The Original Vs. The Cover – “New York Groove”

For this month’s version of The Original Vs. The Cover, we are tackling the 70’s hit, “New York Groove” that was made famous by Ace Frehley on his solo album in 1978.  However, the song was originally performed by the Glam band Hello back in 1974.  The song was written by Russ Ballard and if you don’t know Russ, he was in the band Argent, went solo, and was a songwriter who has worked with America, Roger Daltrey, Peter Criss, and Frehley’s Comet to name a few.

The Hello song did pretty well in the UK hitting #9 and #7 in Germany.  Ace’s version was the highest charting song of any of the Kiss Solo albums where it peaked at #13 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Russ Ballard wrote the phrase “back in the New York Groove” while on a plane headed to New York where he hadn’t been in a long while.  So, that became the theme of the song and eventually he would finish the song.

HELLO

Hello connected with Russ while he was in the UK and the band’s manager had reached out to Russ asking if he had any songs the band could use and boom, you get “New York Groove”.

Hello’s version opens with a hand clap sound (maybe a stomping/clapping sound), a harmonica riff and a great drum beat.  Right before the chorus, there is nice little guitar riff and speaking of chorus, the way they emphasized the word “Groove” in New York Groove was unusual and made it stand out.  It definitely has that 70’s feel to it and Bob Bradbury does a great job with the vocals.  It is actually a very fun song and I can see why they had a minor hit with it.

ACE FREHLEY

Ace knew Russ from when Kiss opened for Argent back in the day and has worked with Russ numerous times.  For Ace, this is a personal Anthem since he is from New York and he helped perpetuate the myth that he wrote the song even though we know he didn’t.

Ace’s version has some differences.  The hand-clapping sound of the original was more of a foot-stomping sound and the harmonica riff was replaced by guitar…well duh.  Ace didn’t overemphasize the “Groove” line, and I think I miss that fact.

The song was about 15-20 seconds longer than the original with more repetitiveness of the chorus.  With surprisingly no guitar solo like you would expect with Ace, the song kept relatively close to the original.

THE VERDICT

I am actually surprised with my verdict on this one.  Hand’s down I would say I like Ace’s better, but honestly, I hadn’t heard Hello’s version before I did this post.  I have to admit I like their version better.  Hello’s version wasn’t as repetitive and felt a little a more rocking.  The guitar sound was a little better (yes, I said the guitar sound was better) and that emphasis on “groove” was way more enjoyable for me.  So, Hello wins this one!!

Let me know which version you like the best and why.  Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me I am an idiot and can no longer be an Ace or Kiss fan.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

“New York Groove”
(originally by Hello)

Many years since I was here
On the street I was passin’ my time away
To the left and to the right, buildings towering to the sky
It’s outta sight in the dead of night(Ooh) Here I am, and in this city
(Ooh) With a fistful of dollars
And baby, you’d better believeI’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
Back in the New York Groove, in the New York GrooveIn the back of my Cadillac
A wicked lady, sittin’ by my side, sayin’ “Where are we?”
Stop at Third and Forty-three, exit to the night
It’s gonna be ecstacy, this place was meant for me(Ooh) I feel so good tonight
(Ooh) Who cares about tomorrow
So baby, you’d better believe

I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
Back in the New York Groove, in the New York Groove

I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove

I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove

I’m back, back in the New York Groove
I’m back, back in the New York Groove

Written by Russ Ballard

8 thoughts on “The Original Vs. The Cover – “New York Groove”

    1. I’m with Mikey on this! I think its just that Ace’s album is so good that even the cover song is decent!
      Hello’s version is quite good…1537 said ragged thats pretty good …
      Both good versions…

      Like

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