Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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First recorded by Johnny Darrell (1970).
Also recorded by The Byrds (1970, released 2000), Seatrain (1970).
Album hit versions by Little Feat (1971 |1972 |1978), Linda Ronstadt (1974).

From the wiki: ‘Willin” was written by Lowell George, of Little Feat, but first recorded in the spring of 1970 by Johnny Darrell for his album California Stop-Over. The song is about a truck driver in the American southwest who makes some extra cash smuggling cigarettes and transporting illegals across the border from Mexico. George’s opening line, in which the narrator describes himself as being ‘warped by the rain,’ originated in a conversation between George and drummer Richie Hayward. Hayward had used it to describe a rocking chair. Prior to forming Little Feat, George was a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. It is probable that this song was a reason for his departure, due to its drug references in the chorus. It is known that his leaving had something to do with his drug use, which Zappa heavily frowned upon.

“The Byrds recorded ‘Willin’ during sessions for their 1970 album, (Untitled), but that recording remained unreleased until the 2000 reissue of the album on CD (as a bonus track). Roots-fusion band Seatrain, fronted by ex-Blues Project members Andy Kulberg and Roy Blumenfeld, also recorded a version of ‘Willin” in 1970, for the self-titled Seatrain album. Little Feat recorded ‘Willin'” three times: a studio version for the group’s self-titled debut album in 1971, a more slow-tempo version for the follow-up album Sailin’ Shoes (1972), and a live version for Waiting for Columbus in 1978. Linda Ronstadt recorded ‘Willin” for her 1974 hit album, Heart Like a Wheel, which spent 51 weeks on the Billboard Hot Albums chart.”

The Byrds, “Willin'” (1970):

Seatrain, “Willin'” (1970):

Little Feat, “Willin'” from Little Feat (1971):

Little Feat, “Willin'” from Sailin’ Shoes (1972):

Linda Ronstadt, “Willin'” (1974):

Little Feat< "Willin'" from Waiting for Columbus (1978):

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