There are some very unexpected original artists of classic songs.
"When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" by Sam & Dave? First done by country star Charlie Rich (who at the time fancied himself something of a soul singer).
"Just Walkin' In The Rain" by poor old Johnny Ray? Writen and first recorded on Sun by The Prisonaires, inmates of a Tennessee jail.
Rod Stewart's pop dirge "Some Guys Have All The Luck"? First done by soul group The Persuaders (who also did the original of The Pretenders' "Thin Line Between Love And Hate").
Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train To Georgia"? It was first a country song by American footballer Jim Weatherley, who wrote the thing as "Midnight Plane to Houston". It became a train going to Georgia when Cissy Houston covered it.
Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue"? Written and first recoerded by Shel Silverstein (and if you don't know it, seek out his answer record, "Father Of A Boy Named Sue". Breathtaking!)
Shakin' Stevens and Rosemary Clooney's "This Ole House"? Written by country singer Stuart Hamblen (google him; very interesting life story).
Joe Cocker's note-murdering "You Are So Beautiful"? First done by Billy Preston (who also released "My Sweet Lord" before George Harrison did; his version supports Harrison's contention that he ripped off "Oh Happy Day", not "He's So Fine").
The Osmonds' "Love Me For A Reason"? Written and first recorded by Johnny Bristol.
And on AdC's point about standards going through various incarnations... Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness" was a standard in the 1930s already. He copied it from Sam Cooke's live version off the At The Copa LP, trying to fuck it up because he didn't think he was worthy of covering Cooke; Redding didn't know that the song had been around since 1933, when Ruth Etting reorded the first version.
Cooke didn't know either, it seems. He included it in his set after hearing Aretha Franklin's 1962 version. And Aretha based her version on that of Little Miss Cornshucks in 1951, the first R&B treatment of the song.
Smokey Robinson was the first to record I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Gladys Knight's version - a significant hit for her - was released before Marvin Gaye's, although it had been recorded later than Gaye's.
Heh - 'Tainted Love' was the first song named on the
me-started thread G-Man mentions upthread
(although I hasten to add it was in the context of me saying my friends didn't know; I've been fully aware of the original for a good decade or so now).
Possibly the most amusing thing about reading that thread back now is being reminded of that glorious OTF period during which jv's space key wasn't working.
By the way G-Man, another thing in that thread I'd forgotten about was the 'you've never heard of Celia Cruz?!' amazement from myself and Jon. It's possible that this has been rectified since, but just in case...
The cover of 'Fever' I was thinking about was in fact by salsa singer La Lupe, not by Queen Celia.
Here it is
, if you didn't already manage to track it down.
up until a few days ago i thought Freak Me by Another Level was the original. Due to some early 90's music searching on youtube i found the original by a group called Silk. Never heard of them before and to be honest i think i enjoy the cover version more.
Whenever i know a song is a cover version though i can never rate it higher than the original. I may like the cover version more but no matter how much of an improvement you think it is, the cover requires the original to exist for it to exist so i cannot take it as better.
I love Sinead O'Connor singing Nothing Compares 2 U but once i found out it was a Prince tune my admiration dwindled somewhat. O'Connor's is still the best version to listen to but could she ever have come up with something so brilliant?