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Waiting for Tonight Original

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In 1997, Maria Christensen, Michael Garvin and Phil Temple wrote “Waiting for Tonight”. The song is a dance-tune about a woman eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new man. Jennifer Lopez’s 1999 version became a celebratory anthem associated with the eve of the new millennium. The “Waiting for Tonight” original was recorded two years earlier by Christensens’ girl group 3rd Party. This version had a decidedly more Europop sound to it.

Mickey Original

Introduction to the “Mickey” Original

Toni Basil’s “Mickey”, with its cheerleader video clip, is one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s. But the “Mickey” original wasn’t “Mickey” at all. It was “Kitty”, a song performed by English new wave band Racey in 1979.

“Mickey”, or rather “Kitty”, was written by songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. The duo wrote a string of hits in the 70s and 80s for performers like The Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Mud, New World, Arrows, Smokie, Tina Turner, and Huey Lewis and the News.

Torn Original

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An Introduction to Torn

“Torn” is a song about a woman who thought she found the perfect guy but it turns out she didn’t. I’m sure many of you can relate! Anyway, she ends up “all out of faith” and “lying naked on the floor”. Considered a 90s anthem, “Torn” launched former Neighbours star Natalie Imbruglia’s singing career. In 2011, it was the most played song on Australia radio since 1990. It was also the qualifying song One Direction performed on UK X Factor in 2010. The “Torn” original was written by members of LA rock band Ednaswap back in 1993. And it was recorded three times before Imbruglia’s 1997 version.

Check out Left of the Middle by Natalie Imbruglia

Saving All My Love For You Original

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What’s “Saving All My Love For You” All About?

“Saving All My Love For You” is about a woman in love with a married man. Whitney Houston’s version of this song sold three million copies worldwide. However, 5th Dimension founder and Solid Gold host Marilyn McCoo recorded the “Saving All My Love For You” original in 1978.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun Original


Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a 1980s feminist pop anthem accompanied by a Grammy-winning music video. It has close to 40 cover versions, including Weird Al Yankovic’s parody “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch”. But the unknown original version of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was sung by a man. This put a completely different slant on girls wanting to have “fun”.

The House of the Rising Sun Original

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“The House of the Rising Sun” tells a tale of life gone wrong in New Orleans. In 1964 by British rock group the Animals made the song a number one hit in the UK, US and Canada. In a period where R&B was transitioning to rock, It is considered the first folk-rock hit. But what about the unknown original version of this song?

The Tide is High Original


American new wave band Blondie released “The Tide is High” in 1980. It was the lead single from Blondie’s fifth studio album Autoamerican, and reached number one in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand. In 2002 British girl group Atomic Kitten released a poppier cover of “The Tide is High”. This version was also a number one hit. But did you know that Blondie’s version is a cover as well? Jamaican DJ Duke Reid composed “The Tide is High” original song back in the 1930s and in 1967 John Holt arranged it for his group The Paragons.

Bette Davis Eyes Original

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Bette Davis Eyes is a Cover

Kim Carnes’ version of “Bette Davis Eyes” came out in 1981. It was the lead single from Carnes’ sixth studio album Mistaken Identity. The song was US Billboard’s biggest hit in 1981. It also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland. In addition, “Bette Davis Eyes” won two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1982. It was the third-best-selling single of the 1980s, after Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and the Diana Ross/Lionel Richie duet “Endless Love”.

But did you know that “Bette Davis Eyes” original version was first recorded back in 1974 by 60s hit singer Jackie DeShannon? It was written and composed by DeShannon and singer-songwriter Donna Weiss for DeShannon’s 1975 album New Arrangement. They came up with the idea to write the song after seeing Bette Davis in the 1942 film Now, Voyager.

Welcome to Unknown Original

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unknown originals and covers

Hello Friends. Welcome to Unknown Original. Since you found your way here, it looks like you’re interested in the histories and mysteries of music. Yay for that! This website explores unknown originals and covers that became more famous.