Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Eagles

Take It Easy

First recorded (as a demo) by Jackson Browne & Glenn Frey (1972).
Hit version by The Eagles (US #12 1972).
Also recorded by Jackson Browne (1973).

From the wiki: “Jackson Browne originally began writing ‘Take It Easy’ in 1971 for his own eponymous debut album but was having difficulty finishing the song. His friend and then-neighbor Glenn Frey had heard an early version and later asked Browne about it. Browne then played the unfinished second verse that begins with ‘Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…’, and Frey finished the verse with ‘It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.’ Browne was very happy with the result and suggested that they co-write the song.

Please Come Home for Christmas

Co-written and originally recorded by Charles Brown (US #76 1960 |XMAS #1 1972).
Other hit versions by Eagles (US #18 1978), Bon Jovi (released 1992 |UK #7/IRE #6/SCOT #8/ITA #10/FIN #20 1994).

From the wiki: “‘Please Come Home for Christmas’ is a Christmas song, released in 1960, by the American blues singer and pianist Charles Brown. Hitting Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in December 1961, the tune Brown co-wrote with Gene Redd peaked at position #76. It appeared on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart for nine seasons, hitting #1 in 1972.

“In 1978, the rock band Eagles covered and released the song as a holiday single. Their version peaked at #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the first Christmas song to reach the Top 20 on the non-seasonal singles chart since Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Paper’ in 1963.

“Jon Bon Jovi also covered the song on the 1992 holiday album A Very Special Christmas 2 in the style of the Eagles, featuring former Eagle Don Felder on guitar. In 1994 the same recording was released as a charity single in Europe, but this time instead of being credited as a solo recording by Jon Bon Jovi it was released under the band name Bon Jovi. The 1994 single release reached the top 10 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Italy.”

Midnight Flyer

First recorded by The Osborne Brothers and Marc Wiseman (1972).
Hit album version by Eagles (1974).

From the wiki: “Even though Eagles were attempting by 1974 to move beyond the Country-Rock label with which they had been tagged, the group were still happy to record this Bluegrass-y tune penned by singer-songwriter Paul Craft and first recorded in 1972 by The Osborne Brothers and Marc Wiseman (‘Dueling Banjos’). Bernie Leadon was one of the top banjo players in the country and his playing is featured throughout the song, along with Glenn Frey’s slide guitar and Randy Meisner’s lead vocals.”

In the City

Written and first recorded Joe Walsh (1979).
Hit album versions by Eagles (1979), Anybody Killa (2003)

From the wiki: “‘In the City’ was written by Barry De Vorzon (‘Nadia’s Theme‘) and Joe Walsh, and was first recorded by Walsh for release on the 1979 soundtrack album to The Warriors. Walsh recalls: ‘I went to junior-high school at P.S. 216 in Queens (NYC). I was in a gang, but we weren’t that tough because I had to be in by 7:30 to practice clarinet. Anyway, I came up with ‘In The City’ out of memories of growing up partly in New York City, which contrasted a lot from where I lived before that, which was Ohio.’

Seven Bridges Road

Written and originally recorded by Steve Young (1969).
Also recorded by Steve Young (1972), Ian Matthews (1973).
Hit version by Eagles (US #21 1980).

From the wiki: “Steve Young was inspired to eventually write ‘Seven Bridges Road’ during a sojourn in Montgomery, Alabama in the early 1960s: according to Young ‘a group of friends…showed me [a] road [that] led out of town…after you had crossed seven bridges you found yourself out in the country on a dirt road. Spanish moss hung in the trees and there were old farms with old fences and graveyards and churches and streams. A high bank dirt road with trees. It seemed like a Disney fantasy at times.’

“When Young approached a Hollywood-based music publisher in 1969 with ‘Seven Bridges Road’ he was advised the song ‘wasn’t commercial enough.’ and ‘Seven Bridges Road’ was not originally intended for inclusion on the Rock Salt & Nails album. However, in Young’s words: ‘One day we ran out of songs to record [for Rock Salt & Nails] in the studio … I started playing ‘Seven Bridges Road’. Producer Tony LiPuma responded with ‘You know I don’t want to hear original stuff.’ But, guitarist James Burton said: ‘Hey this song sounds good and it is ready, let’s put it down.’

Ol’ 55

Written and first recorded by Tom Waits (1973).
Hit album version by Eagles (B-side US #1/CAN #1/UK #51/AUS #14 1974).
Also recorded by Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer (2019).

From the wiki: “‘Ol’ ’55’ is a song by American musician Tom Waits. It is the opening track and lead single from Waits’ debut studio album, Closing Time, released in March 1973 on Asylum Records. The title, ‘Ol’ ’55’, refers to the singer’s vehicle, almost certainly Waits’ legendary 1955 Cadillac.

“The song has been covered by numerous artists, most notably by the Eagles for their 1974 album On The Border. The Eagles’ arrangement was released as the B-side of the international hit ‘Best of My Love’.