Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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The First Cut is the Deepest

First released by P.P. Arnold (UK #18 1967).
Also recorded by Cat Stevens, writer (1967).
Other hit versions by Norma Fraser (Jamaica, 1967), Keith Hampshire (CAN #1 1973), Rod Stewart (US #21/UK #1 1976), Sheryl Crow (US #14/MOR #1 2003).

From the wiki: “‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in the spring of 1967. Stevens had made a demo recording of ‘The First Cut Is the Deepest’ in 1965 but had written the song only to promote his songwriting to other artists, and did not record it for commercial release until early October 1967. He sold the song for £30 to P. P. Arnold and it became a huge hit for her in the UK, reaching #18 on the UK Singles Chart.

“After several years touring the United States with the Ike & Tina Revue, P.P. Arnold came to England in 1966. Impressed by her powerful and soulful voice, Mick Jagger convinced Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to sign Arnold to a recording contract. During this period Arnold also toured alongside Delaney and Bonnie & Friends, Small Faces, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, Blind Faith, David Bowie and others, and she recorded several other hits including a 1969 UK #29 hit release of ‘Angel of the Morning‘.

“Norma Fraser became known through her hit Jamaican recording of ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’, completed in 1967. British singer (and one-time pirate Radio Caroline disc-jockey) Keith Hampshire had the first chart-topping hit of the song when his recording of it became a #1 hit in Canada in 1973.

“Rod Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, USA and, and it appeared on his 1976 album A Night on the Town. It was released as a double A-side single with ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’. It was a huge success, and spent four weeks at #1 on the UK Singles Chart in May 1977, #11 in April in Canada, and also reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

“Sheryl Crow’s version was the first of two singles released to promote her 2003 The Very Best of Sheryl Crow compilation album. It became one of Crow’s biggest radio hits, remaining 36 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, and was also Crow’s first Top 40 solo country hit. Her version reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and went to #1 on Adult Contemporary chart on two non-consecutive weeks.”

Cat Stevens, “The First Cut is the Deepest” (1967):

Norma Frazier, “The First Cut is the Deepest” (1967):

Keith Hampshire, “The First Cut is the Deepest” (1973):

Rod Stewart, “The First Cut is the Deepest” (1976):

Sheryl Crow, “The First Cut is the Deepest” (2003):