Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Equals

Baby, Come Back

First recorded by The Equals (1966 |IRE #2/BEL #1/NETH #6/NOR #4/AUS #10 1967 |US #32/UK #1 1968).
Also recorded by Eddy Grant (1984).
Other hit version by Pato Banton & UB40 (UK #1/AUS #11/IRE #2/SCOT #1/NZ #1 1994).

From the wiki: “‘Baby, Come Back’ was written by Eddy Grant (‘Police On My Back‘, ‘Electric Avenue’), and originally performed and recorded by him and the rest of his band – The Equals – in 1966. The song was first released in 1966, a year after the band formed, but did not chart. However, after impressive sales in the rest of Europe (where it reached the Top 10 in Belgium and The Netherlands), the single was re-issued in the UK and reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart in July 1968.

“The song was covered by its writer, Eddy Grant, as a solo effort in 1984 without any chart success.

“In 1994, ‘Baby, Come Back’ was covered by Pato Banton who was joined by Robin and Ali Campbell of UB40 – Banton dubbing verses between the Campbells singing the original hook and chorus. Topping the UK Singles chart beginning in November 1994, Banton’s cover was the 4th biggest-selling UK single of 1994.”

Police on My Back

Written (by Eddy Grant) and first recorded by The Equals (1967).
Hit album version by The Clash (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Police on My Back’ was written by Eddy Grant when he was leader of the Equals, a racially-mixed British group who fused rock, reggae, and soul rhythms. The band’s sole international hit was the admirably eccentric groover ‘Baby Come Back’. First released as a promotional single in Germany in 1967 and in 1968 in the UK, the Netherlands and Austria (with no apparent chart success), ‘Police on My Back’ was included on the Equals Explosion album released in the UK in 1968, and in the US in 1968 on the compilation ‘greatest hits’ album Baby, Come Back.

“The Clash picked ‘Police on My Back’ to cover while recording their fourth album, the sprawling three-LP set Sandanista!. While the Equals’ original version has a clear if muted reggae undertow, the song became a hard-charging, high-velocity onslaught when recorded by The Clash.

“‘Police on My Back’ was a rare example of the Clash tackling a reggae tune and, rather than trying to fuse its Caribbean rhythms with the band’s muscular approach, instead stripped the tune to its bare bones and tackling it as straight rock & roll. The track was cited by some critics in reviews of Sandinista! as the most ‘Clash-sounding’ song on the album – with the irony being that ‘Police on My Back’ was a cover; not a Clash original.”