Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jody Miller

Baby I’m Yours

Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Van McCoy (1965).
Hit versions by Barbara Lewis (US #11/R&B #5 1965), Peter & Gordon (UK #19 1965), Jody Miller (C&W #5 1971), Linda Lewis (UK #33 1976).
Also recorded by The Paramounts (1965, released 1998), Cher (1990).

From the wiki: “Barbara Lewis has stated that Van McCoy wrote ‘Baby I’m Yours’ specifically for her. But, that when she first heard the demo she disliked the song. (She has suggested that she was actually daunted by the high quality of the vocal, by McCoy himself, on the demo, and at the original session recalled ‘I didn’t really put 100% into my vocal performance’ hoping that Atlantic would shelve the track as sub-par.)

“‘[Producer] Ollie [McLaughlin] told me ‘Barbara, we’re gonna have to go back to Detroit and dub you in. We gotta do your vocals over. You’re just not giving like you should on the song.’ We did several takes [in Detroit] and he was wondering ‘How am I going to get this girl to give? She’s so hard-headed.’ He said ‘You know, Barbara, Karen can sing that song better than you.’ That was his little daughter. And it pissed me off. I did one more take, and that was the take that they selected.’

Never Let Her Go

First recorded (as “Never Let Him Go”) by Jody Miller (1965).
Hit version by David Gates, writer (US #29/MOR #3 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Never Let Him Go’ was written by David Gates and was first recorded by Jody Miller (‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me‘) in 1965 (B-side ‘Be My Man’) with no apparent chart impact (but which some consider to be one of her best Capitol Records recordings).

“Discovered by actor Dale Robertson, Miller began her career in the early 1960s as a folk/pop singer, singing in the Los Angeles area. By the mid-1960s, Miller became a pioneer crossover female vocalist, opening the doors for Linda Ronstadt, Anne Murray, and Olivia Newton-John and others as a pop singer recording a strong Country influence. Miller enjoyed modest success in both genres.

“Songwriter Gates, who had also arranged and produced Miller’s original recording, covered ‘Never Let Her Go’ for his own album, Never Let Her Go, in 1975 – Gates’ second solo album but his first after the break-up of the group Bread – and the single charted in the US Top 30.”

My Sweet Lord

First recorded and released by Billy Preston (US #93/R&B #23 1970).
Hit version by George Harrison (US #1/UK #1/FRA #1/GER #1 1971 |UK #1 2002).
Based on “He’s So Fine” recorded by The Chiffons (1963), Jody Miller (1971) & “Oh Happy Day” recorded by The Eddie Hawkins Singers (1969).
Parody recordings by George Harrison (as “The Pirate Song”, 1976), by Jonathan King (a “He’s So Fine/My Sweet Lord”, 1987).

From the wiki: “‘My Sweet Lord’ was written by George Harrison but originally given to fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record. Harrison produced Preston’s recording and it was first released on Preston’s Encouraging Words album in September 1970.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

First performances (as “Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)”) by Pino Donaggio (ITA #1 1965) and Jody Miller (1965).
First (English-language) recording by Willeke Alberti (1965).
Hit versions by Dusty Springfield (US #4/UK #1 1966), Elvis Presley (US #11/UK #9 1970), Guys ‘n Dolls (UK #5 1976), The Floaters (US #28 1977).

From the wiki: “‘Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)’ was introduced at the 1965 Sanremo Festival by Pino Donaggio – who’d co-written the song with Vito Pallavicini – and his team partner Jody Miller (‘He’s So Fine‘, ‘Never Let Her Go‘): the song took seventh place at San Remo and, as recorded by Donaggio, reached #1 in Italy in March 1965.

“Willeke Alberti was a Dutch singer and actress, starting her career at the early age of eleven in the musical Duel om Barbara, recording her first single in 1958 together with her entertainer father, Willy Alberti. Willeke and her father had a television show between 1965 and 1969. Her singing career from 1970 onwards was less active. In 1994, she returned to the state to representd the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Waar is de zon?’ (‘Where is the sun?’).