Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Velvets


First recorded by The Velvets (B-side JPN #1 1961).
Other hit version by co-writer Roy Orbison (UK #15/AUS #4/IRE #4/BEL #1 1966).

From the wiki: “‘The Velvets didn’t conform to any of doo-wop’s norms.’ writes sleeve note author Bill Millar. The group hailed not from New York but from Odessa, Texas, where the panhandle meets the rest of the state. The quintet was formed in 1959 by Virgil Johnson, a high-school English teacher, with four of his students.

“Performing locally at sock-hops and campus functions, The Velvets were heard by Roy Orbison who was so impressed with them that he recommended the group to Fred Foster at Monument Records. Like their mentor, Orbison, The Velvets sang songs which straddled that increasingly invisible line between Country and Pop. The Velvets and Roy Orbison both shared the same producer, Fred Foster, and used the same Nashville ‘A-Team’ session musicians. The Velvets’ second release, ‘Tonight’, became their highest-charting single, taking into the Billboard Hot 100 at #26 (UK chart at #50) and, as Millar says, was as perfect as Black pop music would get. However, the follow-up, ‘Laugh’, barely dented the American charts. But, its B-side, ‘Lana’, went to #1 in Japan!