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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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 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). Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “Alone””
For this month’s The Original Vs The Cover, we are comparing the versions of the song “Higher Ground” originally performed by Stevie Wonder and then later covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Two great artists and two very different versions so which will come out on top.
The song was written by Stevie Wonder and it came out on his 1973 album ‘Innervisions’. It went all the way to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. It was a very successful song for Stevie and in 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #265 on the Top 500 Songs of all time. Not bad.
The song is possibly about two things. One being second chances and the other is reincarnation (which could also be considered a second chance I guess). Stevie wrote the song and recorded it in a span of 3 hours which to me is amazing. According to Stevie, he felt a sense of urgency to get it done as if something was going to happen and he needed to finish it. Just a few months later, he was in a car accident that put him in a coma for four days (3 days after the album was released).
Okay, let us get to the songs…
Stevie’s song is pure 70’s funk. It has such an awesome little groove and that unique wah sound comes from a clavinet using a Mu-Tron III pedal. What are those? Here is a picture (thanks wikipedia).
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