Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Thing Called Love

Written and first recorded by John Hiatt (1987).
Hit version by Bonnie Raitt (US Rock #11/UK #86 1989).

From the wiki: “‘Thing Called Love’ was written and first recorded by John Hiatt in 1987, featuring Ry Cooder on guitar and Nick Lowe (‘Cruel to Be Kind‘) on bass. The album on which it appeared, Bring the Family, was recorded in four days after McCabe’s Guitar Shop booker John Chelew convinced Hiatt that ‘Thing Called Love’, ‘Thank You Girl’, and ‘Have a Little Faith in Me‘ were some of his best songs.

“Hiatt was recently sober but had burned so many bridges in the music industry he did not think he had a chance of continuing his career. He had been dropped by his label and ‘wondered if I was worth a damn.’ Demon Records in England still loved his work and pledged about $30,000 if he wanted to record; A&M Records would picked up the finished disc for distribution in the US.

“Recording was done in Studio 2 of Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles over four days. These songs were all that were recorded – there were no leftovers or outtakes and Hiatt had to complete a couple of songs in the studio. ‘I remember Ry walking out the door on the fourth day and me coming after him and going: ‘Ry, I’ve got one more song. Could you stay?” Budgets were so tight that Hiatt and Lowe shared a Holiday Inn room in the San Fernando Valley during the recording sessions. Lowe, an old friend of Hiatt’s, took no payment for his contribution. Chelew’s prediction turned out to be correct. Bring the Family is regarded as one of the cornerstones of Hiatt’s career, both a critical and financial success.

“Bonnie Raitt would go on to cover ‘Thing Called Love’, including it on her multi-platinum album Nick of Time, and releasing it as a promotional single with considerable success in the US and UK. The video is considered an important factor to the overall commercial success of the album, introducing Raitt (who released her first album in 1972) to a whole new generation of music lovers via extensive airplay on MTV and VH1.”

Bonnie Raitt, “Thing Called Love” (1989):

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