Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Unchain My Heart

First recorded by Otis Williams & His Charms (1960).
Hit versions by Ray Charles (US #9/R&B #1 1961), Joe Cocker (US #11/UK #46 1987 |UK #17 1992).

From the wiki: “‘Unchain My Heart’ was written by Bobby Sharp, and was first recorded in 1960 by Otis Williams & His Charms, produced by Sharp and Teddy Powell for King Records with no apparent chart impact.

“Sharp, a drug addict at the time, had sold half the songwriting credits to Powell for $50. In 1963, Sharp sold the other half for $1,000. (Sharp sued Powell for a return of the full rights to the song a year later and, after a seven-year legal battle, the suit was settled in his favor.) In 1987, Sharp was also able to renew the copyright to ‘Unchain My Heart’ for his own publishing company, B. Sharp Music.

“The song became a hit for Ray Charles when released as a single in late 1961. Accompanied by his Raelettes, Charles’ band also included longtime saxophonist David ‘Fathead’ Newman. The song was further popularized by Joe Cocker when he named his 1987 album after the song. The promotional single nudged the US Top 10 in 1987, and also charted in the UK. Cocker’s recording was re-released in 1992 and, second time around, reached #17 on the UK Singles chart.”

Ray Charles, “Unchain My Heart” (1961):

Joe Cocker, “Unchain My Heart” (1987):

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