Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Roy Orbison

Love Hurts

First recorded by The Everly Brothers (1960).
Also recorded by Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris (1969, released 1974).
Hit versions by Roy Orbison (AUS #5 1961), Jim Capaldi (US #97/UK #4/CAN #15/AUS #6 1975), Nazareth (US #8/UK #41/CAN #1/AUS #8/DEN #2/NZ #4 1975), Cher (1975 |UK #43/NOR #2 1991).

From the wiki: “‘Love Hurts’ was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’, ‘Bye Bye Love’), and was first recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960. The song was introduced in December 1960 as an album track on A Date with The Everly Brothers, but was never released as a single (A-side or B-side) by the Everlys. (The duo would re-record the song with a more up-tempo arrangement in 1964.)

“The first hit version of the song was recorded by Roy Orbison, who earned Australian radio play for ‘Love Hurts’ even though the song was issued as the B-side to ‘Running Scared’, hitting the Top-5 on that country’s singles charts in 1961.

Ooby Dooby

First recorded (as a demo) by The Wink Westerners (1955).
First released by The Teen Kings (1955).
Hit version by Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings (US #59 1956).

From the wiki: “‘Ooby Dooby’ was written by Dick Penner and Wade Moore. The song was first recorded in early 1955 by The Wink Westerners, a group that Roy Orbison had formed in high school, as a demo for Columbia Records which failed to ignite any interest. Later, after forming The Teen Kings during his first semester of junior college, Orbison would re-record ‘Ooby Dooby’ in late 1955. The song was released as the B-side to ‘Trying To Get To You’ by Norman Petty’s Odessa, Texas, Je-Wel records label with no apparent chart impact.

“In 1955, while Johnny Cash toured the Odessa area and played on the same local radio show bill as the Teen Kings, Cash suggested to Orbison that he approach Sam Phillips at Sun Records, home of rockabilly stars including Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips was persuaded to listen to the Teen Kings’ recording. Impressed, Phillips and offered the group a contract in 1956.


First recorded by The Velvets (B-side JPN #1 1961).
Other hit version by co-writer Roy Orbison (UK #15/AUS #4/IRE #4/BEL #1 1966).

From the wiki: “‘The Velvets didn’t conform to any of doo-wop’s norms.’ writes sleeve note author Bill Millar. The group hailed not from New York but from Odessa, Texas, where the panhandle meets the rest of the state. The quintet was formed in 1959 by Virgil Johnson, a high-school English teacher, with four of his students.

“Performing locally at sock-hops and campus functions, The Velvets were heard by Roy Orbison who was so impressed with them that he recommended the group to Fred Foster at Monument Records. Like their mentor, Orbison, The Velvets sang songs which straddled that increasingly invisible line between Country and Pop. The Velvets and Roy Orbison both shared the same producer, Fred Foster, and used the same Nashville ‘A-Team’ session musicians. The Velvets’ second release, ‘Tonight’, became their highest-charting single, taking into the Billboard Hot 100 at #26 (UK chart at #50) and, as Millar says, was as perfect as Black pop music would get. However, the follow-up, ‘Laugh’, barely dented the American charts. But, its B-side, ‘Lana’, went to #1 in Japan!


Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Roy Orbison (1958).
Hit version by The Everly Brothers (US #30/C&W #15/UK #1 1958).
Also recorded by Roy Orbison (1965).

From the wiki: “‘Claudette’ was written by Roy Orbison and was inspired by his wife, Claudette Frady, whom he had married in 1957. It was the first major songwriting success for the then-unknown Orbison, who at had only one minor hit (‘Oooby Dooby’, US #59) while under contract to Sun Records. Discouraged, Orbison left recording behind and returned home to Texas to concentrate on songwriting.

“Orbison’s demo found its way to The Everly Brothers who would record and release their version as the B-side to ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’. But, ‘Claudette’ would also separately chart in both the US and the UK (where it topped the chart).

“The success of the Everly’s ‘Claudette’ gave Orbison enough money to buy himself out of his contract at Sun and he signed over all of his prior copyrights to Sam Phillips with the exception of ‘Claudette’. Instead, Orbison affiliated himself with the Everly’s publisher, Acuff-Rose Music. Orbison would record his own version of ‘Claudette’ in 1965.”