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

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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

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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

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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

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The Original vs. The Cover – “Valerie”

For this month’s version of The Original vs. The Cover we are going to discuss a song that was covered only a year after the original and a little more current.  We are talking about the song “Valerie” written by the band The Zutons in 2006 and then released by Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse and a third version was released by Amy Winehouse as a B-Side for her Back to Black album.  The song first appeared on the Zutons second album, ‘Tired of Hanging Around’, in 2006.

The song has been revealed to be about a young lady named Valerie Star who is a celebrity make-up artists.  She is friends with Zutons frontman Dave McCabe and he wrote this to her as a way to show her support when she got in to a little trouble for driving under the influence.  Apparently, the song took 20 minutes to write and he was inspired to write it in a cab ride on his way to his mom’s house.

The song for The Zutons hit #8 in Scotland and #9 in the UK, but never charted in the US.  The cover version with Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse hit #1 in the UK R&B Charts and #2 in the UK Charts so it was a little more successful. Amy’s solo version in 2008 hit only at #37 so it was the least popular, but is it the best version?  We will see.

THE ZUTONS

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The Zutons song is a light hearted indie pop sounding song. It is a fun, upbeat track with some great guitar tone to it. There is a little musical break with just a drum beat, hand claps and Dave on vocals that is a nice touch to the song to give it some variety. Dave’s vocals are little squeaky at times, but still very pleasant. It has a calming, sensitive feel to it like he really cares for Valerie and he wants he to come over and he’ll take care of her during her troubling times.

MARK RONSOON (FEATURING AMY WINEHOUSE)

Mark Ronson’s version of the song is more upbeat than The Zutons. The tempo is sped up and the production of the song is from the 1982 song called “Town Called Malice” by The Jam. There is a horn section and it is has a little blues, a lot of pop and a nice beat throughout. Amy’s vocals have the same old Amy sound, but not as jazzy as she can get and a lot more on the pop side. The song even has a little dance vibe to it.

AMY WINEHOUSE

Amy Winehouse’s solo version is nothing short of pure Amy. It was recorded Live at BBC Radio 1 in 2007. It is jazzier version with keyboards and a more acoustic feel. It has more heart and feeling and Amy’s voice is like no one else’s at that time and it sounds so classic. There is such a maturity to her vocals, she seems so seasoned like she has been through a lot and carries that weight in her vocals. A utter talent.

THE VERDICT

Picking a winner here is easy for me. Amy Winehouse’s solo version is tops for me. Not beating around the bush here. I really dug her vocals and when you put her in the jazz and blues setting she can’t be touched. The other songs are fun and more pop, but don’t have the heart her vocals bring. Now Dave McCabe of The Zutons hates the fact that Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse’s version were so popular because people tend to forget it was really his song. It truly bothers him. I am sure when that check comes, it bothers him a little less.

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.

“Valerie”

Well sometimes I go out by myself and I look across the water
And I think of all the things, what you’re doing and in my head I make a picture

‘Cos since I’ve come on home, well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair and the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over, stop making a fool out of me
Why won’t you come on over Valerie, Valerie?

Did you have to go to jail, put your house on up for sale, did you get a good lawyer?
I hope you didn’t catch a tan, I hope you find the right man who’ll fix it for you
Are you shopping anywhere, changed the colour of your hair, are you busy?
And did you have to pay the fine you were dodging all the time are you still dizzy?

Yeah

‘Cos since I’ve come on home, well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair and the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over, stop making a fool out of me
Why won’t you come on over Valerie, Valerie.Valerie,Valerie?

Well sometimes I go out by myself and I look across the water
And I think of all the things, what you’re doing and in my head I make a picture’

Cos since I’ve come on home, well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair and the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over, stop making a fool out of me
Why won’t you come on over Valerie, Valerie.Valerie,Valerie?

Yeah valerie

Written by Dave McCabe, Russell Pritchard, Sean Payne, Abi Harding, Paul Molloy and Boyan Chowdhury

The Original vs. The Cover – “Stop Your Sobbing”

This month’s The Original Vs. The Cover is tackling another Kink’s song.  I must be a glutton for punishment because the last time I did a Kink’s song, I was blasted by the Kink’s fans for not picking the Kink’s song.  Their fans are rabid, no doubt!!  Will I make the same mistake again…we will see shortly!

This month’s song is the Kink’s deep cut classic called “Stop Your Sobbing”.  The song is off the band’s 1964 debut album simple called “Kinks”. There are two stories about the song and it’s origin, but both similar.  The first is that Ray Davies’ girlfriend was so upset that they were becoming famous that she broke down in tears as she was worried she would lose him.  The second is that  Ray broke up with his girlfriend and she was so upset, she started crying and it pissed him off.  Either way, she lost him!!  I am sure those rabid Kinks fans will let me know the right story.

The Pretenders covered the song for their own debut album, ‘The Pretenders’, and had some decent success with it hitting the Top 40 in the UK, but only the Top 100 in the US.  The coolest thing to come out of the song was that singer, Chrissie Hynde got to meet Ray Davies as a result of them singing the song.  A budding relationship started between the two which actually led to a child.  I would say they both got a lot out of it.

Now, let’s get to the songs… Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “Stop Your Sobbing””

The Original vs. The Cover – “It’s My Life”

For this episode of ‘The Original vs. The Cover”, we are discussing the song “It’s My Life” by the band Talk Talk and the cover by No Doubt.  Both were big hits for the respective bands with Talk Talk’s version going to #31 on the Billboard Charts while the No Doubt version went as high as #10 and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal…they didn’t win.

“It’s My Life” came about due to Mark Hollis’ wanting to assert his independence from his record label and because he didn’t want to be swayed by the popular public opinion.  He wanted to do things his own way.  The song was his manifesto that it is his life and he will do what he wants to know, not what anyone tells him to do.  The song performed well enough in the states that it actually earned him enough freedom to do things his way going forward.  And I don’t remember them doing much else in the States after this.  How’d that work out for you Mark???

