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  1. #1

    'Ain't No Mountain ...' - Vikki Carr?

    So years ago I had a friend (now deceased) who was a HUGE Vikki Carr fan (yeah, it's thing). She INSISTED that Carr and her producers came up with the spoken passages and rendition of ANMHE that became Diana's first (and most recent!!) #1 but Carr's record was somehow squashed. Sounded suspect to me and I never found any proof of such a thing, though I did not research very thoroughly. If there were any truth to the accusation I'm sure the He-Man Diana Hatin' Club members would have seized upon it decades ago.

    Anybody familiar with this SCANDAL?!
    Last edited by PeaceNHarmony; 01-14-2018 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    I just listened to Vikki's version on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbTVWKQ3-vA

    Apparently it was released on a 1971 album VIKKI CARR'S LOVE STORY. It sounds like an edited version of Diana's version to me.

    However, a poster said that her version was recorded two years before Ross. It seems rather unlikely that Vikki and co. would go through the trouble of reconstructing a song so definitively and then not sue when Diana's remake was released, copying theirs. It also seems very unlikely that Ashford and Simpson would give such a remake to a non-Motown artist, while they were under contract to the label.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I just listened to Vikki's version on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbTVWKQ3-vA

    Apparently it was released on a 1971 album VIKKI CARR'S LOVE STORY. It sounds like an edited version of Diana's version to me.

    However, a poster said that her version was recorded two years before Ross. It seems rather unlikely that Vikki and co. would go through the trouble of reconstructing a song so definitively and then not sue when Diana's remake was released, copying theirs. It also seems very unlikely that Ashford and Simpson would give such a remake to a non-Motown artist, while they were under contract to the label.
    Anything is possible but it does not seem logical that A&S would copy & claim as theirs the Carr version from 2 years earlier. It also seems that more 'proof' would exist of the older Carr version.

  5. #5
    I believe I read that Vikkis first record was the original of Phil Spector's later Crystals hit He's A Rebel....
    In the late 60s /Early 70's Columbia Records was very likely the most successful record label in the industry. This was Vikki's label at the time. Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and Jerry Vale were also on Columbia at the time....seems all 4 released at least 2 LPS
    a year covering the top pop hits of the day. Several songs selected are repeated on each of the others LPS. I wonder how many titles all 4 covered? (Love Story and Something...for sure.)

  6. #6
    Vikki, like a few other MOR artists on Columbia around that time, always did at least one side of a recording with cover songs. Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams also did this. They did them in the same style as the recorded hit version. I truly doubt that Vikki Carr would have recorded her version of ANMHE until she heard Diana's. She obviously had her ears open to Diana's music as she also recorded I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You, released after Diana's version appeared on the Surrender album. Also Vikki's version of ANMHE appears on her first Columbia album. Until 1970, she was on Liberty & United Artists. I don't think she would have recorded a song for another label and then brought it with her to Columbia.
    Last edited by thommg; 01-14-2018 at 12:21 PM.

  7. #7
    Regardless of who's was first, Vikki Carr's version was excellent, In the UK her version was issued on single on 28th August 1970 but I don't believe it was an American single at the time.

    In the UK, a year later, Vikki Carr released "I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You" and the B' side of that single by Vikki was excellent too and was also a Motown song, written by Ron Miller and Tom Baird - "I've Never Been A Woman Before". A double A' side in my opinion. That's well worth seeking out to listen to.

  8. #8
    Since Ashford and Simpson produced and arranged Diana's debut album, I doubt that they would have given the same arrangement to Vikki. My feeling is that Vikki's version is a cover of Diana's. I have always said that I like Vikki's spoken words on her version more that I like Diana's spoken words. Both Singles came out within a month of each other.

    https://secondhandsongs.com/performance/77961/versions

    Vikki also does My World is Empty. I would love to hear Diana sing a version like this in her concert. This version make you appreciate just how sad the song is

  9. #9


    I would place the betting odds of that predating Diana Ross's at 0% (imo).

    But that's a really nice full arrangement with the clarity of the harps , piano , sax, cymbals etc. A classy rendition vocally too . I wonder which "Supremes" might possibly be backing her?

  10. #10
    Tammi Terrell's solo version was completed by by 11th January 1967.
    Marvin Gaye added his vocals and the Gaye-Terrell version was complete by 1st February 1967.

    The Diana Ross & Supremes & Temptations version was completed by 31st July 1968.

