Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Rolling Stones

You Better Move On

Written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander (US #24 1962).
Other hit versions by The Rolling Stones (UK EP #1 1964), Billy “Crash” Craddock (C&W #37 1972), George Jones & Johnny Paycheck (C&W #18 1980).

From the wiki: “‘You Better Move On’ was written and first recorded by Arthur Alexander (and produced by FAME’s Rick Hall) in 1962. It peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April, 1962.

“Although labeled as a ‘country-soul’ singer-songwriter, Alexander is the only songwriter whose songs have been covered by the Beatles (‘Anna (Go to Him)‘), the Rolling Stones (‘You Better Move On’), and Bob Dylan (who recorded ‘Sally Sue Brown’ on his 1988 LP Down in the Groove). Elvis Presley also covered Alexander’s original 1972 recording of ‘Burning Love‘, Presley’s last Top-10 hit (kept from #1 by Chuck Berry’s ‘My Ding-a-Ling‘).

Time Is On My Side

First recorded by Kai Winding (1963).
Hit versions by Irma Thomas (B-side US #52 1964), The Rolling Stones (US #6/AUS #4 1964 |UK #64 1982).

From the wiki: “Session arranger Garry Sherman contacted songwriter friend and colleague Jerry Ragovoy (‘Piece of My Heart‘) after big band trombonist, bandleader, and former Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and Miles Davis sideman Kai Winding had expressed an interest in going in a more commercial, contemporary and rhythmic direction at the onset of the British Invasion. Coming up with a melody was easy, but Ragovoy could think of no lyrics for the song other than ‘time is on my side’ and ‘you’ll be comin’ back to me’. Produced by Creed Taylor and engineered by Phil Ramone, ‘Time Is On My Side’ was also recorded using background vocals by Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, ‘Time Is On My Side’ was released on the Verve Records label in October 1963. It did not chart.

Bitter Sweet Symphony

First recorded (as “The Last Time”) by The Rolling Stones (US #9/UK #1/IRE #2 1965).
Based on “This May Be the Last Time” by The Staple Singers (ca. 1954).
Also recorded (instrumentally, as “The Last Time”) by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra (1965).
Hit version by The Verve (US #12/UK #2 1997).

From the wiki: “‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ is a song by English alternative rock band The Verve, and is the lead track on their third studio album, Urban Hymns (1997). It is based on former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s orchestral version of The Rolling Stones’ song ‘The Last Time’ from which the Verve samples the main theme.

“The sampling, and the extent to which it was used, would later involve The Verve in legal controversy. Oldham had produced his hobby-project album, The Rolling Stones Songbook, in 1965 by recording orchestrated instrumental versions of several popular Stones melodies. Oldham’s production of ‘The Last Time’ was the only take on Oldham’s album not immediately recognizable by comparison to the original Rolling Stones recordings.

Fortune Teller

First recorded by Benny Spellman (B-side 1962).
Also recorded by The Rolling Stones (1963).
Hit versions by The Rolling Stones (remixed AUS #5 1966), The Throb (AUS #5 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Fortune Teller’ was written by Allen Toussaint (under the pseudonym ‘Naomi Neville’) and was first recorded by Benny Spellman. It was released as the B-side of Spellman’s hit Lipstick Traces‘ (US #80/R&B #28) in 1962.

“A couple of different versions have been released by The Rolling Stones (‘Time Is On My Side‘, ‘As Tears Go By‘). On 19 August 1963, the band recorded ‘Poison Ivy’ and ‘Fortune Teller’ to be the two sides for their second single. A few hundred copies were pressed, but the single was withdrawn – replaced by ‘I Wanna Be Your Man‘. The studio recording would be eventually released in 1964 on the UK-only EP Saturday Club, a compilation of tracks from various artists who had appeared on the BBC Radio program Saturday Club, and again, for wider distribution, on the 1972 compilation album More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)).

Little Red Rooster

First recorded (as “The Red Rooster”) by Howlin’ Wolf (1961).
Hit versions by Sam Cooke (US #11/R&B #7 1963), The Rolling Stones (UK #1 1964).
Also recorded by Willie Dixon (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Little Red Rooster’ (also ‘The Red Rooster’) is credited to arranger and songwriter Willie Dixon. It was first recorded in 1961 by blues musician Howlin’ Wolf in the Chicago Blues style. Sam Cooke adapted the song, sweetened it with additional instrumentation, and it saw achieve chart success in 1963 as a Top 40 and R&B hit.

