Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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You Are So Beautiful

Co-written and first recorded by Billy Preston (1974).
Hit version by Joe Cocker (US #5/MOR #12/CAN #4 1975).

From the wiki: “Written by Billy Preston (‘Will It Go ‘Round in Circles’) and Bruce Fisher (‘If I Ever Lose This Heaven‘), ‘You Are So Beautiful’ was first recorded by Preston for the album The Kids & Me, released in May 1974. The album’s dedication, reflected in the title, was to St. Elmo’s Village, an inner-city children’s recreation center and arts community located in Los Angeles.

“In November 1974, Joe Cocker released a slower version of the song on his album I Can Stand a Little Rain. Cocker’s version was produced by Jim Price, and released as a single. It became one of Cocker’s biggest chart hits, peaking at #5 on the United States’ Billboard Hot 100, and at #4 on Canada’s Top Singles chart.

“Some sources credit Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys with contributing to the song’s genesis. According to Beach Boys biographer Jon Stebbins, although Dennis Wilson is not credited as a writer, he and Preston are said to have collaborated on the song while attending a party where they discussed the concept of beauty. Although Wilson never sought to claim a share of the song’s authorship, he would perform ‘You Are So Beautiful’ as an encore at Beach Boys’ concerts intermittently from 1975 until his death in 1983.”

Joe Cocker, “You Are So Beautiful” (1975):

Dennis Wilson, co-writer “You Are So Beautiful” live performance (ca. 1980):

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