Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Otis Redding

Glory of Love

First recorded by Willie Bryant & His Orchestra (1936).
Hit versions by Benny Goodman with Helen Ward (US #1 1936), The Five Keys (R&B #1 1951), Otis Redding (US #60/R&B #19 1967).

From the wiki: “‘The Glory Of Love’ wasg written by Billy Hill, and first recorded by Willie Bryant & His Orchestra in 1936. Bryant was American jazz bandleader, vocalist, and disc jockey who first put together in 1934 a big band which at times included Teddy Wilson, Cozy Cole, Johnny Russell, Benny Carter, Ben Webster, Eddie Durham, Ram Ramirez, and Taft Jordan. The cover recording by Benny Goodman & His Orchestra, with Helen Ward, topped the Pop music charts in 1936. In 1951, R&B vocal group, The Five Keys, had their biggest R&B hit with their version of the song, hitting #1 on the R&B chart. Otis Redding covered ‘Glory of Love’ in 1967, landing his recording in the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B Top 20.”


Written and originally recorded by Otis Redding (US #35/R&B #4 1965).
Other hit version by Aretha Franklin (US #1/R&B #1/UK #10/CAN #3/AUS #14 1967).

From the wiki: “Essentially a ballad, ‘Respect’ was written by Otis Redding for Speedo Sims, who intended to record it with his band, the Singing Demons, but was unable to produce a good version. Redding then decided to sing the song himself, which Speedo agreed to. (Redding also promised to credit Speedo on the liner notes, but this never happened.)

Try a Little Tenderness

First recorded by Ray Noble Orchestra (1932).
Hit versions by Ruth Etting (US #16 1933), Ted Lewis & His Band (US #6 1933), Aretha Franklin (US #100 1962), Otis Redding (US #25/R&B #4/UK #26 1966), Three Dog Night (US #29 1969).
Also recorded by Little Miss Cornshucks (1951), Sam Cooke (1964), Tom Jones (1969).
Also performed by The Commitments (1991), Paul Giamatti & Andre Braugher (2000).

From the wiki: “‘Try a Little Tenderness’ is a song written by Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly, a British songwriting team who often collaborated with a third composer – in this case the American, Harry Woods. The song was first recorded on December 8, 1932 by the Ray Noble Orchestra (with vocals by Val Rosing) followed in early 1933 by Ruth Etting’s first charting version. The song quickly became a standard. Subsequent productions were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Frankie Laine, Earl Grant, Nina Simone, Etta James and others – including a discovery by Atlantic Records founder, Ahmet Ertegun: Little Miss Cornshucks.


Originally recorded by Sam Cooke (US #7/R&B #2 1965).
Other hit version by Otis Redding (US #47/R&B #16/UK #28 1967).
Also recorded by The British Walkers (US #108 1967).

From the wiki: “‘Shake’ was a song written and recorded by Sam Cooke at the last session Cooke had before he meet his untimely death in December 1964. Posthumously released in 1965, ‘Shake’ reached the US Top 10, his last song to do so. Otis Redding would record his first cover of ‘Shake’ in 1965. A live version, from the 1967 album Live in Europe, would be released as a single in May 1967. Redding’s 1965 recording would later be elected to the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Knock on Wood

Co-written and first recorded by Eddie Floyd (US #28/R&B #1 1966).
Other hit versions by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas (US #30/R&B #8/UK #35 1967), David Bowie (1974 UK #10/IRE #4), Ami Stewart (US #1/UK #6/CAN #1/ 1979).

From the wiki: “Written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, ‘Knock on Wood’ was first recorded in 1966 by Eddie Floyd. According to Floyd, the line ‘It’s like thunder, lightning, the way you love me is frightening’ was inspired by a thunderstorm that was occurring the afternoon the song was written with Cropper, the famed Stax guitarist, in a Memphis hotel room.

(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

First recorded (as “(My Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”) by The Dells (1967, released 1968).
Also recorded (as”(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher”) by Otis Redding (1967 |B-side R&B #30 1969).
Hit versions by Jackie Wilson (US #6/R&B #1 1967 |UK #11 1969), Canada Goose (US #90/CAN #44 1970), Rita Coolidge (US #2/UK #48/AUS #6 1977).

From the wiki: Chess Records’ in-house writers and producers Gary Jackson and Raynard Miner wrote ‘(My Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’, which was initially recorded by The Dells (‘Oh, What a Night’) in February 1967. However, their recording was not released until May 1968 on the album There Is. Another writer, Gary Jackson, made some changes to the song, and this version, retitled ‘(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher’ was recorded by Otis Redding for Atco Records prior to his passing in December 1967. It would be posthumously released in 1969, 18 months later, as the B-side to ‘Free Me’.

“Jackson also pitched the song to producer Carl Davis at Brunswick Records. When Brunswick artist Jackie Wilson recorded his vocal track, Davis recalls, the song – now titled ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’, had been arranged ‘like a soul ballad. I said that’s totally wrong. You have to jump and go with the percussion … If he didn’t want to sing it that way, I would put my voice on the record and sell millions.’ After hearing Davis’s advice, Wilson cut the lead vocal for the new up-tempo ‘Higher and Higher’ arrangement in a single take.