‘Don’t Make Promises . . .’

I should know better.

Having been laid low by a late-summer malady at the end of last week (and also aching from the task of tearing down the front yard garden last evening), I’m not in a position to write much today. That means, of course, that our look at the pop chart from early September 1974 will be delayed again. That’s too bad, as – along with the previews I’ve already posted – there are some nice things in the lower levels of that weekly chart.

Instead, here are a couple versions of a song whose title I should take to heart. First, here’s the late Tim Hardin’s original from his 1966 album Tim Hardin 1.

The website Second Hand Songs lists sixteen recordings of “Don’t Make Promises,” ranging from Hardin’s original version in 1966 to a cover by Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women in 2009. Most of those versions are on the shelves here at Echoes In The Wind, and a few more will likely find their ways there. My favorite version, probably because it was the first one I ever heard, is Helen Reddy’s from her 1971 album I Don’t Know How To Love Him. I evidently can’t share that one at YouTube, though, so we’ll look elsewhere.

As I dug around this morning, I was startled to learn that not one single version of the song has ever made the Billboard Hot 100. (I originally thought that both the Beau Brummels and Gary Puckett & The Union Gap had released the tune as singles, but as regular readers Larry and Yah Shure point out below, those were both B-sides. Thanks, guys!)

There was at least one version in the U.K. that was intended as a single release that didn’t take place. I don’t know why, but the cover of “Don’t Make Promises” that the late Scottish single Tam White recorded in May of 1969 was not released by Decca as originally planned. So we’ll close this little exercise with White’s take on the tune, a version that’s a long way from Hardin’s folkish delivery.

Revised after first posting.

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2 Responses to “‘Don’t Make Promises . . .’”

  1. Larry Grogan says:

    I’ve alway loved this song, but it wasn’t Hardin’s original that I heard first. That honor goes to Rick Nelson who recorded it in 1967 on an album called ‘Another Side of Rick Nelson’ that saw him going a little bit progressive, but before his country rock period.
    Gary Puckett and the Union Gap did a nice version on the flip of ‘Woman Woman’ too.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    I have a promo copy of the Beau Brummels 45 on Warner 7014; “Two Days ‘Til Tomorrow” is the starred A-side, with “Don’t Make Promises” on the flip.

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