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Covers you've not heard the original of
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TOPIC: Covers you've not heard the original of

posted 13-11-2012 15:24
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.
posted 13-11-2012 15:27
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.
  • hobbes
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posted 13-11-2012 16:22
Seriously? Paul & Barry Ryan's original seems to earn more radio retreads than The Damned's rather by-numbers rendition.


Womblian wrongness there. The Ryans' version is pedestrian and plodding. The Damned's version is a soaring eagle of bombast and melodrama. No comparison, Vanian wins.

(Although Tino Cassel's version is hilariously good.)
Last Edit: 13-11-2012 16:26:26 by hobbes.
posted 13-11-2012 17:14
hobbes wrote:
Seriously? Paul & Barry Ryan's original seems to earn more radio retreads than The Damned's rather by-numbers rendition.


Womblian wrongness there. The Ryans' version is pedestrian and plodding. The Damned's version is a soaring eagle of bombast and melodrama. No comparison, Vanian wins.


And I'll add that living in the midwest in the late 80's there wasn't any chance of me ever hearing EITHER version or any song by either artist on quickly-everything-turning-corporate yankee radio.
  • Andy C
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posted 13-11-2012 17:39
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.
posted 13-11-2012 19:52
The original version of Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine was recorded by George Formby.
  • willie1foot
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posted 13-11-2012 20:09
[quote="hobbes" post=731920]
The Ryans' version is pedestrian and plodding. The Damned's version is a soaring eagle of bombast and melodrama. No comparison, Vanian wins.

You're 'aving a larf arntcha? Great rendition of a great song....
Last Edit: 13-11-2012 20:09:36 by willie1foot.
posted 13-11-2012 21:40
[quote="willie1foot" post=731971]hobbes wrote:
The Ryans' version is pedestrian and plodding. The Damned's version is a soaring eagle of bombast and melodrama. No comparison, Vanian wins.

You're 'aving a larf arntcha? Great rendition of a great song....


Wow - the film is far wilder than the recorded song. Kaleidoscope & fish-eye lens, white horses, very trippy stuff. I'll still take Vanian and The Damned.
posted 14-11-2012 00:34
Tainted Love by Soft Cell wins this for me.
  • alyxandr
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posted 14-11-2012 00:41
By who?
  • Sam
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posted 14-11-2012 04:13
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.
  • Sam
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posted 14-11-2012 04:41
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.
posted 14-11-2012 06:19
It has indeed been rectified, Sam.
  • Jah Womble
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posted 14-11-2012 09:39
Womblian wrongness there. The Ryans' version is pedestrian and plodding. The Damned's version is a soaring eagle of bombast and melodrama. No comparison, Vanian wins.

Nah, not having that. The Ryans' original was how the song was intended, all kitchen-sinky and brooding, then melodramatic. The Damned's versh was far too obvious.

Whoever it was upthread that said their cover of 'Alone Again Or' was better calls it right. And even that wasn't amazing. The Damned were way better doing their own thing than rehashing.

The Osmonds' "Love Me For A Reason"? Written and first recorded by Johnny Bristol.

It was from his Hang On in There Baby album (1974), the title track of which concurrently sat in the UK Top Five while The Osmonds were at number one with 'LMFAR'.
Last Edit: 14-11-2012 09:48:32 by Jah Womble.
posted 14-11-2012 09:57
Greenlander wrote:
Tainted Love by Soft Cell wins this for me.

I think Almond (at least) was a Northern Soul regular, when he heard the Gloria Jones version of Tainted Love. Soft Cell also covered What by Judy Street, which was another NS favourite.
  • tee rex
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posted 14-11-2012 11:04
A slight tangent is hearing famous songs for the first time in ways that you probably shouldn't.

Childhood examples would include "Wild Thing" (Goodies), "Yellow Submarine" (Pinky and Perky), and - a bit later - "Strange Fruit" (on UB40's first album).

[edit - just realized that I mean not just hearing, but "owning", which is even worse]
Last Edit: 14-11-2012 11:06:19 by tee rex. Reason: a confession
  • RobM
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posted 14-11-2012 12:17
Them old Top of the Pops albums are surely fertile ground here tr - my dad had a few of them so that would be how I first heard many seventies songs.

I had a Pinky & Perky album when I was younger as well, can't remember what was on it though. The Wombles were certainly a pretty bizarre entry route into Chris Spedding's work.
posted 14-11-2012 20:14
I still haven't heard Dylan's version of A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall - rightly or wrongly I still associate this with Bryan Ferry.
posted 14-11-2012 20:58
Sits With Remote wrote:
An obvious nominee for this thread would be All Along the Watchtower.

I spent years thinking it was written and recorded by XTC.
  • multipleman78
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posted 15-11-2012 23:30
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?
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