Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Peter & Gordon

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.’

I Go to Pieces

First recorded by Lloyd Brown (1964).
Hit versions by Peter & Gordon (US #9 1965), Cotton Lloyd & Christian (US #66/MOR #10/UK #51 1975).
Also recorded by Del Shannon, writer (1965).

From the wiki: “Del Shannon (‘Runaway’) wrote ‘I Go to Pieces’ for an R & B singer named Lloyd Brown whom Shannon discovered at a Detroit, Michigan nightclub. Shannon arranged and produced Brown’s recording but was unable to find a label interested in releasing the track. Shannon also attempted to record ‘I Go to Pieces’ for himself in an August 1964 New York City recording session but was unable to cut a satisfactory vocal of the song before his allotted three-hour session ran out. (Shannon would record a cover of his own song a year later, in 1965, after Peter & Gordon (‘A World Without Love‘) had already scored their US Top 10 hit with it.)

Lady Godiva

Originally recorded by Paul Jones (1966).
Hit versions by Peter & Gordon (US #6/UK #16/CAN #1/AUS #1 1966), Alex Day (UK #15 2012).

From the wiki: “Written by Mike Leander, Charlie Mills, and Gordon Mills, ‘Lady Godiva’ is a music hall-style number which frivolously references the legend of Lady Godiva, re-imagining it in the modern day: a director from Hollywood witnesses her legendary ride (with ‘her long blonde hair’ obscuring her breasts and other private parts) and recruits the lady to star in his (pornographic) movie.

“Peter & Gordon’s producer John Burgess brought ‘Lady Godiva’ to the attention of the duo, which Burgess had recently produced for former Manfred Mann lead singer and harmonicist Paul Jones’ album My Way. Peter Asher recalls that he [Asher] objected to recording the song – the duo’s previous hits were almost all melancholy love songs. P&G’s other half, Gordon Waller, responded ‘It’ll be funny [so] shut up’.

A World Without Love

First recorded (as a demo) by Paul McCartney (1963).
Hit version by Peter & Gordon (US #1/UK #1 1964).
Also recorded by Bobby Rydell (US #80 1964), The Supremes (1964).

From the wiki: “Paul McCartney did not think the song was good enough for The Beatles. Prior to giving the song to Peter & Gordon, he offered it to Billy J. Kramer, who rejected it. McCartney wrote the song when he was 16. In 1963, when he moved into the London home of his then-girlfriend Jane Asher, sharing a room with her brother Peter Asher, he offered the song to Asher and Gordon Waller after the pair obtained a recording contract as Peter & Gordon.