Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Ian Matthews


Written and first performed by Joni Mitchell (1969).
Hit versions by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (US #11 1970), Matthew’s Southern Comfort (US #23/UK #1/CAN #5/IRE #2/POL #2/SWE #2 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Woodstock’ was written by Joni Mitchell and included on her 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon. But, was first performed Mitchell at the Big Sur Folk Festival in September 1969, one month after the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. The song was notably covered by both Matthews Southern Comfort, and by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and would on to become a counterculture anthem. Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the Woodstock concert. She had not been there herself; she had been told by a manager that it would be more advantageous for her to appear at the time on The Dick Cavett Show. Mitchell wrote it in a hotel room in New York City, watching televised reports of the festival.

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.’