Here are nine songs you may not have realized were originally recorded by other artists before a cover version made it a hit:

“Nothing Compares 2 U”

The song was written by Prince, and recorded in 1985 by The Family, one of Prince’s side projects:

Five years later, Sinead O’Connor had a worldwide hit, that reached number one on the U.S. Billboard charts:


In 1995, L.A. band Ednaswap recorded “Torn”:

Three years later, Natalie Imbruglia would make it a hit:

“Wind Beneath My Wings”

“Wind Beneath My Wings” was written in  1982, seven years before Bette Midler made it a hit. Roger Whittaker was the first person to record the song in 1982, but Sheena Easton also recorded it that year, and Lou Rawls recorded it in 1984. Here’s Roger Whittaker’s version:

And here’s Bette Midler’s 1989 version that became a monster hit:

“The Greatest Love Of All”

“The Greatest Love of All” was recorded for a 1977 movie about Muhammad Ali (?!). R&B artist George Benson sang it nine years before Whitney Houston would have an international hit with it. The song was written by Linda Creed, who wrote the song while struggling with breast cancer. In 2012, Whitney’s version re-entered the Billboard charts following her death.

Here’s Whitney Houston’s version:


Otis Redding wrote and recorded “Respect” in 1965. Two years later, Aretha Franklin would make it her signature song. Here’s the Otis version:

Here’s Aretha’s original version:

“Don’t Turn Around”

“Don’t Turn Around”  was originally recorded by Tina Turner in 1986. In 1994, Ace of Base released a “minor key” version and had a hit with the song. First, Tina’s version:

Ace of Base’s version:

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Robert Hazard wrote and recorded “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” in 1979:

Cyndi’s version, four years later. On our show last year, Cyndi said she hadn’t heard Robert’s version in years until we played it for her:

“If I Were A Boy”

Singer-songwriter BC Jean was hoping to have a hit with “If I Were A Boy,” a song she co-wrote. Her record company rejected it, but Beyonce made it a hit. BC Jean’s version:

Beyonce’s version:

“No More I Love You’s”

“No More I Love You’s”  was written and performed by the band The Lover Speaks in 1986. Nine years later, Annie Lennox would make it a hit:

Annie’s 1995 version:


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