Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Wild World

Originally recorded by Jimmy Cliff (UK #8 July, 1970).
Other hit versions by Cat Stevens (US #11 November, 1970), The Gentrys (MOR #28 1971) Maxi Priest (US #25/UK #5 1988), Mr. Big (US #27/UK #59 1993).

From the wiki: “Jimmy Cliff’s version, released a few months before the song’s writer, Cat Stevens, released his version, reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart. Surprisingly, Stevens’ version was not released as a single in the UK, thus its appearance only on US radio charts. Some of the subsequent covers have also been in the reggae style, indicating that they may be covers of Cliff’s version, as opposed to direct covers of Cat Stevens’ original acoustic arrangement.

“The Gentrys (‘Keep On Dancing‘, ‘Cinnamon Girl’) covered ‘Wild World’ in 1971. Both the Maxi Priest and Mr. Big covers went US Top 40, in 1988 and 1993 respectively.”

Cat Stevens, “Wild World” (1970):

The Gentrys, “Wild World” (1971):

Maxi Priest, “Wild World” (1988):

Mr. Big, “Wild World” (1993):