Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Robert Palmer

I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Written and first recorded by Bob Dylan (1967).
Hit version by Robert Palmer with UB40 (UK #6/CAN #58/IRE #6/AUS #4/NZ #1/SUI #5/NETH #4 1990).

From the wiki: “‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ was written by Bob Dylan in 1967, and first released on the alb um John Wesley Harding. He first performed the song in concert at the Isle of Wight Festival with The Band on August 31, 1969. Since then, Dylan has included it in more than 400 live performances.

Man Smart (Woman Smarter)

Written and first recorded by King Radio (1937).
Hit version by Robert Palmer (US #63 1976).
Also recorded by Harry Belfonte (1956), Robert Mitchum (1957), The Carpenters (1977).

From the wiki: “The Calypso song ‘Man Smart (Woman Smarter)’ was written and first recorded by King Radio (Norman Span) in 1937. Variations of the song have been recorded by many artists including Harry Belafonte, Chubby Checker, Rosanne Cash, Robert Mitchum, and The Carpenters. Robert Palmer charted in the Billboard Hot 100 with his 1976 cover recording. ‘Man Smart (Woman Smarter)’ was also a staple of the live repertoire of the Grateful Dead from 1981 to 1995.”

Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)

Written and first recorded by Moon Martin (1978).
Hit version by Robert Palmer (US #14/CAN #1/AUS #13/NZ #20 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)’ was written by Moon Martin (‘Cadillac Walk’) and first recorded for his 1978 album Shots From a Cold Nightmare. A year later the song was covered by Robert Palmer for his 1979 album Secrets and went on to become a US and Canadian hit. The main difference between Moon’s version and the cover by Robert Palmer is that Palmer’s version is in major key while Moon’s is in minor, making Martin’s original arrangement sound more ominous.”

Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley

First recorded by Lee Dorsey (1970).
Hit album versions by Robert Palmer (1974), Ringo Starr (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley’ was written by Allen Toussaint (‘Java‘, ‘Working in a Coal Mine’, ‘Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)‘) and was first recorded by Lee Dorsey (‘Yes We Can Can‘) in 1970 for his album Yes, We Can.

“The song would later be covered by Robert Palmer (as the title track to his 1974 album Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley), and by Ringo Starr on his 1977 album Ringo the 4th.”

Can We Still Be Friends

Written and first recorded by Todd Rundgren (US #29 1978).
Other hit version by Robert Palmer (US #52/NETH #32 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Can We Still Be Friends’ was written and originally performed by Todd Rundgren, and released on his 1978 album Hermit of Mink Hollow. The lyrics describe a relationship to which Rundgren and the woman to whom he is singing have given great effort, but simply cannot work. Rundgren explains this, but wishes to part amicably, asking several times if he and his partner can ‘still be friends.’ The song is generally assumed to be about Rundgren’s breakup with long-time companion Bebe Buell in 1977. In 1979, ‘Can We Still Be Friends’ became a hit again when Robert Palmer recorded a version for his album Secrets, from where it became a popular Rock album radio hit.”

Some Guys Have All the Luck

Originally recorded by The Persuaders (US #39/R&B #7 1974).
Also recorded by Nikki Wills (1981).
Other hit versions by Robert Palmer (US Rock #59/UK #16 1982), Rod Stewart (US #10/UK #15 1984), Louise Mandrell (as “Some Girls Have All the Luck” C&W #22 1985), Maxi Priest (UK #12/IRE #15/BEL #18 1987).

From the wiki: “[Jeff] Fortgang wrote many songs during his three years in the music business after graduating Yale in 1971, but sold only this one. He went on to get a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and still works in the mental health field in the Boston area. By the time ‘Some Guys Have All the Luck’ became a major hit (by Rod Stewart) in 1984, Fortgang had long before abandoned his dreams being a popular songwriter and was already well into a career as a psychologist.