Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Willie Bobo

Hurt So Bad

First recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials (US #10/R&B #5 1964).
Other hit versions by The Letterman (US #12/MOR #2/CAN #14 1969), Philly Devotions (Dance #10 1976), Linda Ronstadt (US #8/MOR #25/CAN #27 1980).
Also recorded by Willie Bobo (1965), El Chicano (1970), Bobby Hart, co-writer (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Hurt So Bad’ was written especially for Little Anthony & the Imperials by Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein, and Bobby Hart. It was the follow-up to the hit single ‘Goin’ Out of My Head’ and, like that single, became a Billboard Top-10 hit as well as a Top Five R&B hit.

“After writing ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’ with Tommy Boyce for Jay & the Americans, Bobby Hart signed with DCP Records and sang background when Randazzo performed in Las Vegas. When label head Don Costa asked for another hit for Little Anthony, Hart, Randazzo and Weinstein went to a conference room between sets and came up with “Hurt So Bad,” a song about a man who feels intense pain when he sees his former love.

Evil Ways

First recorded by Willie Bobo (1968).
Also recorded by The Village Callers (1968).
Hit version by Santana (US #9 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Evil Ways’ was made famous by Santana from their 1969 album, Santana. It was written by Clarence ‘Sonny’ Henry and originally recorded by Jazz percussionist Willie Bobo on his 1967 album, Bobo Motion.

“A year before Santana’s 1969 recording, ‘Evil Ways’ was also recorded by the band The Village Callers – considered to be one of the best bands in East Los Angeles and among the first bands to perform with Latin percussion roots in the ‘Eastside Sound’ of the early to mid-60s – for the album The Village Callers Live, recorded May 5, 1968 at the Plush Bunny nightclub in Pico Rivera, CA. So, it could be argued that the Callers’ recording – which received heavy radio airplay in the Bay Area – was what inspired Santana to record their arrangement of the song.

“Recorded by Santana in May 1969, ‘Evil Ways’, the second single from the group’s debut album, Santana, was released in December 1969 and would quickly become Santana’s first Top-40 and first Top-10 hit in the U.S. ”

No One to Depend On

Co-written and first recorded (as “Spanish Grease”) by Willie Bobo (1965).
Hit version by Santana (US #36 1971).

From the wiki: “The main melody and theme of Santana’s ‘No One to Depend One’ is taken from Willie Bobo’s 1965 recording ‘Spanish Grease’.

“Bobo (born William Correa) grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York City. He made his name in Latin Jazz, specifically Afro-Cuban jazz, in the 1960s and ’70s, with the timbales becoming his favoured instrument. He met Mongo SantamarĂ­a shortly after his arrival in New York and studied with him while acting as his translator, and later at the age of 19 joined Tito Puente for four years. The nickname ‘Bobo’ is said to have been bestowed on him by the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams in the early 1950s.