The Original Vs. The Cover Vs. The Cover – “Hanging On The Telephone”

For this edition of The Original vs. The Cover, we are discussing the song “Hanging on the Telephone” originally performed by the band The Nerves. We are going to do two different covers with the first and most famous being that from Blondie and the other cover is from Def Leppard. The song was written by Jack Lee of the band The Nerves back in the 1976 and was released on their debut E.P. The song never charted and the band was short lived as they didn’t do much after that.

Blondie heard the song while sitting in a taxi in Japan. The song was given to them by Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the band The Gun Club and they popped in to listen to while in that cab. They really liked it and decided to record it. Blondie reached out to Jake Lee for permission to record it and since Jake was facing financial ruin it was a very easy decision. The answer was yes and Jake made a little money that was much needed.

The song is about a man that sounds quite obsessed with the woman he is or was seeing. He keeps calling her and calling her and calling her so he can hear her voice again. The woman’s mother says she can’t see him any more it sounds like and that seems to make him quite angry and he won’t stop trying to get in touch with her. Very stalkerish if you ask me. I think someone might need a restraining order in place. Still no denying it is a fun song.

THE NERVES:

Continue reading “The Original Vs. The Cover Vs. The Cover – “Hanging On The Telephone””

The Original vs. The Cover – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”

For this episode of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to battle it out with the song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. The original was done by the band Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes which has Teddy Pendergrass on lead vocals and The Cover is done by the band Simply Red. Both artist did really well with the song as Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes took the song all the way to #3 on the Billboard Charts in 1972 and Simple Red went all the way to #1 in 1989.

The song itself was written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. They were a pretty mighty songwriting team with over 175 Gold and Platinum records between them. The song is a result of marital problems and those problems allowed them to touch in to a very heartfelt sentiment. They believed that if their spouse didn’t know them by now, they never would. Those marital problems certainly created an amazing song.

HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES:

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes didn’t actually play any of the instruments and only sang, but that don’t matter. The session musicians were incredible. The rhythm section of the song was incredible as they laid down a smooth groove and vibe. You had Earl Young on drums and Ronnie Baker on bass and both were stellar. The song was filled with a piano backing by the songwriter Leon Huff and a string orchestration from Don Renaldo. The tempo was slow, sultry and a little sexy. The song feels larger than life.

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now””

The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Last Kiss”

For this month’s version of The Original vs. The Cover, we have a triple bill of the song “Last Kiss”. We have the original which was written and performed by Wayne Cochran down at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA back in 1961. The 45’s were printed in Vidalia, GA…you know the town that gives you Vidalia Onions. I’ve been to that town, there isn’t a whole lot there but Onions, but that is another story. The first cover is by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers which was released in June 1964 and went to #2 on the Billboard Charts. The final version we will discuss is the one by Pearl Jam which was released on June 8, 1999 and reached #2 on the Billboard Charts as well. Three great versions. Yes, I know there are a bunch of covers of this song, but I settled on these three versions.

The song is said to be written by Wayne Cochran as well as Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal and Bobby McGlon but the later three were never officially credited on any of the releases. All four performed on the song. Speaking of the song, this is a song about a tragic car crash which seemed to be a big thing to do back in the day. Instead of trying to recap the story in my words, let me post what wikipedia says…

The narrator borrows his father’s car to take his girlfriend out on a date, and comes upon a stalled car in the road. Unable to stop, the narrator swerves to the right to avoid it, losing control and crashing violently in the process, knocking him and his girlfriend unconscious. The narrator later regains consciousness in the midst of a rainstorm, and finds several people at the scene of the accident. While partially blinded by the blood flowing from his injuries, the narrator is able to find his girlfriend, still lying unconscious. When he cradles his girlfriend lovingly in his arms, she regains partial consciousness, smiling and asking the narrator to “hold me, darling, for a little while.” The narrator then gives her the titular “last kiss” as she fades into death and enters the afterlife.

The song has been said to be a true story of Jeanette Clark and J.L. Hancock, who were both 16 years old when their car hit a tractor-trailer on a road in rural Barnesville, Georgia Here’s the thing. That accident occurred in 1962 and the song was written and recorded in 1961 so kind of hard to believe that theory. Okay, enough of that, let’s get to the song.

WAYNE COCHRAN

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Last Kiss””

The Original Vs. The Cover – “I Want Candy”

For this month’s post on The Original Vs. The Cover, we are going to cover the song “I Want Candy” originally done by The Strangeloves and later covered by Bow Wow Wow. The song was written by Bert Berns, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer in 1965 and three of the writers decided to release the song themselves and became known as The Strangeloves.

The Strangeloves were really Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer. However, as The Strangeloves, they said they were sheep farmers from Australia named Giles, Miles and Niles Strange who became filthy rich by cross-breeding sheep. They even wore wigs and unusual clothing when being these three outrageous personalities. At least they never took themselves too seriously…I mean how could you.

