thelma houston

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’

The song, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, was originally recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in 1975

“Don’t Leave Me This Way” is a song written by Kenneth Gamble (b.1943), Leon Huff (b.1942) and Cary Gilbert (1942-1993) and was recorded by the American group, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, for their fourth studio album, “Wake Up Everybody”, in 1975. The song was released as the third single in November and peaked at No.5 in the UK and No.3 on the US Disco singles chart.

Singer Thelma Houston (b.1946) recorded her version only a few months later for her 1976 album, “Any Way You Like It”. The song was released as the lead single from the album in December and became a top ten hit around the world, hitting No.1 on the US singles chart and No.1 on the Dance chart. Her version peaked at No.13 in the UK and made a second appearance in 1995, remixed by Italian producer Joe Vannelli. This new version peaked at No.35 in the UK and No.13 on the US dance chart.


The Communards (Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles) recorded the song for their debut album, “Communards”, in 1986. The song was released as the third single in August that year and became their breakthrough sound. It hit number one in the UK for four weeks, becoming the biggest seller of the whole year. It was also a number one across Europe, reached No.2 in Australia, an all time peak for any version of the song there, and No.40 in the US, althougth it topped the Club chart there.

But whose version is the best? HAROLD MELVIN’s original, THELMA HOUSTON’s quick cover or THE COMMUNARDS 80’s hit?