    Diana Ross's solo version was completed by 18th March 1970 - her debut album was issued in June 1970.

    For the Diana US single, US promo was July 1970. Single issued 16th July 1970.

    Vikki Carr's UK single was released on 28th August 1970 - the same date that the Diana Ross single was issued in the UK.

    Vikki Carr had from June to August 1970 (at a push March to August if they had any inside info lol) to record her cover. It was her first single on CBS (Columbia) after she signed with them in 1970. Everything points to it being a rush released cover version since in the UK her previous single, on Liberty, had been issued only 2 months previously. I think they were too late to beat the Ross single to release in the USA and decided they'd try to compete in other markets.
    Last edited by mysterysinger; 01-17-2018 at 07:01 PM.

  11. #11
    The first time I was ever exposed to Vikki Carr and her amazing talent was her appearance on Ed Sullivan when she sang "It Must Be Him." I recall loving her powerful, yet lyrical voice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP0hE8GYLhs

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    The first time I was ever exposed to Vikki Carr and her amazing talent was her appearance on Ed Sullivan when she sang "It Must Be Him." I recall loving her powerful, yet lyrical voice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP0hE8GYLhs
    Recently I saw Vikki on an old Ed Sullivan show rerun. I have never really paid any attention to her before but i have to say her performance of WITH PEN IN HAND really impressed me.

  13. #13
    She was quite popular in Latin America and recorded in Spanish a great deal. I bought one of her CDs recently (I think a Real Gone release) though I haven't listened to it much. But I've always been a little curious about her. I wonder how she "crossed over" opposite the usual direction, from American MOR to Latin Pop. An interesting artist.

  14. #14
    I believe she is of Mexican ancestry. And the Columbia /CBS /Sony umbrella always had a large presence in the International Latino market.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    I believe she is of Mexican ancestry. And the Columbia /CBS /Sony umbrella always had a large presence in the International Latino market.
    You're right about Columbia. And they certainly released a huge catalogue of albums. I'm going to find my CD and listen to it for sure now.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post

    Vikki Carr had from June to August 1970 (at a push March to August if they had any inside info lol) to record her cover. It was her first single on CBS (Columbia) after she signed with them in 1970. Everything points to it being a rush released cover version since in the UK her previous single, on Liberty, had been issued only 2 months previously. I think they were too late to beat the Ross single to release in the USA and decided they'd try to compete in other markets.
    What a scuzzy thing to do! Whatever possessed the Vikky Carr crowd that they should try to rob Diana and Motown of their own song?

    While I think the version is well done (background vocals too recessed) , I did notice a couple times where Vikki's voice cracks , and compared to Diana's version where she doubles down at the end , Vikki's vocal simply drops out making it comparatively unresolved sounding. But then if they were in a big rush to get this puppy out ...
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-19-2018 at 01:27 AM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    What a scuzzy thing to do! Whatever possessed the Vikky Carr crowd that they should try to rob Diana and Motown of their own song?
    And Motown would NEVER do that to anyone else. Can you say Love Hangover????

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by thommg View Post
    And Motown would NEVER do that to anyone else. Can you say Love Hangover????
    Yep...very common practice in the commercial pop world especially in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

    Wasn't "Killing Me Softly" recorded by its original writer (a kind of female folk singer, as I recall) before Roberta Flack's version? I think the same thing was true of "You Light Up My Life." I think someone had released it before Debby Boone.

    I also think Phil Spector rush recorded "He's a Rebel" because Gene Pitney (who wrote it) was producing it on someone else, which is why Darlene Love sang it and not The Crystals to whom it was credited.

    I'm sure there's many other examples. Those are the few I recall just now.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Yep...very common practice in the commercial pop world especially in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

    Wasn't "Killing Me Softly" recorded by its original writer (a kind of female folk singer, as I recall) before Roberta Flack's version? I think the same thing was true of "You Light Up My Life." I think someone had released it before Debby Boone.

    I also think Phil Spector rush recorded "He's a Rebel" because Gene Pitney (who wrote it) was producing it on someone else, which is why Darlene Love sang it and not The Crystals to whom it was credited.

    I'm sure there's many other examples. Those are the few I recall just now.
    Let's not forget the Pat Boones and Georgia Gibbses of yore. Diana lit a harsh spotlight on the hijacking of R&B in her Red Hot Rhythm & Blues TV special.