The song is believed to be about a dancer named Candy Johnson who the guys saw dancing at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, but I don’t know if that has ever been confirmed. The band was originally going to record the song “Bo Didley” but wanted to make the song their own so they re-worked the lyrics and changed things up enough, but you can still hear the main beat to that song in the final product. Lyrically, the song is supposedly based of the 1958 book Candy by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg which is about naive young girl who has a many encounters with much older men.

THE STRANGELOVES

Continue reading “The Original Vs. The Cover – “I Want Candy””

The Original vs. The Cover – “Heroin”

For this episode of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to talk about the song “Heroin” by the band The Velvet Underground. The song is off their 1967 debut album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico” which I reviewed a few weeks back. The Cover version we will be bouncing up against the Original is by Billy Idol off his 1993 album ‘Cyberpunk’ which I have also reviewed on this site.

The song was written by Lou Reed and produced by Andy Warhol. That combination has to produce something interesting. And I am sure this is a shocker, but the song is about drug use. I know, I know, stunned right? According to Reed when he was working as a songwriter for a record company, the song was written when he was told to go in to a room and write some some surfing songs, well this is what came out. I think he missed the point and thankfully for us, he did. The song doesn’t condone or condemn drug use and seems to be about the effects of drug use. Whatever the meaning, the song works on so many levels.

We will go through each song and then at the end, I will tell you who I think has the better song…and it isn’t always the original which is why I like doing these posts. So sit back and enjoy.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “Heroin””

The Original vs. The Cover – “Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room”

For this episdoe of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss the anthem for the outcast, “Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room. The Original is by the band Brownsville Station who were a regional band out of Michigan and this was probably their biggest hit and was off their 1973 album ‘Yeah!’ (I wonder if this title inspired the title to Def Leppard’s Cover’s album. Hmmm). It reached #3 on the Billboard Charts. The Cover as done by Motley Crue was off their album ‘Theatre of Pain’ from 1985. Crue only took the song to #16 on the Billboard Chart, but MTV played the crap out of this song.

The song was written by Michael “Cub” Koda along with Michael Lutz and is about a bunch of outcast school kids who would hideout in the bathroom to not get caught by the principal for smokin’. They get caught and the principal tells them “Smokin’ Ain’t Allowed in School”. The song was inspired by Cub’s experiences as a young pup sneaking smokes that he stole from his parents at the movie theatre.

Whose version is better you might ask yourself so let us explore each song and find out which version is best.

BROWNSVILLE STATION

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room””

The Original vs. The Cover – “I Shot the Sheriff”

For this time around on The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss the classic song, “I Shot The Sheriff”. The original was by Bob Marley & the Wailers and the cover was by Eric Clapton. Two heavy hitting artists this time around, but which one will come out on top? The song was written by Bob Marley and released back in 1973 on the album ‘Burnin”. Eric released his cover only a year later in 1974 on his album 461 Ocean Boulevard. Marley’s version didn’t chart, but Clapton went all the way to #1 on the U.S. Charts.

The song is supposedly about a man who is harassed by the sheriff and he ends up shooting the officer, but claims it was really self-defense. According to Marly only parts of the song are true, but we don’t which ones. Now in 2012, Bob Marley’s old girlfriend, Esther Anderson, claims the song was about how Marley was opposed to her using birth control. She claimed if you switch the word sheriff with doctor on the 2nd verse, it would make sense. I have to say, I am not sure I believe her, but an interesting twist anyway.

Now, sit back and let’s discuss each song and pick a winner.

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “I Shot the Sheriff””

The Original vs. The Cover – “Heroes”

Welcome back to The Original vs. The Cover. We are now going to look at the classic David Bowie song “Heroes” that was recorded by Bowie back in 1977 during his Berlin era. The cover song we are battling against is The Wallflowers’ version they recorded for the movie “Godzilla” back in 1998. Two powerhouse performances going up against each other and which one will win? We will see.

The song was written by David Bowie and Brian Eno and was inspired by Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti as he embraced his lover as they were standing next to the Berlin Wall. The song is about two lovers coming together when one was from the East side of the Wall and the other from the West. They will let nothing stop them from being together, not even the Berlin Wall. It is a beautiful sentiment. Now the song was released in 1977 and the song did fairly well going to #12 in the UK and was platinum status in the UK as well. It didn’t really do much in the States, but I still remember hearing the song. It has made many lists as one of the greatest songs of all time (which doesn’t bode well for The Wallflowers, but we will see.

DAVID BOWIE

David’s version was inspired musically by The Velvet Underground’s song “I’m Waiting for the Man” as the tempo and rhythm of the song plod along in the same fashion. The song and a lot of David’s music from the Berlin Era is very experimental. The drums, the keyboards and the guitars are arranged to be a little noisy in an anthemic sense to give it a rich, full texture, but the coolest part of the song is how they recorded the vocals.

