Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Nick Lowe

Halfway to Paradise

First recorded by Tony Orlando (1961).
Hit versions by Bill Fury (UK #3 1961), Bobby Vinton (US #23 1968).
Also recorded by Nick Lowe (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Halfway to Paradise’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and was first recorded in 1961 by Tony Orlando in the United States, released as a single without any chart impact.

“The song had more success in the United Kingdom, recorded by Billy Fury where it reached a peak at #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1961, and it remained on the UK charts for 23 weeks. ‘Halfway to Paradise’ also marked the beginning of Fury’s burst at the top of the charts that would only begin to slow down with the arrival of fellow Liverpudlian act, The Beatles.

“Bobby Vinton revived ‘Halfway to Paradise’ in 1968 in a mellow, more romantic version that charted in the Top 40. Nick Lowe released an arrangement of ‘Halfway to Paradise’ as a promotional single (from the album Jesus of Cool) in 1977, without any chart impact.”

I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n Roll)

Inspired by “You Never Can Tell”, Chuck Berry (1964).
Hit versions by Dave Edmunds (UK #26/AUS #32 1977), Nick Lowe & His Cowboy Outfit (US #77 1985).
Also recorded by Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken in the Shop (1978).

From the wiki: “Nick Lowe has indicated Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ was the source of inspiration for his own song ‘I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock’n’Roll)’, first recorded and made popular in 1977 by Dave Edmunds. Lowe, the song’s writer, also recorded it as part of the 1978 Live Stiffs Live concert compilation (as ‘Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken in the Shop’) and, again, in the studio in 1985 with Huey Lewis & the News. This version was released as a single, peaking at #77 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cruel to be Kind

Co-written by Nick Lowe and first recorded by Brinsley Schwarz (1974).
Hit version by Nick Lowe (US #12/UK #12 1979).
Also recorded by Enjoh Santyuutei (as “Koi No Howan Howan”) (1982), co-writer Ian Gomm (1997), Stavros Michalakakos (as “Vres to Nisi”) (2010).

From the wiki: “Nick Lowe co-wrote the song with his Brinsley Schwarz band mate, Ian Gomm, for the Brinsley Schwarz album, It’s All Over Now, though said album was never officially released. In 1979, Lowe re-recorded the song for his second solo album, Labour of Lust. Released as a single, ‘Cruel to be Kind’ peaked at #12 in both the US and the UK.”

“In 1982, Enjoh Santyuutei released a Japanese-language cover of the song. Lowe’s former Brinsley Schwarz band-mate. and ‘Cruel to be Kind’ co-writer, Ian Gomm recorded his version of ‘Cruel to be Kind’ in 1997 for the album Crazy for You (which would also be included on the 2005 Nick Lowe tribute album Lowe Profile). In 2010, Greek pop singer Stavros Michalakakos, second-season winner of the Greek version of the The X Factor, recorded ‘Cruel to be Kind’ as his debut single release.”