Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Delaney and Bonnie

Free the People

Written and first recorded by Barbara Keith (released Sept 1970).
Hit versions by Delaney & Bonnie (US #75 May 1970), Sherbet (AUS #18 1971).
Also recorded by Barbra Streisand (1971).

From the wiki: “A singer/guitarist and folk-influenced songwriter, Barbara Keith’s curious career began when she was discovered at Greenwich Village’s famous Café Wha?. Her first appearance on record was in 1968, with her background vocals and one of her songs appearing on the self-titled debut from Kangaroo Records. Verve Records released the first of two self-titled albums in 1969.

“Keith would would initially sign with Verve for one album (1969’s Barbara Keith). Some critics fell in love with the album but as far as sales the album went nowhere. Keith switched labels to A&M Records in August/September, 1970. Her first A&M single, ‘Free the People’, was soon covered by Delaney and Bonnie, whose promotional single peaked at #75 on the Billboard Hot 100, and a year later by Barbra Streisand (for her album Stoney End that peaked at #10 on the Billboard 200 album chart in the United States, her first to reach the top 10 in five years and a marked departure from Streisand’s previous musical direction).


Co-written and first recorded (as “Groupie (Superstar)”) by Delaney & Bonnie (1969).
Also recorded by Rita Coolidge (1970), Bette Midler (1970 |1972).
Hit versions by The Carpenters (US #2/CAN #3/JPN #7 1971), Luther Vandross (US #87/R&B #5 1983).

From the wiki: “Accounts of the song’s origin vary somewhat, but it grew out of the late 1969-early 1970 nexus of English and American musicians known as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, involving Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and various others. The song’s working title during portions of its development was ‘Groupie Song’. In its first recorded incarnation, the song was titled ‘Groupie (Superstar)’, and was recorded and released as a non-album B-side to the Delaney & Bonnie single ‘Comin’ Home’ (promoting the album On Tour with Eric Clapton) in December 1969. ‘Groupie’ would see an eventual album release in 1972, on D&B Together.

Never Ending Song of Love

Written and first recorded by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (US #13 1971).
Other hit version by The New Seekers (UK #2/IRE #1/AUS #25 1971).

From the wiki: “‘Never Ending Song of Love’ was written by Delaney Bramlett and was first released in March 1971 on the Delaney & Bonnie album Motel Shot. (The album’s title refers to the impromptu, sometimes late-night, jam sessions touring musicians engaged in when on the road.)

“‘Never Ending Song’ was Delaney & Bonnie’s most successful, highest-charting single.

“The New Seekers were formed in 1969 after the dissolution of The Seekers (‘Georgy Girl’) and quickly found chart success with a cover recording of Melanie’s ‘What Have They Done To My Song, Ma?’. Their breakthrough hit, though, released in June 1971, was ‘Never Ending Song of Love,’ reaching #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 in Ireland. That success led the New Seekers to being used as the session singers’ for the Coca-Cola jingle, ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’, which then led in turn to the group being used to record the song reworked as ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing‘ international hit single.”

Only You Know and I Know

Written and originally recorded by Dave Mason (US #42 1970).
Hit album version by Delaney and Bonnie (1970).

From the wiki: “Dave Mason co-founded the rock band Traffic, but left following the recording of their debut album, Mr. Fantasy (1967), only to rejoin halfway through the sessions for their next album, Traffic (1968), after which he left again. From 1969 through 1970, Mason toured with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends along with Eric Clapton and George Harrison.