Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Four Preps


Based on “Tivoli Melodie” by Werner Müller (1958).
Hit version by Lawrence Welk (US #1/R&B #10 1960), The Four Preps (US #96 1961).

From the wiki: “‘Calcutta’ was written in 1958 by the German songwriter Heino Gaze. Its original title was ‘Tivoli Melodie’; it was re-titled several times, until it became known as ‘Calcutta’ because of the song’s reference to the Indian city. The American songwriting team of Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss later wrote English lyrics, celebrating the charms of the ‘ladies of Calcutta.’ An instrumental recording of ‘Calcutta’ by American bandleader and TV host Lawrence Welk in 1961 became a US chart hit, the most successful of Welk’s career, and the only Tango-based recording to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Dancers Bobby Burgess (who first appeared on television as a Walt Disney Mouseketeer) and Barbara Boylan, cast members on Welk’s weekly TV show, worked up a dance routine to go along with “Calcutta”, which they performed numerous times on the Welk show over the years. The Four Preps (‘Love of the Common People‘, 1967) released a vocal version shortly after Welk’s recording. It briefly entered the Billboard Hot 100.”

Love of the Common People

First released by The Four Preps (1967).
Also recorded by The Everly Brothers (1967), Waylon Jennings (1967), John Denver (1969), John Hurley, co-writer (1970), Stiff Little Fingers (1982).
Hit versions by The Winstons (US #54 1969), Nicky Thomas (UK #9 1970), Paul Young (US #45/UK #2/IRE #1/NETH #1 1983).

From the wiki: “‘Love of the Common People’ is a Folk ballad composed by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins (‘Son of a Preacher Man’, 1968), eventually released by the songwriter himself in 1970 on Hurley’s album John Hurley Sings about People. But, the first recorded and distributed arrangement was released in January 1967 as a promotional single by The Four Preps, in a session arranged and conducted by Leon Russell, with no apparent chart impact.

“The song was quickly covered by both the Everly Brothers and country singer Waylon Jennings in 1967, followed by covers by the soul group The Winstons (1969), John Denver (on his 1969 Rhymes & Reason album), reggae artist Nicky Thomas (1970), punk rockers Stiff Little Fingers in 1982, and English pop singer Paul Young in 1982 (re-released in 1983).