Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Trains, Boats and Planes

Written and first recorded by Burt Bacharach (UK #4 1965).
Other hit versions by Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas (US #47/MOR #10/UK #12 1965), Dionne Warwick (US #22 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Trains and Boats and Planes’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was first recorded in 1965 by Bacharach who achieved a Top 5 hit in the UK with his single.

“Bacharach and David wrote the song at a time when they had achieved great popular success, and Bacharach in particular was traveling widely to record and promote his songs. The pair intended the song to be recorded by Gene Pitney, who had had several hits with earlier Bacharach and David songs including ‘Only Love Can Break a Heart’. However, Pitney declined to record it, telling Bacharach ‘It’s not one of your better ones.’ Bacharach then recorded it himself, in London, with an orchestra, chorus, and uncredited vocals by female session singers The Breakaways. His arrangement was issued on the album Hit Maker! Burt Bacharach plays the Burt Bacharach Hits in 1965 (reissued in 1968 as Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits), and as a UK-only single.

“Other hit versions were recorded by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas (also in 1965), and by Dionne Warwick in 1966.

“While recording a special television program by Bacharach at the Granada TV studios in Manchester, UK, producer Johnnie Hamp heard the song and had it offered to a group who also recorded there, the Four Just Men (who later recorded as Wimple Winch). However, that group also turned it down. ‘Trains, Boats and Planes’ then came to the attention of Brian Epstein, who suggested that a group he managed, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, record it.

“The Dakotas’ recording was released at about the same time as Bacharach’s own version; both recordings entered the UK singles chart the same week in May 1965 but Bacharach’s recording prevailed. Kramer’s UK single also charted in the US but missed entering the Top 40.

“Bacharach’s go-to singer, Dionne Warwick, recorded the song in 1966. Her version was arranged and conducted by Bacharach, and was produced by both Bacharach and David. Warwick’s single charted in the US Top 40 but had no impact on the UK Singles chart.”

Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, “Trains, Boats and Planes” (1965):

Dionne Warwick, “Trains, Boats and Planes” (1966):

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