Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Kenny Rankin

A Sunday Kind of Love

First recorded by Fran Warren w. Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra (1946).
Hit versions by Jo Stafford (US #15 1947), Jan & Dean (US #95 1962), Lenny Welch (US #96/MOR #21 1972), Kenny Rankin (MOR #28 1976), Reba McEntire (C&W #5 1988).
Also recorded by Louis Prima (1947), The Harptones (1953), Etta James (1961).

From the wiki: “‘A Sunday Kind of Love’ was composed by Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes, and Louis Prima. It was first recorded in 1946 by Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra, becoming the signature-song for his vocalist, Fran Warren. Jo Stafford had the first charted recording of ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’, in 1947, the same year that co-writer Louis Prima recorded an arrangement with his orchestra.

“In 1953, the Harptones (‘Since I Fell For You‘), a group who never had a Top-40 pop hit, or even charted any of their 29 singles nationally on the Billboard R&B chart, covered ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’ – an arrangement that would have a strong influence on subsequent popular recordings of the song including covers by Etta James, Lenny Welch, and Kenny Rankin.”

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

First recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1968).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1968).
Also recorded by Kenny Rankin (1976), Jeff Healey (1990), Jake Shimabukuro (2004), Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne (2004).

From the wiki: “Inspiration for the song came to Geroge Harrison when reading the I Ching, which, as Harrison put it, ‘seemed to me to be based on the Eastern concept that everything is relative to everything else… opposed to the Western view that things are merely coincidental.’ Taking this idea of relativism to his parents’ home in northern England, Harrison committed to write a song based on the first words he saw upon opening a random book. Those words were ‘gently weeps’, and he immediately began writing the song.


Written and first recorded by Kenny Rankin (1967).
Also recorded by Bobbie Gentry (1968), The Friends of Distinction (1969), Kenny Rankin (1972).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame (UK #16 1969), Helen Reddy (US #12/MOR #2 1973).

From the wiki: “Early in his career Rankin worked as a singer-songwriter, penning songs for pop-jazz artists like Carmen McRae (‘My Carousel’), Peggy Lee (‘In the Name of Love’), and Mel Tormé (‘Haven’t We Met’). He developed a considerable following during the 60’s & 70’s with a steady flow of his own albums, three of which broke into the Top 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. (Rankin also performed session work for other Columbia Records artists. Among other sessions, he played acoustic guitar on Bob Dylan’s breakthrough disc Bringing It All Back Home.)

“He appeared on The Tonight Show more than twenty times. Host Johnny Carson was so impressed by him that he wrote the liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut album Mind Dusters, which featured the single ‘Peaceful.’ Kenny’s friend Helen Reddy would reach #2 on the MOR chart and #12 Pop in 1973 with her cover recording.

“Earlier covers of ‘Peaceful’ were recorded by Bobby Gentry and The Friends of Distinction. Georgie Fame (‘Yeh Yeh’) was the first artist to chart with ‘Peaceful’, in the UK in 1969.”