In 1960, The Shirelles released their version as Scepter single 1211, with "Boys" on the B-side. The single's first pressing was labelled simply "Tomorrow", then lengthened later. When first presented with the song, lead singer Shirley Owens (later known as Shirley Alston-Reeves) did not want to record it, because she thought it was "too country." She relented until after a string arrangement was added. In 1961, the song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. However, Owens recalled on Jim Parsons' syndicated oldies radio program, Shake Rattle Showtime, that some radio stations had banned the record because they had felt the lyrics were too sexually charged.
This version of the song, with session musician Gary Chester on drums, is currently ranked as the 110th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1960, by Acclaimed Music.
Bertell Dache, a black demo singer for the Brill Building songwriters, recorded an answer song entitled "Not just Tomorrow, But Always". It has been erroneously claimed by some historians that Dache was a pseudonym for Epic recording artist Tony Orlando. However, an ad for United Artists Records which appeared in Billboard during 1961 featured a photo of the singer which conclusively proved this to be false.
The Satintones, an early Motown group, also recorded an answer song called "Tomorrow and Always," which used the same melody as the original but initially neglected to credit King and Goffin. Following a threat of litigation, later pressings of the record included proper credit. The Satintones' versions are included in the box set "The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 1: 1959-1961."
Dusty Springfield included her version as a track on her 1964 album A Girl Called Dusty. Springfield also recorded a French-language version of the song called Demain tu peux changer. She also re-recorded the song in 1980, but this recording remains unissued.
Carla Thomas released a version on her 1965 album Comfort Me.
Len Barry released a version on his 1965 album 1-2-3.
Lesley Gore covered the song on her 1966 Sings All About Love album.
Elton John sang it at the Prince's Trust benefit concert in 1987. It was the first song he performed publicly after having undergone vocal cord surgery at the beginning of that same year. Elton John's version of the song has not officially been released.
Joseph Leo Bwarie recorded a jazz version the song, which is on his 2011 album "Nothin' But Love"
U2 played a snippet of the song in Denver at their U2 360 Tour concert on May 21, 2011, in Winnipeg at their 360 concert on May 29, 2011, in Montreal at their 360 concert on July 8, 2011, in Seattle, Washington on June 4, 2011, and in Miami, Florida at their 360 concert on June 29, 2011. The song led into U2's live favorite "Where The Streets Have No Name".