Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The New Seekers

What Have They Done to My Song Ma

Written and released by Melanie (B-side US #35/A-side UK #9 1970).
Other hit version (as ‘Look What They Done to My Song Ma’) by The New Seekers (US #14/MOR #4/CAN #3/UK #44 1970).

From the wiki: “‘What Have They Done to My Song Ma’ was written by Melanie (Safka). Released in 1970 as the B-side of her ‘Ruby Tuesday’ promotional single for the album Candles in the Rain, the reached the #9 on the UK Singles charts for three weeks.

“Later in 1970, the New Seekers covered Melanie’s song, retitling it to its first lyric line, ‘Look What They Done to My Song Ma’, and scored their first US hit single.”

Love is a Rose

Written and first recorded by Neil Young (1974, released 1977).
Inspired by “Dance Dance Dance” Neil Young (1971, released 2007).
“Dance Dance Dance” also recorded by Crazy Horse (1971), The New Seekers (US #84 1972).
Hit version by Linda Ronstadt (US #63/C&W #5 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Love Is a Rose’ was written by Neil Young in 1974 for the unreleased album Homegrown. It was later released in 1977 on his compilation Decade album. The melody for ‘Love Is a Rose’ was taken from yet another previously unreleased Neil Young song ‘Dance Dance Dance’, written in 1971, which finally saw release in 2007 on the Live at Massey Hall album. Young’s longtime backing band Crazy Horse also recorded ‘Dance Dance Dance’ in 1971 on their album Crazy Horse, and The New Seekers released ‘Dance Dance Dance’ as a single in 1972, a version that peaked at #84 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Never Ending Song of Love

Written and first recorded by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (US #13 1971).
Other hit version by The New Seekers (UK #2/IRE #1/AUS #25 1971).

From the wiki: “‘Never Ending Song of Love’ was written by Delaney Bramlett and was first released in March 1971 on the Delaney & Bonnie album Motel Shot. (The album’s title refers to the impromptu, sometimes late-night, jam sessions touring musicians engaged in when on the road.)

“‘Never Ending Song’ was Delaney & Bonnie’s most successful, highest-charting single.

“The New Seekers were formed in 1969 after the dissolution of The Seekers (‘Georgy Girl’) and quickly found chart success with a cover recording of Melanie’s ‘What Have They Done To My Song, Ma?’. Their breakthrough hit, though, released in June 1971, was ‘Never Ending Song of Love,’ reaching #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 in Ireland. That success led the New Seekers to being used as the session singers’ for the Coca-Cola jingle, ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’, which then led in turn to the group being used to record the song reworked as ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing‘ international hit single.”

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

First recorded (as “True Love and Apple Pie”) by Susan Shirley (1970).
First recorded (as “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”) by The Hillside Singers (1971).
Hit versions by The Hillside Singers (US #13/MOR #5 1972), The New Seekers (US #7/UK #1 1972).

From the wiki: “The original melody was derived from a commercial jingle first written by Rose Malka Freidman for another, non-beverage product. A version of the jingle was then reworked into a full-length song by songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, who had previously collaborated as performers and songwriters (‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’, ‘Softly Whispering I Love You‘). It was then recorded, titled ‘True Love and Apple Pie’, by Susan Shirley, and released in 1970 with little promotion behind it.

“The idea for its use as a Coca-Cola advertising jingle came originally to an advertising executive named Bill Backer, working for McCann-Erickson — the worldwide advertising agency responsible for Coca-Cola. Backer, Cook and Greenaway weres delayed at Shannon Airport in Ireland. After a forced layover with many hot tempers, the trio noticed their fellow travelers the next morning were talking and joking while drinking Coca-Cola. Backer wrote the line ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke’ on a napkin and shared it with Cook and Davis.