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March 10, 2020 9:57 am  #1

Hits That Were Released Twice - With Altered Lyrics

I’m never sure exactly why, but once in a blue moon (not the Marcels hit!) a song will hit the charts, disappear and then be reissued, sometimes weeks and often years later. And many times there will be a small alteration in it that wasn’t there in the first place. But occasionally, it’s the original that comes back on the charts.
On one of my favorite weekly radio shows called “Under The Influence,” about marketing and advertising, host Terry O’Reilly recounted the incredible story of how The Kinks’ Ray Davies flew 16,000 miles, spent thousands of dollars and left a North American tour twice to re-record a single word in the smash “Lola.”
He tells it better than I can, and you can read about it here if you're interested. 
Another song that had at least two versions on the charts at the same time was an otherwise obscure oldie called “Good News Week” by one hit wonder Hedgehoppers Anonymous. The version most of us have heard made reference to “birth control,” which was a hot topic in 1965 and made a lot of American radio stations nervous.
But the other version may have been even worse. The lyrics that replaced the “birth control” lines said this:
“Lots of blood in Asia now
They've butchered up the sacred cow
They’ve got a lot to eat.”
You can imagine how that was greeted in parts of India and Europe. Which may explain the two separate versions.
Sometimes, the changes make sense. And sometimes, these rhymes have no reason. Neil Diamond’s first hit, “Solitary Man” was released twice, once in 1966 and again in 1970. The first version had him singing:
“Then Sue came along, love me strong,
That’s what I thought.
Me and Sue,
But that died, too.”
But in a second release, the lyrics changed to:
“Then you came along, love me strong,
That’s what I thought.
Me and you,
But that died, too.”
Or was it the other way around?
Why the change? I’m not sure it’s ever been explained.
There are probably other instances where words or phrases are altered in a reissued song. But it’s not always clear why it happens.
Of course, some songs are reissued without any changes and go on to become hits a second (or in some cases, a first) time. Aerosmith’s “Dream On” didn’t make a dent when it was originally released in 1973 but became a smash and one of their signature tunes when it hit again in 1976.
Neil Sedaka is one of only two artists I can think of in Top 40 history to release two separate versions of the same hit. “Breakin’ Up Is Hard to Do,” hit #1 with a fast tempo in 1962 and was remade by Sedaka with a slower pace in 1975. That one hit #8.
The other one? Del Shannon, whose “Runaway” was a masterpiece in 1961, bubbled under on Billboard with a  redone version in 1967, and came back a third time in 1986 with new words by the same artist, as the theme for the TV series “Crime Story.” But I don't think the latter version hit the charts at all.


March 17, 2020 5:55 pm  #2

Re: Hits That Were Released Twice - With Altered Lyrics

Leaning On A Lamp-Post - George Formby 1937

Leaning On The Lamp Post - Herman's Hermits 1966


March 17, 2020 6:09 pm  #3

Re: Hits That Were Released Twice - With Altered Lyrics

This may be similar but how about the story of Chuck Berry's 30 Days & Ronnie Hawkins' 40 Days? Same song different days.

Last edited by memphis boy (March 17, 2020 6:10 pm)


March 17, 2020 9:43 pm  #4

Re: Hits That Were Released Twice - With Altered Lyrics

Good one ... and what's also interesting is that Hawkins originally recorded it as Thirty Days himself.


March 18, 2020 12:12 am  #5

Re: Hits That Were Released Twice - With Altered Lyrics

Some other examples of artists who released two different versions of their songs:
It's All In The Game - Tommy Edwards: original in 1951, new version in 1958
Please Mr. Sun/The Morning Side Of The Mountain - Tommy Edwards: originals in 1952 and 1951 respectively, new versions in 1959
Walk-Don't Run - Ventures: original in 1960, new version (entitled Walk Don't Run '64) in 1964
Wipe Out - Surfaris: original in 1963, new version in 1966 which charted on CHUM alongside a rerelease of the original
Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers: original in 1965, new version in 1990 which charted on Billboard alongside a rerelease of the original
Ode To Billie Joe - Bobbie Gentry: original in 1967, new version (entitled Ode To Billy Joe - Main Title) in 1976, which charted on Billboard alongside a rerelease of the original


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