Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Stylistics

(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love

Recorded as (“Plaisir d’Amour”) by Emilio De Gogorza (1902).
Also recorded (as “Plaisir d’Amour”) by Beniamino Gigli (1934), Joan Baez (1961).
Hit versions (in English) by Elvis Presley (US #2/MOR #1/UK #1 1961), Andy Williams (UK #3 1970), The Softones (R&B #53 1973), The Stylistics (R&B #52/UK #4 1976), UB40 (US #1/UK #1/IRE #1/AUS #1 1993).
Also recorded (as “I Want to Live”) by Aphrodite’s Child (NETH #1 1969).

[Note: The above recording is not by Emilio De Gogorza. It is a 1945 arrangement recorded by French cabaret tenor Emile-Jean Vanni-Marcoux.]

From the wiki: “‘(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love’ was written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George Weiss (‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight‘, ‘What a Wonderful World’) based on a popular romance melody by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, ‘Plaisir d’Amour’, first performed in 1784 and first recorded in 1902 by Emilio De Gogorza.

“Beniamino Gigli, considered by some to be the greatest opera tenor of his generation, covered ‘Plaisir d’Amour’ in 1934. (Gigli rose to true international prominence after the death of the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso in 1921. Such was Gigli’s popularity with audiences he was often called ‘Caruso Secondo’, though in great operatic ego tradition he much preferred to be known as ‘Gigli Primo’.)

“English-language lyrics were later written by George Weiss for an Elvis Presley feature movie, but who claimed that neither the movie producers nor Elvis’ associates liked the song demo. Nonetheless, Elvis insisted on recording the song for the movie Blue Hawaii.

You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)

First recorded by Dionne Warwick (US #32/UK #20/CAN #15 1964).
Other hit version by The Stylistics (US #23/R&B #8 1973 |UK #24 1976).

From the wiki: “‘You’ll Never Get to Heaven’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was first recorded in 1964 by Dionne Warwick for the album Make Way for Dionne Warwick (also notable for including an early production of ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You‘). In 1973, The Stylistics covered the song, reaching the Billboard Top 30 and R&B Top 10 charts in the US and the UK Top 30.”

Betcha By Golly, Wow

First recorded (as “Keep Growing Strong”) by Connie Stevens (1970).
Hit versions by The Stylistics (US #3/R&B #2/UK #13 1972), Prince (US #31/R&B #10/UK #11 1996).

From the wiki: “Thom Bell and Linda Creed wrote the song that was originally recorded by Connie Stevens as ‘Keep Growing Strong’ and released on the Bell Records label in 1970 with no chart impact. But, the composition scored a hit when it was covered by the Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics in 1972 peaking in the US Top 10 and UK Top 20. (Surprisingly, Bell produced both the Stevens’ and Stylistics’ recording sessions.)