Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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You Only Live Twice

First recorded by Julie Rogers (1967).
Also recorded by Lorraine Chandler (1967), Little Anthony & the Imperials (1967).
Hit movie version by Nancy Sinatra (1967).

From the wiki: “The title track from the James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, was composed and produced by veteran James Bond composer John Barry, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Julie Rogers was asked to perform the song, becoming the first artist to record it. But, Rogers’ version was quite different, with a more ‘oriental’ flavor than the later Nancy Sinatra version – the third to be recorded – that would eventually grace the title sequence of You Only Live Twice.

“Jazz singer Lorraine Chandler recorded a second version of the song that differed greatly from the other two – a more bombastic, Shirley Bassey-sound. Composer Barry recalls, ‘It was usually the producers that said ‘this isn’t working, there’s a certain something that it needed.’ If that energy wasn’t there, if that mysterioso kind of thing wasn’t there, then it wasn’t going to work for the movie.’

“Finally, the film’s producer, Cubby Broccoli, asked his friend Frank Sinatra to perform ‘You Only Live Twice’. Frank instead suggested that they use his daughter, Nancy. Barry also suggested Aretha Franklin, but the producers insisted that he use Nancy, who could also bring to the film her great popularity in the wake of her hit single, ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin”.

“The song was recorded with a 60-piece orchestra on 2 May 1967 at the CTS Studios. Sinatra later recalled that she was incredibly nervous during the recording, and it took around 30 takes to acquire enough material. Producer John Barry eventually created the final product by incorporating vocals from 25 takes.

“In the wake of the Bond movie’s release, Little Anthony & the Imperials included a cover of ‘You Only Live Twice’ on their album, Movie Grabbers. Released as a single, it had no apparent chart impact in either the U.S. or the U.K.”

Lorraine Chandler, “You Only Live Twice” (1967):

Little Anthony & the Imperials, “You Only Live Twice” (1967):

Nancy Sinatra, “You Only Live Twice” (1967):

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