Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Try to Remember

First performed by Jerry Orbach (1960).
Hit versions by Ed Ames (US #73/MOR #17 1965), The Brothers Four (US #91/MOR #10 1965), Roger Williams (US #97 1965), New World Trio (AUS #11 1968), Gladys Knight & the Pips (US #11/MOR #2/R&B #6/UK #4 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Try to Remember’ was written for the musical comedy The Fantasticks, sung as the introductory song in the show to get the audience to imagine what the sparse set suggests.

“Its lyrics, by author and lyricist Tom Jones (not the singer), famously rhyme ‘remember’ with ‘September’, ‘so tender’, ’ember’, and ‘December’, and repeat the sequence -llow throughout the song: verse 1 contains ‘mellow’, ‘yellow’, and ‘callow fellow’; verse 2 contains ‘willow’, ‘pillow’, ‘billow'”; verse 3 contains ‘follow’, ‘hollow’, ‘mellow’; and all verses end with ‘follow’. Harvey Schmidt composed the music.

“In 1965, five years after its Broadway debut, ‘Try To Remember’ made it into the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart three times with versions by Ed Ames, Roger Williams, and the Brothers Four. ‘Try to Remember’ has since been covered by many artists over the years and has become a popular standard in the American songbook.

“In 1975, Gladys Knight & the Pips had a huge international hit using a partial, spoken-word recitation of ‘Try to Remember’, combining it into a medley paired with a cover of Barbra Streisand’s ‘The Way We Were’. The medley peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 chart and #4 on the U.K. Singles chart.”

Ed Ames, “Try to Remember” (1965):

The Brothers Four, “Try to Remember” (1965):

Roger Williams, “Try to Remember” (1965):

New World Trio, “Try to Remember” (1968):

Gladys Knight & the Pips, “Try to Remember/The Way We Were” (1975):

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