Who Did the Song First?
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The songs here are cover versions of songs that are more famous than their originals. There are hundreds of examples of famous songs that people know only from a cover version. Many times they think the cover artist(s) actually wrote the song. Even with a song as well-loved as "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton, there are younger listeners who think it was a Whitney Houston original. However, the songs on this list are ones where the cover version completely eclipsed the original.

Sometimes, a cover version becomes more popular because it improves on the original in some way. Just as often, however, it is pure timing, luck, and circumstance. The original artist may have believed in their song, for instance, but the record company or the producer did not. Lots of cover hits were originally B-sides.

Keep in mind that a "cover song" is a song that was previously recorded and commercially released and then recorded again by a new artist. A song that is written by another person but never recorded, and then later recorded by another artist, is not a cover song.

Who Did the Song "I Love Rock n' Roll" First Before Joan Jett?

30 Aug 2017 23:32


Song: I Love Rock 'n Roll (1982)

Artist: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Album: I Love Rock 'n Roll (Boardwalk)

Writers: Jake Hooker, Alan Merrill

Joan Jett has had a storied career. Before she was the frontman of her own band, she was a part of the band The Runaways, famous for such songs as "Cherry Bomb." The song she is most known for, however, she did as part of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: I love Rock 'n Roll. In March 1982 it was a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit number one on the Billboard Top Tracks and Hot Dance Club Songs charts. It also charted in six other countries, reaching no. 1 in four of them. It became the band's most requested song on tour, the single itself went platinum, and it is a classic rock radio mainstay to this day. You could not find a bigger hit….

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Who Did the Song 'Wagon Wheel' First Before Darius Rucker?

30 Aug 2017 00:40


Song: Wagon Wheel (2004)

Artists: Old Crow Medicine Show

Albums: Troubles Up and Down the Road, O.C.M.S.

Writers: Bob Dylan, Ketch Secor

In 2014, Darius Rucker, the singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, won a Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance for his recording of the song Wagon Wheel. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country chart, and number 15 on the Hot 100, spending 26 weeks on the chart during the Summer of 2013. It's a simple little ditty in which Darius asks his woman to "rock me baby like a wagon wheel." Believe it or not, the song was originally written by Bob Dylan. Or, at least Bob Dylan came up with the initial idea for the song….

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Who Did 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' First Before Led Zeppelin?

26 Aug 2017 21:13


Song: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (1962)

Artists: Joan Baez, Led Zeppelin

Album: In Concert

Writer: Anne Bredon

When you hear Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You by Led Zeppelin, you may not realize that the song started out as a folk song. This in itself is not surprising since Led Zeppelin was heavily influenced by folk. Songs like Black Mountain Side, Ramble On, The Battle of Evermore, and Going to California, among others, exemplify this influence.

Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You was first recorded by Joan Baez on her 1962 album, In Concert….

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Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede: Who Did It First?

20 Apr 2017 18:42


Song: Hooked on a Feeling (1968)

Artist: B.J. Thomas

Album: On My Way (Sceptor)

Writer: Mark James

Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede is one of the popular tracks from the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy (some of them here). But, the arrangement, with its ooga-chaka ooga-chaka refrain, is quite a bit different than the original….

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Who Did 'Red, Red Wine' First Before UB40?

18 Apr 2017 02:43


Song: Red, Red Wine (1968)

Artist: Neil Diamond

Album: Just For You (Bang)

Writer: Neil Diamond

In 1988 UB40, a group from Birmingham UK had a no. 1 hit with a song called Red, Red Wine, done in a reggae style (they were not the first, see below). Although UB40 has plenty of original material, their hit-making formula mostly consisted of taking good songs from way back and doing them in a reggae style. And yes, Red, Red Wine was a good song from way back in 1968. It was written and recorded, originally, by Neil Diamond for his album Just For You….

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