No Doubt was on a slight break as Gwen was recording here debut solo album, but they wanted to get some material out so they thought of putting out a greatest hits album.  They wanted to a new song on it, but didn’t want to take time to write a new song.  So they narrowed the prospects of 100’s of songs down to “It’s My Life” and the INXS song “Don’t Change”…we see which one won out or we wouldn’t be discussing this song right now would we.  Let’ get to the music.

TALK TALK

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Talk Talk’s song “It’s My Life” is a heavy synthesizer song as that is what type of music they played.  They were part of the New Wave of music that was going on in the early 80’s along with band’s like Duran Duran and other two name bands.  It is not a real happy, upbeat song.  It has a slow groove driven by a bass riff and electronic drum beats bathed in synth sounds including some synth horns. It is not meant to be a pure dance song as it is expressing a person’s independence.  It has a serious feel to the song, a warmth.

Mark Hollis doesn’t sing with gusto or scream out the lyrics, he sings with a darkness to his vocals.  His delivery is a little monotone at times and a little dreary, an almost dreamlike state as he spews his thoughts and feelings out about how this is his life and don’t you forget it.  It is an interesting delivery which evokes power and I think quite effective.

NO DOUBT

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No Doubt doesn’t change too much on the song.  The song still is a lot of electronic synths with just a more updated sound for the 21st Century.  It seems to be a little more uptempo.  The high pitched blips and beeps of the original are not here, but there is more cool electronic bass riff on occasion and the drum beats are so simple and yet just what the song needs.  They keep the darker feel to the song and it still has that serious vibe that they have something important to say.

Gwen’s vocal delivery is quite different, mainly as she is a woman, but she sings with a little more gusto, especially on the chorus.  She has an almost whiny, slight nasally sound to her vocals.  The is ‘no doubt’ that Gwen has the chops to turn the song in to a song that feels like it is No Doubt while being so true and honest to the original.

THE VERDICT

This was a tough choice as I’m really not a fan of either song.  I don’t own any Talk Talk album and as far as No Doubt, once I heard “Hellagood” and “Hey Baby”, there was nothing from them that would be remotely as good.  But since I picked this song to discuss, I will pick a best song of the two. I am going to go with Mark Hollis’ version with his band Talk Talk.  The reason is the song meant something to them.  It was a manifesto.  They wanted to do things their way and not be force fed instructions from a label.  No Doubt already had that so the heart wasn’t there.  So Talk Talk and the Original win out this go round.

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.

“It’s My Life”

Funny how I find myself in love with you
If I could buy my reasoning I’d pay to lose
One half won’t do
I’ve asked myself, how much do you
Commit yourself

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
It’s my life
It never ends (it never ends)

Funny how I blind myself, I never knew
If I was sometimes played upon, afraid to lose
I’d tell myself, what good do you do
Convince myself

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
It’s my life
It never ends (it never ends)

I’ve asked myself, how much do you
Commit yourself?

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends
 
Written by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene

The Original vs The Cover vs The Cover – “Tainted Love”

The Original Vs The Cover choice for this month is one that will tackle three separate artists on the song “Tainted Love”.  The original was performed by Gloria Jones way back in May of 1965 and was written in 1964 by Ed Cobb and arranged by Lincoln Mayorga.  The song was originally a B-Side for Gloria’s failed single “My Bad Boy’s Comin’ Home” so it never charted unlike the covers.

The song was about a girl that Ed was seeing and the whole relationship was plain toxic.  He wanted to take the song from the girls point of view which is why the song was offered to a lady to sing.  According to Ed, once he came up with the words “tainted love” the song basically wrote itself from that point forward.

The covers were both done by male vocalist thus changing up the point of view. The first cover is by New Wave 80’s band Soft Cell who went all the way to #1 in several countries and #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.  Their version was released in 1981.  2o years we would see another successful version of the song this time done by Shock Rocker Marilyn Manson.  His version didn’t do as well, but charted through-out the world reaching # 1 in Portugal!!.  All three versions have something to offer so let’s see who has the best one.

GLORIA JONES

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The original version by Gloria Jones is an uptempo fun, Motown styled song.  The song is full of horns, guitars and drums as well as female backing vocals.  This was 1964 and the song sounds like it.  The Motown influence is front and center and Gloria’s vocals fit the song perfectly. There is a great upbeat tempo and the addition of the horns actually make it a fun sounding song which is why the song didn’t do well originally as it didn’t fit the lyrics. Continue reading “The Original vs The Cover vs The Cover – “Tainted Love””

The Original vs. The Cover – “Wonderwall”

For this month’s This Original vs The Cover is the song “Wonderwall” originally by the band Oasis.  The song was released in October 1995 and on the band’s album ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’. The song did really well and went to #8 in the U.S. and #1 in several countries and charts.  The cover version we are battling with is Ryan Adam’s cover which was released back in 2003 on his album ‘Love is Hell, pt 1’ EP.

The song was written by Noel Gallagher and was originally titled “Wishing Stone.  There is a little mix up on who and what the song is about.  Originally the thought was the song was about his girlfriend at the time Meg Mathews who later became his wife and then even later became his ex-wife.  It was after that divorce that the story of the song changed.  It was no longer about his ex-wife, it was now about an imaginary person or friend that shows up and helps you save you from yourself.  Ok.  Noel has stated that it was the media’s fault for the confusion and once it was out in the universe he didn’t want to spoil it for his girlfriend/wife.  But now that they are divorced, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

That is enough backstory.  Let’s get to the song and we will start with the original version as well always do, no need to change now.

OASIS

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