This song had been around for a while before Linda Ronstadt took it to the top of the chart. It was originally recorded by Dee Dee Warwick in 1963. Her version was produced by the famous team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, but it stalled at #117. Betty Everett had more success with her version, which went to #51 in 1964. First released on her 1963 album of the same name, Everett recorded the song at Chess Records in Chicago, with Maurice White on drums (White, who later formed Earth, Wind & Fire, was a staff drummer at Chess early in his career). Everett was a former gospel singer who, like Ronstadt, had a very powerful voice. Her next single, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)
," became her biggest hit.
The song made one more chart appearance in 1964 when the British male band Swinging Blue Jeans switched the gender and took the song to #97 in the US and #3 in the UK, where it became the best-known rendition of the song.
A decade later, Ronstadt started performing the song and recorded it with her producer Peter Asher. Released as a single from her fifth album, the song was a huge breakthrough for Ronstadt, whose chart success to this point was sporadic (her biggest hit to then: "Long, Long Time" at #25). She became one of the biggest stars of the '70s, known for her musical versatility and impressive vocal range. Most of her hits were cover songs, including the follow-up, "When Will I Be Loved," originally recorded by the Everly Brothers.