The Original vs. The Cover – “Alone”

For this edition of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss the song “Alone” by the band i-Ten.  What?  You never heard of them.  Honestly, neither had I, but you know their songs as bands from the 80’s covered a ton of their songs including bands like Honeymoon Suite, REO Speedwagon, Juice Newton and most notable they had success with songs such as “Like a Virgin”, “So Emotional”, “True Colors” and “Eternal Flame.  They weren’t really a band, it was a writing duo of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly who made up the band i-Ten.  It was that success that Heart decided to cover their song “Alone”.

The song’s theme is simple.  It is about a person who is in love with another and they are struggling to get them alone to tell them how they feel.  It is possible it is an unrequited love, but he/she won’t know until they tell them how much they want them.  We’ve all been there before.

i-TEN

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I will admit, I never have heard this version before I decided to do this post.  The song didn’t do very well for the band as their song and was put aside and basically forgotten. The song is a pure 80’s.  It is a little dated in its sound today, but you can hear how good of a song it really is.  It is surprising it didn’t do anything for them, but then again, they were not a well-known act and getting on the radio was difficult (or even MTV).

The song is a ballad, full of synthesizers, high pitched vocals, some nice guitar work and is really 80’s AOR at its best.  It opens with a piano accompaniment and then Tom Kelly gives us such a beautiful vocal performance.  It is understated and well polished.  If anything, the song highlights the writing talents of these two as this song is clinic on how to write a great song.  It has a little bit of everything you need in a good song including a guitar solo.  This was the 80’s.

HEART

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When Tom and Billy found out Heart was looking for a song, they pulled this one out of drawer and decided to tweak a few things.  First, they changed the first line of the chorus from “I always fared well on my own” to ‘Til now, I always got by on my own” as Tom didn’t like the flow.  They also tweaked it to be a little more R&B and then re-recorded a demo and submitted to Ron Nevison.  And luckily for us, it was accepted.

Heart took the song to #1 without making many changes.  They had the same piano opening and Ann Wilson comes in quiet and understated with her vocals until she blows it out with her power and they turn the song from only a ballad to a pure 80’s power ballad!  It still had the synthesizers, but the drumming was much more dramatic (by Denny Carmassi).  The high harmonies in the song were actually sung by Tom Kelly himself when he and Billy came in to meet the band while they were recording which is a cool bonus on the song.

There is one cool point in Heart’s version around the second chorus.  Ron Nevison had Ann pause a little bit before the second chorus and wanted her to ad lib a little.  She did and came out with this Robert Plan scream that really added an extra punch to the song and helped take it to #1.

THE VERDICT

The verdict is where I have to make a decision on which song I like the best and sometimes it is so difficult.  This isn’t one of them.  Although the i-Ten version is fantastic, you can’t beat the power of Ann Wilson’s voice.  She is one of the best vocalist in rock, period. Heart’s version sounds a little less dated then i-Ten’s version, but it is the power portion of the ballad that I love so much.  The Ann scream and the more dramatic feel of the overall song is what pushes their version to the top for me.

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.

“ALONE”

I hear the ticking of the clock
I’m lying here, the room’s pitch dark
I wonder where you are tonight
No answer on the telephone
And the night goes by so very slow
Oh, I hope that it won’t end though
Alone
I always fared well on my own
I never really cared until I met you
And now it chills me to the bone
How do I get you alone?
You don’t know how long I have wanted
To touch your lips and hold you tight
You don’t know how long I have waited
And I was going to tell you tonight
But the secret is still my own
And my love for you is still unknown
Alone
I always fared well on my own
I never really cared until I met you
And now it chills me to the bone
How do I get you alone?
Tell me, how do I get you alone?
How do I get you alone?
Tell me, how do I get you alone?
Alone, alone
I hear the ticking of the clock
I’m lying here, the room’s pitch dark
Written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly

In Memoriam – 2018

Every year I do a post memorializing musicians that we lost in that year.  The list is really long and I guess each year it will get longer as all the bands I grew up with are getting older and it is bound to happen.  Though we have lost them, they live on in our hearts and in their music they left behind.  I guess we might as well get started.  Do realize this list isn’t every musician that passed away, it is really those that I have listened to over the years or were legends and icons in music.  So if I leave someone off, it is nothing personal but please add their name in the comments.

