Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Yes We Can Can

First recorded by Lee Dorsey (R&B #46 1970).
Hit version by The Pointer Sisters (US #11/R&B #12/AUS #86/NETH #25/ITA #30 1973).
Also recorded by Allen Toussaint (2005).

From the wiki: “‘Yes We Can Can’ was written by Allen Toussaint (‘Java‘, ‘I Like It Like That‘, ‘Whipped Cream‘) and was first recorded as ‘Yes We Can’ by Lee Dorsey on his 1970 album Yes We Can … And Then Some, co-produced by Toussaint.

“It was Pointer Sisters’ producer David Rubinson’s suggestion that then-trio record the song for released on their debut album as, coincidentally, ‘Yes We Can’ also happened to be one of the songs that Anita, June, and Bonnie had earlier recorded as a demo while seeking a label deal while performing and touring as an act and as backing singers for Grace Slick, Sylvester James, Boz Scaggs, and Elvin Bishop.

“It was while supporting Bishop at a nightclub appearance in 1971 that the sisters were signed to their first recording contract, with Atlantic Records, but their first two singles had no chart impact. Sister Ruth finally gave in to the temptation to join her three other siblings, joining the group in December 1972. The quartet signed with Blue Thumb Records and soon began work on songs that would constitute their first full-fledged album, The Pointer Sisters.

“Released in February 1973 as the album’s promotional single, ‘Yes We Can Can’ became the Pointers’ first hit single, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #12 on the Hot Soul Songs chart, and charting Top 40 in a few European countries.

“Songwriter Toussaint would later, in 2005, cover his own song for the post-Hurricane Katrina benefit album Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast.”

The Pointer Sisters, “Yes We Can Can” (1973):

Allen Toussaint, “Yes We Can” (2005):