Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Franke & The Knockouts

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life

First recorded (as a demo) by Franke & the Knockouts (1987, released 1998).
Hit version by Jennifer Warnes & Bill Medley (US #1/MOR #1/UK #6 1987 |UK #8 1991).

From the wiki: “‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ was composed in late 1986 or early 1987 by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz. Previte, the ‘Franke’ of the group Franke & the Knockouts, had had solo success with the song ‘Sweetheart’ in 1981 but, by 1986, was without a recording contract. Producer and head of Millennium Records, Jimmy Ienner, asked Previte about writing some music for ‘a little movie called Dirty Dancing‘. Previte initially turned the request down because he was still trying to get a record deal, but Ienner was persistent, and got Previte to write several songs for the film, including ‘Hungry Eyes‘, later recorded by singer Eric Carmen.

“After getting further approval, Previte created a demo of the song, performing on it himself with singer Rachele Cappelli. The demo showcased how the harmonies were to be used, employing a ‘cold open’ and a slow build-up of the song to its finale.

Hungry Eyes

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Franke & The Knockouts (1987, released 1999).
Hit version by Eric Carmen (US #4/UK #82/CAN #2 1987).

From the wiki: “Songwriters Franke Previte and John De Nicola, of Franke & The Knockouts, wrote and first recorded the song as a demo that would find its way onto the Dirty Dancing movie soundtrack. (The pair also composed ‘(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life’ for the same movie.) Franke & The Knockouts recorded for Millenium Records, which was helmed by Jimmy Ienner, who asked Franke for songs when Ienner began producing the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Previte remembers: ‘Jimmy had closed his label and ‘Hungry Eyes’ was a song on my demo reel, because I was trying to get a new recording contract. No one thought the song had a chance. I guess history proves them wrong.’