JANUARY 2018

January 10th: “Fast” Eddie Clark of Motorhead and Fastway.  He was the last surviving member of the original and classic line-up of Motorhead.  He was in the band from 1976 up until 1982 and was on the classic song and album that everyone knows, “Ace of Spades”.  Clark was also a founding member of the 80’s band Fastway (“Fast” Eddie Clark wasn’t a giveaway).

340px-Dolores_O'Riordan_guitar_2010January 15th: Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries.  A common theme lately is that artist seem to be committing suicide at an alarming rate.  The year kicked off with the loss of these heavenly voice.  The Cranberries were huge in the 90’s with such great songs as “Zombies” and “Linger” to just name a few.  She will be missed.

 

 

January 16th: Dave Holland, drummer for the band Judas Priest during some of the biggest years of the band, The 1980’s.

January 24th: Mark E. Smith, founder and lead singer of The Fall.  The band released over 32 albums from 1972 to 2017.  Quite an accomplishment.

FEBRUARY 2018

February 1st: Dennis Edwards, singer for The Contours and The Tempations.  He died at 74 of meningitis.

Mrbig_pattorpeyFebruary 7th: Pat Torpey, drummer for the band Mr. Big.  Pat’s drumming was sensational and a much respected drummer by musicians and non-musicians.  He was 64 and died from Parkinson’s Disease.

 

MARCH 2018

March 9th: Gary Burden – album cover artist. I normally do only musicians, but the album cover is just as important as the album itself (at least it used to be).  Gary was a pioneer in the the whole idea of cover art.  He worked mostly with Neil Young, but wored with The Doors, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell and many, many more.

March 14th: Alfred Lynn, singer for Wu-Tang Clan.  Alfred died of a heart attack at the age of 62.

March 20th: Peter Cowling, bassist for the Pat Travers Band.  He was 72 years old.

APRIL 2018

April 18th: Dale Winton – Dale was an English Radio DJ and very famous over in the UK.  He even had a cameo in the movie Trainspotting.

April 20th: Avicii – This Swedish musician and DJ was only 28 years old.  The details of his death were never released (that I can see), but it appears it was related to years of alcohol abuse.

April 26th: Charles Neville – saxophonist for the Neville Brothers.  He was 79 and died of pancreatic cancer.

MAY 2018

May 1st: John “Jabo” Starks – drummer for James Brown.  He was 79 years old.

May 4th: Steve Coy – drummer for the 80’s band Dead Or Alive who had the big hit “You Spin Me Round”

May 10th: Scott Hutchison – guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Alternative rock band Frightened Rabbit.  I came across them on a post I did about them years ago.  Damn fine singer and artist.

JUNE 2018

June 8th: Danny Kirwan – Danny was a former guitarist for the band Fleetwood Mac. He was with the band at it’s infancy from 1968-1972.  Danny was 68 at the time of his passing.

June 18: XXXTentacion – XXXTentacion was a rapper and was murdered at only 20 years of age.

440px-VinniePaul2008June 22: Vinnie Paul of Pantera –  Vinnie was the drummer for the famed Thrash metal band Pantera.  He was only 54 years old and is now with his brother Dimebag who was killed during a concert in 2004.

 

June 27th: Joe Jackson – the mastermind behind the Jackson 5 and father of Michael Jackson and all the other Jackson clan. His abrasive style has not looked fondly for him, but he did make those kids successful.

July 2018

July 3rd:  Richard Swift – Richard was a singer & songwriter for the band The Shins and The Black Keys.

AUGUST 2018

August 14th: Randy Rampage – Randy was the singer and bassist for Canadian thrash metal band D.O.A.  He died at 58 of a heart attack.

August 14th:  Jill Janus – Jill was the singer for the rock band Huntress.  She died of an apparent suicide at the age of 42 years old.

