Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Grass Roots

Lovin’ Things

First recorded by The Pathfinders (1967).
Also recorded by Bobby Rydell (1968), December’s Children (1968).
Hit versions by The Marmalade (UK #6 1968), The Grass Roots (US #49 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Lovin’ Things’ was co-written by Artie Schroek and Jet Loring, and first recorded for commercial release in 1967 by the Scottish band The Pathfinders. A version by Bobby Rydell was put out as a 45 rpm on the Reprise label in January 1968. Then, in April 1968, UK group The Marmalade released their cover recording and took it into the UK Top Ten. Later that year, US group DecemberĀ“s Children also covered ‘Lovin’ Things’ with a somewhat different orchestral arrangement but with no apparent chart success. “Lovin’ Things” finally became a Billboard Hot 100 hit in the US when The Grass Roots covered it in early 1969.”

Let’s Live for Today

First recorded (as”Piangi Con Me”) by The Rokes (1967).
First recorded (in English) by The Rokes (1967).
Also recorded (and first released) by The Living Daylights (1967).
Hit version by The Grass Roots (US #8 1967).

From the wiki: “The song that would become ‘Let’s Live for Today’ was originally written by David Shapiro and Ivan Mogul in 1966, with Italian lyrics and the Italian title of ‘Piangi Con Me’ (translated as ‘Cry with Me’). At the time, Shapiro was a member of The Rokes, an English beat group who had relocated to Italy in 1963. Following its success on the Italian charts, plans were made to release ‘Piangi Con Me’ in the United Kingdom and as a result, the song was translated into English and given the new title of ‘Passing Thru Grey’. However, the song’s publisher in Britain, Dick James Music, was unhappy with the lyrics of “Passing Thru Grey” and decided that they should be changed.

“Michael Julien, a member of the publisher’s writing staff, was assigned the task of composing new words for the song and it was his input that transformed it into ‘Let’s Live for Today’. Before the Rokes could release the song in the UK, however, another British group, The Living Daylights, released a version of it. Ultimately, neither The Living Daylights nor The Rokes would reach the charts with their recording of the song.

Midnight Confessions

First recorded by The Ever-Green Blues (1967).
Hit version by The Grass Roots (US #5 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Midnight Confessions’ was written by Lou T. Josie and originally recorded by the Ever-Green Blues in 1967 for their album 7 Do Eleven (because The Ever-Green Blues were a 7-piece band doing eleven songs). Their recording caught the attention of producer Steve Barri who was looking for a song for The Grass Roots to record that was a ‘West Coast’ approximation of a Motown-style production.

“Because of the way The Grass Roots was handled by its producers, it is unlikely that any of the members of the band actually played on their recording of ‘Midnight Confessions’ (members of The Wrecking Crew did) except to provide the vocals and to perform it in concert. Regardless, it was the Grass Roots’ first single to feature a horn section and was a departure from the group’s previous singles and thus caused worry for the band members that it might not have become a hit. The Grass Roots, however, did not need to worry as the single became their biggest hit in the United States, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”