How “Delta Dawned”

Special to the Star-Telegram

‘Delta’ dawned just before Helen Reddy recorded it

Q: I need to know who recorded the song Delta Dawn first, Tanya Tucker or Helen Reddy? Anything extra would be appreciated as well.– A.D., Fort Worth

1973 - December 3 - The Palance Theatre Opening

A: Extra? You mean like an ice cream cone or something? You sound like my ex-wife: “I need some extra money this month.” My bartender: “You want an extra shot? You look like you need it.” My kids: “Will you buy us a PS3? We’ve been good,” to which I respond, “Ask Mommy. She took all my extra money.”

Actually, A.D., I think I understand. You want me to do some “extra” work.

First things first. Texan Tucker beat Aussie Reddy to Delta Dawn, but not by much. According to, Tucker’s version came out in 1972; Reddy’s version trailed a year later, in ’73.

Here are your extras: Delta Dawn was written by songwriter Alex Harvey and singer/writer Larry Collins, who was one-half of the child rockabilly band the Collins Kids; Tucker decided to record the song after she heard Bette Midler perform it on The Tonight Show, according to; Midler released the song, too, but her version was buried by Reddy’s rendition, which came out around the same time; and Reddy is now a hypnotherapist.

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