“The Rolling Stones recorded ‘Little Red Rooster’ in 1964 with original member Brian Jones a key player in the recording. Their rendition, which remains closer to the original arrangement than Cooke’s, became a #1 record in the UK and is still the only blues song to reach the top of the British chart.

“The songwriter, Willie Dixon, would cover his own composition in a 1970 recording.”

Not Fade Away

First recorded by The Crickets (B-side 1957).
Hit versions by The Rolling Stones (US #43/UK #3 1964), Rush (CAN #88 1973), Tanya Tucker (US #70 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Not Fade Away’ is credited to Buddy Holly (originally under his first and middle names, Charles Hardin) and Norman Petty, and was first recorded by Holly under the moniker of his band, The Crickets. The group recorded the song in Clovis, New Mexico, on May 27, 1957, the same day the song ‘Everyday’ was recorded. The song’s rhythm pattern is a variant of the Bo Diddley beat; Crickets drummer Jerry Allison pounded out the beat on a cardboard box.

“‘Not Fade Away’ was originally released as the B-side of the hit single ‘Oh, Boy!’ and was included on the album The “Chirping” Crickets (1957). Even though the Crickets’ recording never charted as a single, Rolling Stone ranked ‘Not Fade Away’ at #107 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“Contrary to the depiction in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story, ‘Not Fade Away’ was NOT the last song Holly ever performed before his fatal plane crash. In a 50th anniversary symposium held in Clear Lake, Iowa, where Holly last performed, discussion panel members Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch, and Bob Hale – the emcee at that final show of February 2, 1959 – all agreed that the final song of the night was Chuck Berry’s ‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’, performed on-stage together by all of the acts.

Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

Written and first recorded by Solomon Burke (US #58/R&B #4 1964).
Also recorded by The Rolling Stones (1965).
Other hit versions by Wilson Pickett (US #29/R&B #19 1967), The Blues Brothers (1980 |UK #12 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ was written by Solomon Burke but also credited to Bert Berns and Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler. Many years later, Burke recalled, ‘When I did it for Jerry Wexler and Bert Burns (sic), they told me that song would never make it. I said, ‘Well, I tell ya what—I’ll give you a piece of it.’ They said, ‘That’s the way we’ll get the record played, so we’ll take a piece of it.’ In those days, they took a piece of your songs—a piece of the publishing—but in the end, you didn’t have any pieces left. Even now, I’m still struggling to get the publishing, the royalties, and that’ll never happen.’

“On May 28, 1964, Burke recorded ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’. Released by Atlantic, it peaked at #4 on the R&B chart but missing the US Top 40 – peaking at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The Rolling Stones almost immediately in January 1965 covered ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’, for their 1965 album The Rolling Stones No. 2. The version on the US The Rolling Stones, Now! album was an earlier version of the song and apparently issued by mistake.

“Wilson Pickett covered the song in 1966, and his recording did make it to #29 on the Top 40 and #19 R&B in early 1967. A re-release of The Blues Brothers’ 1978 recording nudged the UK Top 10 in 1990.

“‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ is ranked #429 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and ranked #447 in Dave Marsh’s book, In The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.”

As Tears Go By

First recorded (as a demo titled “As Time Goes By”) by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (1964).
Hit versions by Marianne Faithful (US #22/UK #9 1965), The Rolling Stones (US #6/MOR #10 1965).

From the wiki: “‘As Tears Go By’ was one of the first original compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Up until that point The Rolling Stones had chiefly been performing Blues standards. A story surrounding the song’s genesis has it that Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen in order to force them to write a song together, even suggesting what type of song he wanted: ‘I want a song with brick walls all around it, high windows and no sex.’

“The result was initially named ‘As Time Goes By’, the title of the song Dooley Wilson sings in the film Casablanca. It was Oldham who replaced ‘Time’ with ‘Tears’. According to Jagger biographer Philip Norman, the song was mainly created by Jagger, in co-operation with session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan (who plays the 12-string guitar on the demo).

“Oldham subsequently gave the ballad (a format that the Stones were not yet known for) to Marianne Faithfull, then 17, for her to record as a B-side. Without even asking if she could sing, Andrew asked her if she wanted to cut the record. The success of the recording caused the record company, Decca, to switch the song to an A-side, where it became a very popular single on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Wild Horses

First released by The Flying Burrito Brothers (1970).
Hit version by The Rolling Stones (recorded 1969 |released US #28 1971).

