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.
Jason Mraz performed this song on “Listen To Bob Dylan: a Tribute”. Another slightly different take done in the Mraz style. Nicely done.
And of course the original.
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.
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.
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.
Third, we have the man, Neil Diamond. he sings his song live in 2008. Nicely done Neil.
And last, the original.
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.
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.
And a last entry, a live version, with Lou Reed fronting Metallica. A very different version.
Metallica with Lou Reed
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.
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.
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.
I am trying to create an official award logo for this series. I am having a blast finding these, then finding the videos to go with the answers. Having said that, I don’t want to wear out the fun so will be changing up a bit on the presentation. How?? I have no flipping idea. I’m sure I’ll have an epiphany at some point.
Anyway on to the answers and a new question.
The previous question was:
First the cover version. I kind of shudder when I hear this song as all I can think of is hair, lots of hair, and really goofy pants.
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
And now the winner. Rebecca2000 guessed correctly that it was Gloria Jones. She receives 17 bajillion points cause she is new to the blog and I kind of like her. I will be emailing you the prize catalogue from which you can choose to spend your points. You need only pay shipping and handling.
No one guessed that it was written by Ed Cobb so no bonus points awarded.
Gloria Jones – The Original
And now a new question for you to ponder. This question is very subjective, and there might be more than one right answer. Who is (or might be) the most disgusting act in music today. This one is for no points and no prizes, just curious to see if you find anything more ridiculous than the one I have chosen.
- Song of the day: Gloria Jones – Tainted Love (thefword.org.uk)