Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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The Thrill is Gone

First recorded by Roy Hawkins (R&B #6 1951).
Other hit version by B.B. King (US #15/R&B #3 1969).

From the wiki: “‘The Thrill Is Gone’ was written by West Coast Blues musician Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951. Hawkins’ recording of the song reached #6 in the Billboard R&B chart in 1951. In 1970, “The Thrill Is Gone” became a major hit for B.B. King.

“In the late 40s and early 50s, King was a disc jockey at radio station WDIA, Memphis, and it was there he first heard (and played) the Hawkins original. King decided to produce his own recording of ‘The Thrill is Gone’ in 1969, but was unhappy with the results until producer Bill Szymczyk called King late one night to suggest adding orchestral strings to the song’s arrangement. The song’s polished production and innovative use of strings marked a departure from both the original song (and previous Blues recordings, in general) and King’s earlier recordings.

“‘The Thrill is Gone’ would go on to become King’s biggest career hit, and became one of his signature songs. The recording would also earn King a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1970 and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998. King’s recording is also placed at #183 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“By some estimates, one of the greatest live performances by King of ‘The Thrill is Gone’ was recorded on September 10, 1970 at Cook County Jail, Chicago, Illinois. The performance was recorded and released in 1971 (Live in Cook County Jail).”

B.B. King, “The Thrill is Gone” (1969):

B.B. King, “The Thrill is Gone” live performance Live in Cook County Jail (1971):

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