Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Hollies

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

Written and first recorded by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (1973).
Hit version (as “Sandy”) by The Hollies (US #85/GER #22/NZ #12/NETH #9 1975).

From the wiki: “‘4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)’, often known just as ‘Sandy’, was written in 1973 by Bruce Springsteen and first appeared as the second song on the album The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle. Van Morrison’s influence can be heard in Springsteen’s songwriting about his hometown, closely paralleling Morrison’s romanticism of his hometown, Belfast, Ireland.

“No singles were released from The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle … except in Germany – the first-ever Springsteen 7-inch issued outside the United States – where Springsteen’s ‘Sandy’ met with no apparent chart success.

“However, ‘Sandy’ became the first song written by Springsteen to chart, anywhere, when The Hollies’ cover version, released in April 1975, hit #85 in the US, and charted higher in a few other international markets (e.g. Top-10 in the Netherlands). While not a big hit unto itself, The Hollies’ use of “Sandy” presaged other artists mining the early Springsteen songbook for material, a notion that would soon be exploited to much greater commercial success by Manfred Mann and others.

Bus Stop

First recorded by Herman’s Hermits (1966).
Hit version by The Hollies (US #5/UK #5/CAN #1/AUS #2 1966).
Also recorded by Graham Gouldman, songwriter (1968).

From the wiki: “‘Bus Stop’ was written by UK songwriter and future 10cc member Graham Gouldman, who also penned major hits for The Yardbirds (‘For Your Love‘) and Herman’s Hermits (‘No Milk Today’). In a 1976 interview Gouldman said the idea for the song had come while he was riding home from work on a bus. The opening lines were written by his father, playwright Hyme Gouldman. Graham continued with the rest of the song while riding to work – at a men’s outfitters – on the bus the next day.


First recorded by Buddy Holly (US #82/UK #30 1958).
Other hit versions by The England Sisters (UK #33 1960), Showaddywaddy (UK #7 1975), Nick Berry (UK #2 1992).
Also recorded by Herman’s Hermits (1965), The Hollies (1980).

From the wiki: “‘Heartbeat’ is a rockabilly song credited to Bob Montgomery and Norman Petty, and recorded originally by Buddy Holly in 1958. It was the last Buddy Holly single to be released during his lifetime. It charted low on the Billboard Hot 100 but has proven to be more popular in the UK, where Holly’s recording went Top-30. The England Sisters, also known as the Dale Sisters, recorded a cover in 1960 that peaked at #33 on the UK Singles chart.

“‘Heartbeat’ covers would subsequently reach the UK Top Ten twice: In 1975, for ’50s & ’60s revival band Showaddywaddy, and again in 1992 with the arrangement Nick Berry recorded as the theme to the Heartbeat TV series.

“Herman’s Hermits — who had originally been named The Heartbeats after the song — recorded the song in 1965. The Hollies, who had named themselves after Buddy Holly, made their only attempt at having a hit remake of a Buddy Holly song with a 1980 single release of ‘Heartbeat’ that failed to chart.”

Just One Look

First released (as a B-side) by Andy & The Marglows (1963).
Hit versions by co-writer Doris Troy (US #10/R&B #3/CAN #1/NZ #8 1963), The Hollies (US #98/UK #2 1964 |US #44 1967), Faith Hope & Charity (UK #38 1976), Linda Ronstadt (US #44/MOR #5 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Just One Look’ was written by Doris Troy and Gregory Carroll. Troy, then going by her pen name Doris Payne, recorded a studio demo of the song and began to shop the song around to studios, first to Sue Records. But their lack of response led Troy to instead offer the song to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records. Unbeknownst to Troy, Atlantic would later release her demo, unchanged, as a single.

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

First recorded by Kelly Gordon (1969).
Hit versions by The Hollies (US #7/UK #3 1969), Neil Diamond (US #20/MOR #4 1970), The Justice Collective (UK #1 2012).

From the wiki: “‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ is a popular music ballad written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell. Originally recorded by Kelly Gordon (who would later become a producer for Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, David Lee Roth) in 1969, the song became a worldwide hit for The Hollies later that year and again for Neil Diamond in 1970. Scott and Russell had been introduced to each other by Johnny Mercer, at a California nightclub. Although Russell was dying of lymphoma and the pair met in person only three times, they managed to collaborate on the song.

Do You Love Me

Originally recorded by The Contours (US #3/R&B #1 1962).
Hit versions by Brian Poole & The Tremeloes (UK #1 1963), The Dave Clark Five (US #11/UK #30 1964).
Also recorded by The Hollies (1964).

From the wiki: “Berry Gordy wrote ‘Do You Love Me’ with the intent that The Temptations, who had no Top 40 hits to their name yet, would record it. However, when Gordy wanted to locate the group and record the song, they were nowhere to be found (the Temptations had not been made aware of Gordy’s intentions, and had departed Motown’s recording studio that day for a local Detroit gospel music showcase).

The Air That I Breathe

Co-written and first recorded by Albert Hammond (1972).
Also recorded by Phil Everly (1973).
Hit versions by The Hollies (US #6/MOR #3/UK #2/CAN #5/AUS #2/NZ #1 1974), Simply Red (UK #6 1998), The Mavericks (C&W #59).