  20. #20
    have you ever heard Vikki Carrs version of "He's A Rebel", lol, how could anyone think that could be a hit. No, Gene Pitney wrote the song for the Crystals and actually taught the son to the real Crystals backstage at a show they did together. However, Phil had some doings with Snuff Garrett & Liberty Records & somehow Liberty heard the song & was trying to do it quickly on Vikki Carr, so Phil rushed to do his version & when the real Crystals balked at dropping everything to fly to Calif.Phil's partner Lester Sill got the Blossoms into Gold Star & boy did that change history.

  21. #21
    Quincy Jones stole Its My Party and rushed acetates to NY DJs before the original got pressed. Beat it by a week or less

  22. #22
    I think the source of the misunderstanding is the label of Vikki Carr's UK single, which lists a publishing (P) date of 1968, so it was assumed that the recording had been in the can since then. There's no way Ashford & Simpson gave away their (re-)arrangement to a non-Motown artist years before they used it for Diana Ross. I remember Dusty Springfield recounting how they played her "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on one of her New York visits but they wouldn't give her the song because they wanted to use it to establish themselves at Motown - I guess that would have been about 1966. Ashford & Simpson not only had talent, they had business savvy.

    http://www.45cat.com/record/s5161
    Last edited by smallworld; 01-20-2018 at 05:56 AM.

  23. #23
    Didn't Nella Dodds try to release "Come see about me" before the Supremes and that's why Berry Gordy rushed released the Supremes.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by vgalindo View Post
    Didn't Nella Dodds try to release "Come see about me" before the Supremes and that's why Berry Gordy rushed released the Supremes.
    She did release her version before the Supremes did. That's why there's only one month between the releases of BABY LOVE and COME SEE ABOUT ME.

  25. #25
    I found a 2-fer of Carr that I have, and on one of the albums she does "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)." Now, when I was young, I didn't really like this song. I thought it was way too MOR for Gladys Knight - I liked the Gladys of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You)". But I've grown to love it and really appreciate Gladys' performance.

    But Vikki does it very, very well. She really digs deep into the song and her voice sounds amazing on it! Give it a listen.


  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by thommg View Post
    and motown would never do that to anyone else. Can you say love hangover????
    nella dodds!

  27. #27
    Originally Posted by Boogiedown

    What a scuzzy thing to do! Whatever possessed the Vikky Carr crowd that they should try to rob Diana and Motown of their own song?
    Quote Originally Posted by thommg View Post
    And Motown would NEVER do that to anyone else. Can you say Love Hangover????
    Hmmm I can't think of anything even remotely skuzzy that Motown did concerning LOVE HANGOVER. Perhaps you could elaborate?

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Hmmm I can't think of anything even remotely skuzzy that Motown did concerning LOVE HANGOVER. Perhaps you could elaborate?

    https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthrea...+love+hangover

  29. #29
    Originally Posted by Boogiedown

    Hmmm I can't think of anything even remotely skuzzy that Motown did concerning LOVE HANGOVER. Perhaps you could elaborate?

    thanks for the link! I get that about the Fifth Dimension attempting to undermine the Diana Ross/ Motown version.
    What I'm asking is, what did "Motown do to someone else? " that was scuzzy in this situation?
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-22-2018 at 04:32 AM.

  30. #30
    kenneth:

    Yep...very common practice in the commercial pop world especially in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

    Wasn't "Killing Me Softly" recorded by its original writer (a kind of female folk singer, as I recall) before Roberta Flack's version? .....
    As I understand it Roberta Flack released her version of this song a couple of years after the composer first released her version. IWO Roberta Flack rescued an overlooked and otherwise forgotten song. Nothing scuzzy there and not comparable to what Vickki Carr & Co. were trying to pull off with AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN .

    I think incidences of song stealing can be cited here and there, but I'd hardly call it common practice . Yes in the fifties, early sixties, when pop music was still a bit like the wild west, there was a more competitive attitude about scoring a hit version first by any means possible. I think that era was more conducive to it for a number of reasons and partly because there were so many small ( legally defenseless) labels/acts that were easy to raid and also the phenomena of regional hits , where an act or producer might hear a record that was breaking say in Texas by some local artist and then they'd rush back to New York and cut a version to compete in a different market . "Spotting" hit songs was as important as having a roster of stars for up and coming labels . But by the mid sixties I think a lot of that attitude had changed and there were more laws and lawyers in place. I think those earlier examples could be many. But again by the mid-sixties , not so much . A thread listing instances of record stealing after that time might be very interesting. Maybe there are many more than I'm aware of. I certainly didn't know about the Vikki Carr situation and I'm still befuddled as to why they thought it a good idea to try to steal the reworked version from Diana Ross and Motown right down to the new spoken word content . Scuzzy , shameless , whatever the right word is.

