Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jerry Reed

A Thing Called Love

Written and first recorded by Jerry Reed (1968).
Hit versions by Jimmy Dean (C&W #21 1968), Johnny Cash (C&W #2/MOR #37/UK #4/CAN #1/IRE #1 1972).

From the wiki: “‘A Thing Called Love’ was written and first recorded by Jerry Reed in 1968.

“Jimmy Dean was the first artist to chart the song, peaking at #21 on the Country Singles chart in 1968. In 1971, the song was recorded by Johnny Cash and it became an international hit – peaking at #1 in Canada and Ireland, and also charting high in the UK and the Netherlands, becoming Cash’s biggest hit ever in Europe.”

Guitar Man

First recorded by Jerry Reed (C&W #53 1967).
Hit versions by Elvis Presley (US #43/C&W #1/UK #19 1968), Elvis Presley (re-recording US #28/C&W #1 1981).

From the wiki: “‘Guitar Man’ is a 1967 song written by Jerry Reed and first recorded by him the same year. Soon after Reed’s single appeared, Elvis Presley recorded the song with Reed playing the guitar part.

“According to Peter Guralnick, in volume two of his biography of Presley, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, the singer had been trying unsuccessfully to record the tune but wasn’t happy with the groove. Presley said something to the effect of: ‘Get me that redneck picker who’s on the original [recording],’ and his staff brought Reed into the studio – who nailed it on the first take.