The First Cut Is the Deepest – Sheryl Crow – 2003

“The First Cut Is the Deepest” is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in May 1967. Stevens’ own version originally appeared on his album New Masters in December 1967.

The song has been widely covered and has become a hit single for four different artists: P. P. Arnold (1967), Keith Hampshire (1973), Rod Stewart (1977) and Sheryl Crow (2003)

Cat Stevens version
Stevens made a demo recording of “The First Cut Is the Deepest” in 1965, but originally hoped to become a songwriter. He wrote the song earlier to promote his songs to other artists, but did not record it as his own performance until early October 1967 with guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, and it did not appear until his second album, New Masters, was released in December 1967. He sold the song for £30 to P.P. Arnold, and it became a huge hit for her, as well as an international hit for Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, and Sheryl Crow. The song has won Stevens songwriting awards, including two consecutive ASCAP songwriting awards for “Songwriter of the Year” in 2005 and 2006.

Rod Stewart version

Stewart recorded the song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, United States, and it appeared on his 1976 album A Night on the Town. It was released as a double A-side single with “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”. It was a huge success, and spent four weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart in May 1977, number 11 in April in Canada, and also reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. In a departure from the original, Stewart excludes the concluding “But when it comes to being loved, she’s first” from the refrain. In 1993, he recorded a live version during a session of MTV Unplugged. This was included on the album Unplugged…and Seated.

Sheryl Crow version

Sheryl Crow’s version was the first of two singles released to promote her 2003 The Very Best of Sheryl Crow compilation album. It became one of Crow’s biggest radio hits, remaining 36 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, and was also Crow’s first Top 40 solo country hit, following the success of her hit duet with Kid Rock, “Picture”.[citation needed] The song topped the airplay charts in the US and became a platinum seller, also reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and went to number one on the AC chart for two nonconsecutive weeks. It was also featured during an episode of HBO’s The Sopranos and The CW’s One Tree Hill, in which she also guest starred. It was used for the closing of the final episode of Showtime on ABS-CBN as the talent show format on 28 January 2012 and in the 2005 film Must Love Dogs.