Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: R.B. Greaves

Fire and Rain

First single release by R.B. Greaves (US #82 April 1970).
Also released by Johnny Rivers (US #94 August 1970).
Other hit version by James Taylor (US #3/MOR #7/CAN #2/UK #42 September 1970).

“Like a shy kid at a prom dance, ‘Fire and Rain’ had stood on the sidelines all year [after being first recorded in December 1969], waiting for its moment. In the spring, Warner Brothers had hesitated to release the song to radio. With its subdued tone and elliptical lyrics, it wasn’t an odds-on favorite to be a hit … The label also hesitated when soul singer R.B. Greaves, who’d had a major hit the year before with ‘Take a Letter, Maria’, released a cover of ‘Fire and Rain’. No one wanted [James] Taylor competing against his own song.

(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me

First recorded (as a demo) by Dionne Warwick (1963).
Hit versions by Lou Johnson (US #49 1964), Sandi Shaw (US #52/UK #1/CAN #1/AUS #16 1964), Dionne Warwick B-side re-recording (US #65 1968), R.B. Greaves (US #27/MOR #3 1971) and Naked Eyes (US #8/UK #59/CAN #9/AUS #7 1983).

From the wiki: “Originally recorded as a demo by Dionne Warwick in 1963, ‘(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me’ first charted for Lou Johnson whose version (with backing vocals by Doris Troy, Dee Dee Warwick, and Cissy Houston) reached #49 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1964. Johnson also recorded the original versions of several other Bacharach and David songs that later proved to be bigger hits for other musicians, including ‘Reach Out for Me’, and ‘Message to Michael (Kentucky Bluebird)‘.