The vocals are done in what is known as gating. Three microphones were placed at different intervals from David. The first at 9 inches from David, the second at 20 feet and the third at 50 feet. As David sang each verse, a different microphone would be used and as each verse came, the first microphone would be shut off and the second opened. As he sang each verse he had to sing louder and with more energy giving the song the effect it as if each verse was more important and sung more powerful as the song builds and builds. It makes David’s vocal so effective in their delivery in bringing emotion and power to the song. I have to say it is quite brilliant.

THE WALLFLOWERS

David’s song is one of his most covered songs, but I think the most famous is probably done by The Wallflowers. The band kept that same plodding pace, but the sound of the instruments is brought to the 90’s and modernized with a fuller band sound and a I think the drums and guitar are even more robust sounding then the original. They seem more alive and gives the song a more rock sound.

On the vocals, Jakob Dylan doesn’t use the same technique as David, but he is able to project his voice with each verse driving the song to be more powerful and emotional as it went on. Jakob and the band didn’t really change much on the song as they understood the importance and gravity of the song and were able to capture that feeling and yet I felt they made the song their own and make it sound like a Wallflowers’ song.

THE VERDICT

I have to admit they are both fantastic versions of the songs. As much as I love the musical stylings of The Wallflowers and Jakob Dylan’s vocals, there is no denying David Bowie’s legendary vocals. David Bowie is my choice of the winner for the best version of this song. I mean, it is David Bowie no less. He is a legend for a reason. Plus the pain staking efforts they went through to get the sound they wanted alone makes this song the best version. David Bowie, Brian Eno and Tony Visconti brought us one of the greatest songs of all time so naturally it is my pick. Now, if you like The Wallflowers version, I can see why you’d pick it as it is great in its own right.

I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs.  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 how right or wrong I am on this one.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

LYRICS:

“”Heroes””

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be Heroes, just for one day

And you, you can be mean
And I, I’ll drink all the time
‘Cause we’re lovers, and that is a fact
Yes we’re lovers, and that is that
Though nothing will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be Heroes, for ever and ever
What d’you say?

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be Heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes, just for one day

We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be Heroes

We’re nothing, and nothing will help us
Maybe we’re lying, then you better not stay
But we could be safer, just for one day

Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh
Just for one day

Written by David Bowie and Brian Eno

The Original vs. The Cover – ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’

For this month’s version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to cover one of the greatest songs of all time, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. No, I’m not being bold in saying that as the song has actually been voted as #2 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list and is in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The Cover we are going to look at is not the Britney Spears cover because, well, we have taste. That was harsh, it is really because there is no way it would have a chance to win. The cover we will actually discuss is the one by Devo from 1978 which I probably knew first thanks to MTV.

The song was written by the legendary duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It is said that Keith wrote the music in his sleep and they have a tape that proves it. You get two minutes of guitar and 40 minutes of him snoring…pretty awesome. Jagger wrote the lyrics sitting poolside down in Clearwater, Florida. The song was extremely controversial for its day because the song spoke out against commercialism as well as rather sexually suggestive. In fact, in the UK, the song was only played on Pirate Radio due to that controversy. Eventually it made it to #1 in the UK and in the US (where it was less controversial.

THE ROLLING STONES

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’”

The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Hide Your Heart”

For this version of the The Original Vs The Cover we have yet another threepeat with the song “Hide Your Heart” which was original performed by Bonnie Tyler, then Kiss and then Ace Frehley all within a couple years. The song was written by Paul Stanley of Kiss along with the great Desmond Child and Holly Knight. The song was originally written for the Kiss album ‘Crazy Nights’ but didn’t make the cut so Paul shopped it around and Bonnie Tyler wound up with it. Kiss then put it on their next album and the same month, Ace Frehley, formerly of Kiss, did the song for his album ‘Trouble Walkin’.

After the success Desmond Child had with “Livin’ On a Prayer’ with Bon Jovi, Paul Stanley wanted to write a song in that same vein. Instead of Tommy and Gina, we get a cheap knock-off version of Johnny and Rosa. The problem with their relationship wasn’t the hardships of life, but that Rosa had a boyfriend named Tito who sounds like a gang leader in the shady part of town. Already, we know Rosa has bad taste in men. The story doesn’t end well like Tommy and Gina did. Basically this was a poor man’s version of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and the storyline sucked and was a total rip-off. It was too formulaic and Kiss was trying to chase trends at the time instead of being a leader and this was a perfect example of the trash that came out as a result. I guess it is pretty obvious I hate this song so why I am writing about it? Because I need to get it off my chest that I hate this song…I really don’t like it.

The song was never a big hit for any of the artist as it never cracked the Top 40. Even more proof of how bad this song really is. Enough about my distaste for the song, let’s get to the performances so I can get this over with and put out of my misery (ha!).

BONNIE TYLER

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Hide Your Heart””