Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Roger Miller

Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)

Written and first recorded by Kris Kristofferson (US #26/MOR #4/CAN #21 1971).
Other hit versions by Roger Miller (C&W #28 1971), Tompall & The Glaser Brothers (C&W #2 1981).

From the wiki: “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)” is a song written and recorded by Kris Kristofferson for his 1971 album The Silver Tongued Devil and I. Released as a promotional single, Kristofferson’s recording did not chart as a country single, but did crossover to the Hot 100 (#28) and Adult Contemporary (#4) charts.

“The song was also released in 1971 by Roger Miller, who included it on his album The Best of Roger Miller and using ‘Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)’ as a promotional single in July 1971, charting in the Country Top-30.

Little Green Apples

Originally recorded by Roger Miller (US #39/C&W #6/UK #19 1968).
Other hit versions by Patti Page (US #96/MOR #11 1968), O.C. Smith (US #2/R&B #2 1968).

From the wiki: “Bobby Russell (‘Honey’) wrote ‘Little Green Apples’ for Roger Miller to record and Miller made the first recording of the song on January 24, 1968 in a session at the Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville. According to Buzz Cason, Russell wrote both the ‘Little Green Apples’ and ‘Honey’ as ‘an experiment in composing – anticipating a potential market for true-to-life story songs … with more ‘meat’ in the lyrics [than was] standard’ for current hits.

“Released as the lead single from A Tender Look at Love, ‘Little Green Apples”‘afforded Miller his final Top Ten C&W hit at #6 and also his final Top 40 crossover reaching #39 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Me and Bobby McGee

First recorded by Roger Miller (C&W #12 1969).
Other hit versions by Gordon Lightfoot (US #13/CAN #1 1970), Janis Joplin (US #1 1971). Jerry Lee Lewis (US #40/MOR #39/CAN #50 1971).
Also recorded by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition (1969), Kris Kristofferson (1970), The Statler Brothers (1970).

From the wiki: “Roger Miller was the first artist to record and to have a hit with ‘Me and Bobby McGee’, written by Kris Kristofferson (‘Help Me Make Through the Night‘, ‘Lovin’ Her Was Easier (That Anything I’ll Ever Do Again‘) and Fred Foster, peaking with it at #12 on the US Country chart in 1969.

“Kenny Rogers & the First Edition then covered the song (with Rogers on lead vocals), releasing it in on their album Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town in 1969. Gordon Lightfoot’s 1970 recording hit #13 on the US pop chart and #1 country in his native Canada in 1970, and was also a Top-10 hit in South Africa in 1971.

“Just a few days before her death in October 1970, Janis Joplin covered the song for inclusion on her forthcoming Pearl album. Kristofferson had previously sung the song for Joplin, and singer Bob Neuwirth had taught it to her. Kristofferson, however, did not know Joplin had recorded ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ until after her death – the first time he heard it was the day after she died. Joplin’s version topped the charts in 1971 to become her only #1 single and, in 2004, her recording of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ was ranked #148 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Kristofferson would record an arrangement of his own song for his 1970 debut album, Kristofferson.