Category Archives: Classic Rock

Interesting Covers – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall


Cover of "Freewheelin'"

Cover of Freewheelin’

Three very different takes on this classic.  The original was written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and appears on his second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan“.  It was first performed by Dylan at Carnegie Hall in 1962.  Over the years it has been recorded many times by a wide and varied array of talent.  Dylan himself has redone the song several times, most recently in 2007.  I have touched on this diversity with what I believe are some pretty different versions, and finished off with the original.

First up, a version by Roxy Music‘s Bryan Ferry.  As expected, it is different.  He recorded it in 1973 on “These Foolish Things” where he did a raft of covers.

Bryan Ferry

Jason Mraz performed this song on “Listen To Bob Dylan: a Tribute”.  Another slightly different take done in the Mraz style.  Nicely done.

Jason Mraz

And of course the original.

Bob Dylan

 

Canada’s Best Music – 5 Songs At A Time – Part 32


We move up to number 345 in this edition of Canada’s Best Music.  We have another entry from the Spoons, some classic rock, some new rock from Billy talent and a song from a Canadian staple known as The Tragically Hip, who are, well, hip.  Nice set if you like rock.

345. Spoons

“Those Old Emotions”

Romantic Traffic

Romantic Traffic (Photo credit: stevec77)

The Spoons were in my last post, Part 31.  An 80’s hairband, they had several hits back in the day, including this one in 1983.  Not a great video, but, hey, pretty lucky to find it at all, I’d say.

344. The Watchmen

“Boneyard Tree”

In the Trees

In the Trees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Winnipeg band, The Watchmen had a string of hits in the mid 90’s, including this song off their 1994 album “In the Trees”.  Very good band in their time.

343. Billy Talent

“Turn Your Back”

Billy Talent

Billy Talent (Photo credit: NRK P3)

Billy Talent has been around since the early 90’s (known as the Pezz until 1999), but struck it big over the last couple of years, earning a deserved world-wide following.  Turn Your Back is from Billy Talent III, released in 2009.  They have been nominated for Junos every year since 2004, winning 7 times.  The video is a live version.  Great rocker voice.

342. 5440

“Baby Have Some Faith”

The Canadian band 54-40; from left to right: D...

The Canadian band 54-40; from left to right: Dave Genn, Neil Osborne & Brad Merritt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5440 has been rocking Canadians since the 1980’s, releasing albums as recently as 2011.  One of my favourite bands at one point.  Still enjoy hearing them.

341. The Tragically Hip

“Three Pistols”

English: The Tragically Hip performing in Aspe...

English: The Tragically Hip performing in Aspen, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A legend to many Canadians, The Hip consistently release quality material, time after time.  This tune was released in 1991 on their Road Apples album.  Great song.

Interesting Covers – “Hound Dog”


Big Mama Thornton circa 1955-1960

Big Mama Thornton circa 1955-1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Interesting covers goes old-time.  Today we look at a milestone song “Hound Dog“.  It was written by the legendary team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1952 after meeting and hearing Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton.  The meeting had been arranged by Johnny Otis.  They were 19 at the time, unbelievable.  Big Mama Thornton was the first to record it (August 1952) and released it in February 1953.  It was her only hit, but the song, well that’s a different story altogether.  It has been covered over 85 times and charted on several of those incarnations, although none had the success of either Big mama’s or Elvis Presley’s versions.  The Elvis version is obviously the best known and placed at 19 on Rolling Stones Top 500 of all time, not to mention being in the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.  Who has covered it you ask?  A veritable who’s who of music and reflecting a wide diversity of style.  Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Boone, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Conway Twitty, Eric Clapton, James Taylor and Frank Zappa.  Crazy!  We will dispense with the poll on this, seems the work involved is not worth the 1 vote each time hahaha.  We’ll start with Big Mama, move through a couple of others and finish up with Elvis.  Enjoy!

 

The Big Mama version is very much R&B and a lot less frenetic than the more familiar Elvis effort.  I like the voice and her control of the song.  The instrumentation is subtly performed by some very good musicians.  A great song done like this.

 

 

This version is by one of my favourites, John Lennon.  Unfortunately, the song is not up to his standards, ruined by some “singing?” by Yoko doing her best imitations of a dog.  Kind of funny to listen to and watch.  Some good playing though.

 

 

Here is the Jimi Hendrix version, unmistakably his.

 

 

And of course, Elvis.

 

 

Interesting Covers – “I’m A Believer”


Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m A Believer is a song penned by Neil Diamond and made a forever signature classic by The Monkees way back in 1966.  The song went gold in 2 days, hitting number 1 in December 1966 and was the biggest selling single of 1967.  It is also one of only 40 songs to sell 10 million physical copies (source:Wikipedia).  Amazing numbers for so long ago.  Needless to say that success bred many attempts at duplication, of which I will note four.  Don’t forget to vote for the one you like best.

First we have British singer Robert Wyatt who made it a UK hit in 1974.  The band he was with had some power with Andy Summers (Police) on guitar and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) on drums.  The video is a live performance on Tops Of The Pops and was his first appearance after an accident left him a paraplegic.

Robert Wyatt

Next up we have my favourite version by Smash Mouth.  Why you say?  Simple, Shrek is one of my all time favourite movies. Eddie Murphy is also featured on the tune, recorded in 2001.

Smash Mouth

Third, we have the man, Neil Diamond.  he sings his song live in 2008.  Nicely done Neil.

Neil Diamond

And last, the original.

The Monkees

Interesting Covers – “Sweet Jane”


From left: Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwr...