From the wiki: “‘Wild Horses’ was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for the Rolling Stones’ 1971 album Sticky Fingers. Originally recorded over a three-day period at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama during 2–4 December 1969, the public would not hear the results until almost 18 months later due to legal wranglings with the band’s former label, Atco, and manager, Allen Klein.

Harlem Shuffle

Written and first recorded by Bob & Earl (US #44/R&B #44 1963 |UK #7 1969).
Other hit version by The Rolling Stones (US #5/UK #13/NZ #1/AUS #6 1986).

From the wiki: “Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson had both been members of The Hollywood Flames, a prolific doo-wop group in Los Angeles, California whose major hit was ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’ in 1958. By 1957, Byrd had started a parallel solo career, writing and recording for contractual reasons as Bobby Day. He wrote and recorded the original version of ‘Little Bitty Pretty One‘ (a hit for Thurston Harris), but had a hit of his own with ‘”Rockin’ Robin’ (1958). In 1960, Byrd and Nelson began recording together as Bob & Earl, on the Class record label.

It’s All Over Now

Written and first recorded by The Valentinos (US #94/R&B #21 1964).
Other hit version by The Rolling Stones (US #26/UK #1/IRE #2/NZ #2 1964).

From the wiki: “‘It’s All Over Now’ was written by Bobby Womack and Shirley Womack. It was first released by The Valentinos featuring Bobby Womack. The Valentinos version entered the Billboard Hot 100 on June 27, 1964, where it stayed on the chart for two weeks, peaking at #94.

“New York disc jockey Murray the K gave The Stones a copy of The Valentinos’ version and suggested they record it. The Stones recorded this during their first US tour at Chess Studios in Chicago, at a session that also produced ‘Time Is On My Side‘. ‘It’s All Over Now’ became the group’s first UK #1 hit, in July 1964. It was the band’s third single released in America, and stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks, peaking at #26.

I Wanna Be Your Man

Written and first recorded by The Beatles (Sept-Oct 1963).
Hit version first released by The Rolling Stones (UK #12 Nov 1963).

From The Beatles’ Bible: “Accounts of its genesis vary. Paul McCartney recalled that ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ was written for [Ringo] Starr and later offered to the Stones. McCartney recounted how he and Lennon were passed by a taxi containing [Mick] Jagger and [Keith] Richards while walking down London’s Charing Cross Road. ‘So they shouted from the taxi and we yelled, ‘Hey, hey, give us a lift, give us a lift,’ and we bummed a lift off them. So there were the four of us sitting in a taxi and I think Mick said, ‘Hey, we’re recording. Got any songs?’ And we said, ‘Aaaah, yes, sure, we got one. How about Ringo’s song? You could do it as a single.”

Drift Away

First recorded by John Henry Kurtz (1972).
Hit versions by Dobie Gray (US #5/R&B #42 1973), Narvel Felts (C&W #8 1973), Uncle Cracker & Dobie Gray (US #9/MOR #1 2003).
Also recorded by The Rolling Stones (unreleased 1974).

From the wiki: “‘Drift Away’ was written by Mentor Williams (brother of songwriter Paul Williams) as a lament of the difficulties being a Nashville songwriter. John Henry Kurtz was the first to record ‘Drift Away’, for his own album, Reunion (1972), on which he was backed by some of L.A.’s finest: Skunk Baxter, Kenny Loggins, Michael Omartian, Jim Gordon, and others. Kurtz was a man of many talents: Broadway, movie and TV actor; Civil War collectibles buff (some of which were filmed for Ken Burns’ PBS-TV series, Civil War); voice-over artist (NBC Nightly News, and countless commercials); musician.

“In 1973 the song became Dobie Gray’s biggest hit, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the final pop hit for Decca Records in the United States. In the early 1960s Gray had moved to Los Angeles, intending to pursue an acting career while also singing to make money. Born Lawrence Darrow Brown, he recorded for several local labels under the names Leonard Ainsworth, Larry Curtis, and Larry Dennis, before Sonny Bono directed him toward the small independent Stripe Records. They suggested that he record under the name ‘Dobie Gray’, an allusion to the then-popular sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

“Gray’s first taste of success came in 1963 when his seventh single ‘Look At Me’, on the Cor-Dak label and recorded with Wrecking Crew bassist Carol Kaye, reached #91 on the Billboard Hot 100. Greater success came in early 1965 when his original recording of ‘The ‘In’ Crowd‘ (recorded later that year as an instrumental by Ramsey Lewis). Gray’s record reached #11 on the US R&B chart, and #25 in the UK.