, it quickly ascended to #11 on the UK charts in that same year.

In 1980, ‘Queen of Hearts’ then found a notable home on Rodney Crowell’s album, But What Will the Neighbors Think. This version was particularly significant as the composer himself, DeVito, contributed his guitar skills to the recording. However, the song reached its zenith of recognition when the talented country-rock songstress Juice Newton included it on her 1981 album Juice.

Newton reminisced about the song’s journey, saying, ‘I performed [‘Queen of Hearts’] live for about a year…Then I presented it to [producer] Richard Landis when we began working on the Juice album. At that point, he wasn’t entirely convinced it would become a breakout hit, but I told him I thought it was an incredibly cool song… so we decided to record it.’

Juice Newton’s rendition of the track catapulted her to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to international stardom, achieving Top-10 status in countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland. It also garnered respectable success in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Newton’s earnest interpretation of ‘Queen of Hearts’ earned her a Grammy nomination in 1982 in the ‘Best Female Vocalist, Country and Western’ category, solidifying her place in the country music spotlight.

Rodney Crowell, “Queen of Hearts” (1980):

Juice Newton, “Queen of Hearts” (1981):