Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Thelma Houston

Do You Know Where You’re Going To?

First recorded by Thelma Houston (1973).
Hit version by Diana Ross (US #1/R&B #14/UK #5/CAN #4 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Do You Know Where You’re Going To’ was written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin (‘You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman‘, ‘Up on the Roof‘), and was first recorded in 1973 by Thelma Houston for a New Zealand-only single release (Tamla Motown 872). In 1975, the song was repurposed by Masser and used as the theme to the movie Mahogany. Sung in the film by Diana Ross, it became one of the most recognizable elements of the film. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1975, and was also nominated for the 1975 Academy Award for Best Original Song.”

Save the Country

Written and first recorded by Laura Nyro (1968).
Also recorded by The Magnificent Men (1969), Brian Auger & The Trinity (1969), Thelma Houston (1970).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #27/MOR #10/CAN #24/AUS #79 1970).

From the wiki: “Laura Nyro wrote ‘Save the Country’ as her reaction to Robert Kennedy’s assassination in June, 1968, and recorded the original version of the song with just a piano accompaniment. It was released as a single in 1968 and did not chart, but would later be included on Nyro’s 1969 album New York Tendaberry, her most commercially-successful album. (‘Time and Love’ from the album would also see commercial release as a single in 1970, by Barbra Streisand.)

Don’t Leave Me This Way

First recorded by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (UK #5 1975).
Other hit versions by Thelma Houston (US #1/R&B #1/UK #13 1977), The Communards (US #40/UK #1 1986).

From the wiki: “First charting as a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, an act on Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label, in 1975, ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ was later a hit single for both Thelma Houston and The Communards. The Blue Notes’ original version of the song featured Teddy Pendergrass’ lead vocal. ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ was included as one of the seven tracks on the group’s successful Wake Up Everybody LP but was not released as a single in the U.S.