Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jackson Browne

Jamaica Say You Will

First recorded by The Byrds (1971).
Also recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1972).
Hit album version by Jackson Browne (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Jamaica Say You Will’ (alternately ‘Jamaica, Say You Will’) was written by Jackson Browne, but was first recorded for release by The Byrds on their Byrdmaniax album, produced by Kim Fowley, the year before Browne’s version came out. ‘Jamaica Say You Will’ was also recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for their All the Good Times, released the same month as Browne’s self-titled debut album (aka Saturate Before Using) in January 1972.

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.

The Road

Written and first recorded by Danny O’Keefe (1972).
Hit album version by Jackson Browne (1978).

From the wiki: “‘The Road’ was written by Danny O’Keefe, who recorded the song for the album O’Keefe. The song foreshadowed O’Keefe’s fate, as he found himself living the song when he toured to promote his 1972 hit ‘Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues‘. O’Keefe recalled: ‘For me the road was basically go out for six weeks and after six weeks you were usually sick of the road and sort of beat to death and poor, because unless you stay out there for a long period of time it’s very hard to recoup those expenses that you have when you’re carrying a band.'”

Rock Me on the Water

First recorded by Johnny Rivers (1971).
Also recorded by Brewer & Shipley (1971).
Hit version by Jackson Browne (US #48 1972).

From the wiki: “‘Rock Me on the Water’ is an oft-covered song written singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. The title was released as the second single from his 1972 debut album, Jackson Browne, following the #7 success of Browne’s debut single, “Doctor My Eyes.” Browne’s version reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Sept. 23, 1972.

“Johnny Rivers was the first to release a recording of ‘Rock Me on the Water,’ including the song on his 1971 album Homegrown. It was not released as a single. Brewer & Shipley also recorded the song for release in 1971, on their album Shake Off the Demon.

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.