    As far as Motown goes, did they ever practice this , intentionally wrestle away songs from other acts and labels before they could release/ break the songs themselves? ? Even once?

  31. #31
    IMO Diana simply owns the song. Vikki’s is a big band arrangement and she sounds very MOR to me. Diana really communicates it and is brilliant as are Ashford and Simpson

  32. #32
    @Boogiedown, I think you're mostly right in your analysis. I also think that distribution had more to do with it than almost anything. The smaller independent labels couldn't get the distribution the major labels did, so even if the small label had a local hit, it might get rerecorded by someone at a major label and they'd have the edge thanks to their distribution networks.

    I thought of another example which is interesting in a different way. "Hanky Panky" was recorded by a group headed by Tommy James after he heard it on the original version by the Raindrops, the group which included married songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. It flopped, but then a year or so later James was unemployed and a DJ somewhere picked up on the old song and started playing it. James re-formed the Shondells but he didn't even have to re-record the song; it picked up steam on its own so he just needed a group to tour with it and exploit the new hit song.

  33. #33
    My response to Vicki's claim SHE came up with the vocal interludes:


    We're just gonna believe Diana stole from everybody now? She's not a swagger jacker.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @Boogiedown, I think you're mostly right in your analysis. I also think that distribution had more to do with it than almost anything. The smaller independent labels couldn't get the distribution the major labels did, so even if the small label had a local hit, it might get rerecorded by someone at a major label and they'd have the edge thanks to their distribution networks. I agree. That is a major point.

    I thought of another example which is interesting in a different way. "Hanky Panky" was recorded by a group headed by Tommy James after he heard it on the original version by the Raindrops, the group which included married songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. It flopped, but then a year or so later James was unemployed and a DJ somewhere picked up on the old song and started playing it. James re-formed the Shondells but he didn't even have to re-record the song; it picked up steam on its own so he just needed a group to tour with it and exploit the new hit song.
    That is a great story . Love stuff like this . Just think , Tommy James had given up , would've moved on to something else ( no CRIMSON AND CLOVER!)
    wiki:
    Meanwhile, in 1965, Pittsburgh dance promoter Bob Mack had unearthed the forgotten single "Hanky Panky", playing it at various dance parties, and radio stations there touted it as an "exclusive". Listener response encouraged regular play, and demand soared. Bootleggers responded by printing 80,000 black market copies of the recording, which were sold in Pennsylvania stores.
    Funny , I guess it's not obvious a song is a hit , until it's ... a hit! (HANKY PANKY went on to become a #1 record !) I also enjoy learning of incidences where songs are intended as incidental "b" sides to the 45 until some radio dj flips the record over , and wha la ! a hit is born!

    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-24-2018 at 02:20 AM.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I also enjoy learning of incidences where songs are intended as incidental "b" sides to the 45 until some radio dj flips the record over , and wha la ! a hit is born!
    The biggest selling single of 1967 in the US was a b-side that got flipped.


  36. #36
    This is pretty stunning. I don't think Vikki Carr ever recorded a studio version.


  37. #37
    I heard Vik had the original What’s Goin On!

  38. #38
    ^ LMAO!!!

    My friend's cousin's brother told me she had the original Superstition. Even said Stevie stole her line "very superstitious, wash your face and hands"!

    I'm telling you! THIS IS WHAT SHE TOLD ME! LMAO

    Yeah this is silly. Put respect on Motown's name, people lmao

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by smallworld View Post
    The biggest selling single of 1967 in the US was a b-side that got flipped.
    How about that!

    In England it was the "B" side to this song which went to #11 there:



    But never charted at all in the US .
    Conversely, TO SIR WITH LOVE, charted not at all in the UK , wiki saying it is the only non-charting British song to go to #1 on the US charts.

    Now, does it mean I am hanging around this site too much , as I swear , on LET'S PRETEND , does Lulu not sound like.....


    DIANA ROSS !!!!

  40. #40
    I like the Marvin & Tammi version of Ain't No Mountain High Enough way better than Diana's..it's like 2 different songs to me

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