Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

First recorded (as “(My Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”) by The Dells (1967, released 1968).
Also recorded (as”(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher”) by Otis Redding (1967 |B-side R&B #30 1969).
Hit versions by Jackie Wilson (US #6/R&B #1 1967 |UK #11 1969), Canada Goose (US #90/CAN #44 1970), Rita Coolidge (US #2/UK #48/AUS #6 1977).

From the wiki: Chess Records’ in-house writers and producers Gary Jackson and Raynard Miner wrote ‘(My Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’, which was initially recorded by The Dells (‘Oh, What a Night’) in February 1967. However, their recording was not released until May 1968 on the album There Is. Another writer, Gary Jackson, made some changes to the song, and this version, retitled ‘(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher’ was recorded by Otis Redding for Atco Records prior to his passing in December 1967. It would be posthumously released in 1969, 18 months later, as the B-side to ‘Free Me’.

“Jackson also pitched the song to producer Carl Davis at Brunswick Records. When Brunswick artist Jackie Wilson recorded his vocal track, Davis recalls, the song – now titled ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’, had been arranged ‘like a soul ballad. I said that’s totally wrong. You have to jump and go with the percussion … If he didn’t want to sing it that way, I would put my voice on the record and sell millions.’ After hearing Davis’s advice, Wilson cut the lead vocal for the new up-tempo ‘Higher and Higher’ arrangement in a single take.

“Jackie Wilson’s recording was begun in early July 1967, and released as a single on July 6. The instrumental backing was provided by the Funk Brothers, the Motown Records house session band who often moonlighted for Brunswick Records producer Carl Davis to augment the meager wages paid by Motown. Similarly, two of Motown’s house session singers The Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow, along with Pat Lewis (who was filling in for Andante Louvain Demps), performed background vocals on the session.

“Wilson’s recording was ranked #246 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

“In 1970 the song was recorded – as ‘Higher and Higher’ – by Canada Goose, a group from Ottawa who’d been discovered by Jerry Ragovoy (writer, ‘Time Is On My Side‘, ‘Piece of My Heart‘) and released on Tonsil Records, charting in Canada and in the US in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

“In 1977, Rita Coolidge and her sister Priscilla Jones sang background vocals on a version of the song for a prospective album by Jones’ husband, Booker T. Jones; when that album was shelved. Coolidge asked if she could cut the song using his mid-tempo arrangement.

“Released as a single, ‘…Higher and Higher’ became Coolidge’s first major hit in nine years of recording: the track peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

Otis Redding, “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” (1967):

Jackie Wilson, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” (1967):

Canada Goose, “Higher and Higher” (1970):

Rita Coolidge, “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” (1977):

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