Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Gregg Allman


First recorded by The 31st of February (1968).
Hit album version by The Allman Brothers (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Melissa’ was written by vocalist Gregg Allman, but dates beyond The Allman Brothers band’s inception and well-known 1972 recording. It was first written in late 1967, and two demo versions from those years exists, including a version cut by the 31st of February, a band formed by drummer Butch Trucks and which, by 1968, was to include post-Allman Joy/Hour Glass band members Duane and Gregg Allman.

“The song had its genesis after Allman had struggled previously to create any song with substance — ‘Melissa’ was among the first that survived after he tossed nearly 300 attempts. The song’s namesake was almost settled as ‘Delilah’ before ‘Melissa’ came to Allman in, of all places, a grocery store where he was buying milk late one night, as he told the story in his memoir, My Cross to Bear:

Midnight Rider

Written and first recorded by The Allman Brothers (1970).
Also recorded by Buddy Miles (1971).
Hit versions by Joe Cocker (US #23 1972), Gregg Allman (US #19 1973), Paul Davidson (UK #10 1976), Willie Nelson (C&W #6 1980).

From the wiki: “‘Midnight Rider’ is a popular and widely covered song by The Allman Brothers Band from their 1970 album Idlewild South, written by Gregg Allman and Robert Kim Payne. Drummer Buddy Miles (Electric Flag, Jimi Hendrix) recorded the first cover of ‘Midnight Rider’, in 1971, for his album titled A Message to the People.

“Recordings by Joe Cocker, Gregg Allman himself (on his solo album Laid Back), U.K. singer Paul Davidson, and Willie Nelson have all reached the US and UK charts as singles but the original arrangement, as recorded by The Allman Brothers Band, was never released as a single.”

Mountain Jam

Written and first recorded (as “There is a Mountain”) by Donovan (US #11/UK #8 1967).
Also recorded by Dandy Livingstone (1967).
Adapted by The Allman Brothers (1972).

From the wiki: “‘There Is a Mountain’ is a song and single by British singer/songwriter Donovan, released in 1967 and charting in the US and UK. ‘There is a Mountain’ was first covered, in 1967, by Reggae artist Dandy Livingstone (‘A Message to You, Rudy‘).

“‘Mountain Jam’ is the improvised instrumental jam based on the Donovan song. The Allman Brothers were inspired to improvise on it after hearing the Grateful Dead’s jam ‘Alligator’, from the Dead’s Anthem of the Sun album (1968). ‘Mountain Jam’ was recorded at Fillmore East in March 1971 to be included on the mixed live/studio album Eat A Peach, the last Allman Brothers albums to include founding member and lead guitarist Duane Allman before his accidental death in September 1971.

These Days

First recorded by Nico (1967).
Covered by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1968), Tom Rush (1970), Jennifer Warnes (1972), Ian Matthews (1973), Jackson Browne (1973), Gregg Allman (1973), Paul Westerberg (2003), Glen Campbell (2008), Jackson Browne & Gregg Allman (2014).

From the wiki: “‘These Days’ was written by Jackson Browne c. 1964, when he was 16-years old. German model, chanteuse and Warhol Superstar Nico was the first to record ‘These Days’ for release, on her October 1967 album Chelsea Girl. The elaborate production featured a fairly fast finger-picking electric guitar part by Browne. The use of that instrument was suggested by Andy Warhol.