From left: Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins, mandolin-player Jeff Bird, and singer, Margo Timmins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sweet Jane is a classic Velvet Underground tune, first released in 1970 on their “Loaded” album.  Lou Reed wrote the song, and his lyrics are powerful, not mention the arrangement.  As I morph this series, I am thing a poll is just screaming to be added to the mix, so I will.  Rules are simple.  I will add the songs, then ask you to decide which is your fave.  Simple?  This works well for this choice as there are many covers out there.  Let’s start with the original, then move on from there.

Velvet Underground

Next up, let’s go with Mott the Hoople.  This was the first cover, 1972, and was released on their “All The Young Dudes” album.  The band featured the great Ian Hunter on vocals, and is a true copy, with little change in the arrangement.

Mott The Hoople

Next up is a version by Canadian alt-country band, “Cowboy Junkies“.  They released the tune as a single in 1988.  It was used on the soundtrack for “Natural Born Killers“.  A slower version, and the vocals of Margo Timmins are great.  The song is slowed up with great effect.  My favourite version.

Cowboy Junkies

And a last entry, a live version, with Lou Reed fronting Metallica.  A very different version.

Metallica with Lou Reed

Interesting Covers – “Dear Prudence”


Decided to change the name to “Interesting” from “Unusual”.  I’d say that a lot of covers are more interesting than strange.  My first post on this involved Jackie Wilson doing the Doors “Light My Fire”.  Not really unusual, although a soul icon doing what became a rock classic was somewhat strange, it was truly much more interesting.

Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we are going to take a look at something that is definitely interesting, and maybe a bit unusual as well.  Siouxsie and the Banshees were a 70’s punk band that expanded into a more adventuresome style of music.  Some would call it post-punk, others might say glam.  Personally, I never got into them very much.  I did find it kind of cool that they did a cover of one of my favourite Beatles tunes, “Dear Prudence”.  I have been a John Lennon fan since the early days of my musical odyssey, and many of his songs could be classified as soundtrack of my life.  Dear Prudence was on the Beatles Whit Album, released in 1968 and tells the tale of Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence.  She was studying with the  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the same time as Lennon, and he wrote the song to encourage to come out and socialize as she had turned into a bit of a recluse.  ( I pretend to be an informative blog haha.).

Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded the song in 1983 and released it as a single.  It became one of their biggest hits.  Without further adieu, “Dear Prudence”.

And of course, the original.

Unusual Cover Versions – “Light My Fire”


I Get the Sweetest Feeling

I Get the Sweetest Feeling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Playing with YouTube this morning and got inspired to note some, what some may think, unusual covers of some great songs.  To qualify as an unusual cover, it must be a reasonably famous original redone by reasonably famous act.  My first attempt into the world of unusual covers is one done by soul great, Jackie Wilson.  Jackie has a resounding resume of hits, dating back to the 1950’s.  He died in 1984, leaving a legacy that included such hits as Lonely Teardrops and Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.  He also left us this cover of The Doors classic, Light My Fire.  He recorded it in 1969.  Check it out.

And for comparison, here is the Doors performing the song live on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Remembering JJ Cale


English: J.J. Cale playing the blues

English: J.J. Cale playing the blues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Nothing to say.  Great artist. JJ Cale passes away on July 26.

 

 

 

 

Random Songs From My Phone – Stevie Ray Vaughn – Little Wing


English: Stevie Ray Vaughan Photograph © Scott...

English: Stevie Ray Vaughan Photograph © Scott Newton Weselex Depository Rights Reserved. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good evening all.  Lots happened in the last month, and I’ll expand on that all over the next few days.  In the meantime, I just needed to drop in and let you know I am still kicking.  That trip to Alaska in a short while is going to be very therapeutic.  My song of the day is a random shuffle off my phone and boy, did I hit  it big time.  Love this song  Little Wing, the classic Hendrix tune as interpreted by one the great Texas blues-men of all time, Stevie ray Vaughn.  As an added bonus, I have added a Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer renditions of the tune. Enjoy, and we shall talk soon.

Stevie Ray Vaughn‘s cover

John Mayer’s cover

And the original

Canada’s Best Music – 5 Songs At A Time – Part 31


Today’s list makes a change.  Time to go to a countdown.  Only 350 songs to go. The play-list includes both classic rock and a classic player.  Yes, the great one, Neil Young, makes another appearance here.  It also includes Skinny Puppy, which is a new one on me.

346. Skinny Puppy

“Pro-Test Song”

Skinny Puppy live!

Skinny Puppy live! (Photo credit: Bernt Rostad)

Skinny Puppy was a Vancouver based electronic band, formed in 1982.  They have recorded 15 albums, including a new one “Weapon” this year.

347. Spoons

“Romantic Traffic”

Romantic Traffic

Romantic Traffic (Photo credit: stevec77)

The band, Spoons, hail out of Burlington and were your prototypical 80’s synth-pop hair band that were everywhere back then.  This song was one of their bigger hits and was recorded in 1984, only hitting 55 on the Canadian Billboard chart.

348. Trooper

“Two for the Show”

Trooper have played since 1965.  I have seen them on two occasions.  Once sitting in the front row at a bar in Winnipeg way back in the day, the second, about 10 years ago at the Brier (Canada’s Men’s Curling Championship) in Saskatoon.  Don’t really remember either performance that well.  This song was recorded in 1976.

349. Corey Hart

“Never Surrender”

Singles (Corey Hart album)

Singles (Corey Hart album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corey Hart was never my favourite, other than “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night” which was kind of cool. To me, he epitomized pretty much everything that I didn’t like about 80’s music.  I am sure there will be some disagreement on that, or maybe not.

350. Neil Young

“Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

English: Neil Young in Ruisrock Festival, Turk...

English: Neil Young in Ruisrock Festival, Turku, Finland 1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And now, The Master.  Enjoy!!  As an added bonus, live at the Fillmore East with Crosby Stills & Nash.

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