This was one of the first songs written by Laura Nyro
, who was 17 when she wrote it. The song was first recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1966. Nyro included it on her first album in 1967, More Than A New Discovery
. Blood, Sweat & Tears, a nine-man group with a prominent horn section, covered it in 1969, and their version was the hit.
Nyro never had much success recording her own songs, but wrote several hits for other artists, including "Eli's Coming" for Three Dog Night and "Sweet Blindness" for The 5th Dimension. She died of cancer in 1997.