1. EDDIE HOLLAND- US Motown 1052 1963
Here's where it all began! Eddie's eighth single for Motown became a staple for several mod influenced US soul obsessed British bands thanks to it's inclusion on the June 1964 U.K. Stateside E.P. "R&B Chartmakers Vol.3" (SE 1022). It's infectious piano, female backing vocals and solid beat make it a solid dance floor necessity.
2. THE WHO-Unreleased 1965
By all accounts The Who were the first British band to begin playing "Leaving Here". Richard Barnes has suggested the band cut a version as The High Numbers during the session for their sole 45 ("I'm The Face"/"Zoot Suit") in 1964 . It's more substantially sped up than the original and is built on some frenetic Rickenbacker thwacking and frat boy backing vocals. It eventually appeared as a bonus cut on the "Who's Missing" CD (though not credited in the CD as the 1964 recording). A far less powerful version was cut with Shel Talmy producing in March 1965 that was intended for their debut LP "My Generation" until a panning of the projected album's plethora of cover versions in the magazine "Beat Instrumental" scrapped the track. Officially unreleased until 1985's compilation LP "Who's Missing", it's rather tame when compared with the 1964 version. The band also included it in their live set and performed it live on a BBC session in April of '65.
"Leaving Here" (High Numbers version):
"Leaving Here" (second version The Who):
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3. THE RATIONALS-US ASquare A2-104 1966
One would suspect that Ann Arbor, Michigan's Rationals got "Leaving Here" from their interest in soul/r&b (it was issued with a cover of "Respect" on the B-side) and being geographically close to the Motor City. It's probably one of the most interesting versions because the playing is total teen garage a go-go but the vocals (with call and response and hand claps) are pure soul.
4. THE D-COYS- Australia Columbia DO4646 1965
Rivaling the United States for largest country with the largest number of Anglophile band's Australia benefited from the ex-pat telegraph that saw loads of Downunder bands cutting versions of tunes British bands were doing that did not get an Australian release. According to Ian McLagan in his book "All The Rage" there was a sizable contingent of ex-pat mods in Australia so one suspects that either the Stateside E.P. or word of the track in The Who's live set reached Adelaide duo The D-Coys who cut it as a B-side of their second 45. Though not remotely as good as most of the other covers it gets cred for it's obscurity.
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5. JIMMY HANNA WITH THE DYNAMICS-US Seafair Bolo B-752 1965
Here's a way out version that I know zilch about. Backed by some rocking guitar (reminiscent of Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac"), groovy organ with horns and what sounds like a triangle this is without a doubt one of the most musically soulful versions out there. Cut in 1965 for the obscure Seattle Seafair Bolo label it's also one of the most expensive and in demand versions around.
6. THE BIRDS-UK Decca F12140 1965
In his book lead guitarist Ron Wood states that his band The Birds copped their version from the previously mentioned Stateside E.P. No doubt the most famous version of "Leaving Here" came via this U.K. r&b five piece from their second Decca single. With it's powerful opening chords that turn into a double time rave up this is the version that launched hundreds of live versions in the 80's (my band The Phantom Five among them).
7. THE IMPACTS-US Northwestern Incorporated 2660 1965
Oregon's Impacts cut their teeth with this version on the flip of their debut single "A Little Bit More". It's delivery is subtle with some faint organ and an interesting riff that's double timed, of all today's selections this is the version I found little to no information on.
8. TAGES-Sweden Plantina PA 122 1966
Sweden's Tages were devout Anglophiles and as The Who frequently gigged in Sweden it is safe to say that their version no doubt came from hearing The Who play it in their October '65 Swedish tour (the Tages later opened for The Who in October '66 in Sweden) . It was the flip side of their eighth single, July 1966's "In My Dreams". Though it's not the most powerful of the covers listed here it's interesting nonetheless for the addition of the Nicky Hopkin's inspired piano and the hard hitting drums.
9. TOMMY GOOD US Gordy G-7034 1964
Tommy Good's sole US single was this flip side reading of his "Baby I Miss You" July 1964 release. The uptempo horns and organ workout that leaves the original in the dust to my ears backing music wise. The vocals aren't as powerful as Eddie Holland's but the backing is solid and reminds me of what Georgie Fame would have done with it!
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10. THE VACANT LOT-Australia Columbia DO-4768 1967
Sydney, Australia's Vacant Lot issued this reading, their sole 45, in March 1967 making it probably the last 7 inch version of the track of the 60's. It's punchy, snotty and at the same time poppy thanks to the vocals.