440px-Aretha_Franklin_1968.jpgAugust 16th: Aretha Franklin – Aretha was a living legend and one of the greatest singers we have ever had.  Her song “Respect” by Otis Redding is one of the most famous songs probably ever.  There was no one that her vocal power and she was adored by so many.  Definitely a legend and a icon has been lost.

August 22nd: Ed King – Ed was a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist for the band Lynrd Skynrd and Strawberry Alarm Clock.  He is most famous for co-writing the song “Sweet Home Alabama”  Funny thing, he was from California.

August 25th: Kyle Pavone – Kyle was the lead singer for the band We Came as Romans.  He was only 28.

SEPTEMBER 2018

September 7th: Mac Miller:  Mac Miller was a Rapper, singer and producer.  Sadly at he age of 26 died of a drug overdose.  For me, most notable for his collaborations with Ariana Grande who my kids are a fan.

September 27th: Marty Balin – Marty was the singer and musician for the Hall of Fame band Jefferson Airplane.  He was 76 years old.

OCTOBER 2018

October 29th:  Jimmy Farrar – Singer for Molly Hatchet and Gator Country died of a heart attack at the age of 67.  I loved me some Molly Hatchet.  He was singer from 1980-1982 and appeared on two of their albums.

The_Residents_Eye_-_EMP_-_Sarah_StierchOctober 30th: Hardy Fox – musician with the avant-garde musical group The Residents.  Famous for their weird eyeball-band.

 

 

NOVEMBER 2018

November 3rd: Glenn Schwartz – a member of the James Gang died at 77.  I just picked up a live James Gang album that I will play in his honer.

November 4th: Josh Fauver – Bassist for the band Deerhunter.  Josh was only 39 years old.  Way too young.

440px-Roy_Clark_a_conversation_with_OETA_(cropped)November 15th: Roy Clark – Roy was 85 when he died of pneumonia. I remember Roy from Hee-Haw and was actually one of the first guitarist I remember paying attention to.  I was forced to watch Hee-Haw and it was funny at times, but Roy Clark’s guitar and banjo playing was sensational.  He was one of the few Country musicians that I ever noticed that could serious play…I mean freaking awesome.  He will be missed.

DECEMBER 2018

December 6th: Pete Shelley – Pete was a member and co-founder of the band the Buzzcocks.  He died from a heart attack at only 63.  The Buzzcocks were a British punk rock band that have influenced so many others. Some songs include “I Don’t Mind”, “Fast Cars”, “Ever Fallen in Love (with Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) and “Orgasm Addict”.

Nancy_Wilson_(1968)December 13th: Nancy Wilson – The Grammy winning Jazz Singer was 81 years young.  She won 3 Grammies in her life including for Best R&B recording in 1965 for “How Glad I Am”.

 

 

To all the musician we have lost in 2018, may you rest in peace knowing the legacy you have left behind.  Thanks for the music!!

My Sunday Song – “Barracuda” by Heart

My Sunday Song #54 is by the one and only Heart.  The song is “Barracuda” off their 1977 album ‘Little Queen’.  The song was their second highest charting song at the time and it was their second Top 20 hit peaking at #11.  “Magic Man” was their only song higher charting at #9.

Why do I like this song?  Easy, that guitar riff that opens the song and is played throughout is enough!!  It was one of their heavier rock songs and showed they could kick some serious ass.  The aggressiveness of the music and the lyrics made them a powerhouse and I think made people take note of how great they can be.  This was the song that made me a Heart fan.

From what I can find on the song, it is mostly about Ann Wilson’s disdain for their former label Mushroom Records.  Apparently Mushroom Records had placed ads in magazines/papers that hinted that Ann & Nancy were lesbian lovers having an incestuous relationship.  Needless to say, this angered her greatly and from great anger comes great music. (thanks to Songfacts.com).  You can see the add that was placed by clicking on HEART AD. That would have pissed me off as well.  The band left the label shortly thereafter and the rest is history.

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Barracuda” by Heart”