Interesting Covers – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Cover of "Freewheelin'"

Cover of Freewheelin’

Three very different takes on this classic.  The original was written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and appears on his second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan“.  It was first performed by Dylan at Carnegie Hall in 1962.  Over the years it has been recorded many times by a wide and varied array of talent.  Dylan himself has redone the song several times, most recently in 2007.  I have touched on this diversity with what I believe are some pretty different versions, and finished off with the original.

First up, a version by Roxy Music‘s Bryan Ferry.  As expected, it is different.  He recorded it in 1973 on “These Foolish Things” where he did a raft of covers.

Bryan Ferry

Jason Mraz performed this song on “Listen To Bob Dylan: a Tribute”.  Another slightly different take done in the Mraz style.  Nicely done.

Jason Mraz

And of course the original.

Bob Dylan

 

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Canada’s Best Music – 5 Songs At A Time – Part 32

We move up to number 345 in this edition of Canada’s Best Music.  We have another entry from the Spoons, some classic rock, some new rock from Billy talent and a song from a Canadian staple known as The Tragically Hip, who are, well, hip.  Nice set if you like rock.

345. Spoons

“Those Old Emotions”

Romantic Traffic

Romantic Traffic (Photo credit: stevec77)

The Spoons were in my last post, Part 31.  An 80’s hairband, they had several hits back in the day, including this one in 1983.  Not a great video, but, hey, pretty lucky to find it at all, I’d say.

344. The Watchmen

“Boneyard Tree”

In the Trees

In the Trees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Winnipeg band, The Watchmen had a string of hits in the mid 90’s, including this song off their 1994 album “In the Trees”.  Very good band in their time.

343. Billy Talent

“Turn Your Back”

Billy Talent

Billy Talent (Photo credit: NRK P3)

Billy Talent has been around since the early 90’s (known as the Pezz until 1999), but struck it big over the last couple of years, earning a deserved world-wide following.  Turn Your Back is from Billy Talent III, released in 2009.  They have been nominated for Junos every year since 2004, winning 7 times.  The video is a live version.  Great rocker voice.

342. 5440

“Baby Have Some Faith”

The Canadian band 54-40; from left to right: D...

The Canadian band 54-40; from left to right: Dave Genn, Neil Osborne & Brad Merritt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5440 has been rocking Canadians since the 1980’s, releasing albums as recently as 2011.  One of my favourite bands at one point.  Still enjoy hearing them.

341. The Tragically Hip

“Three Pistols”

English: The Tragically Hip performing in Aspe...

English: The Tragically Hip performing in Aspen, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A legend to many Canadians, The Hip consistently release quality material, time after time.  This tune was released in 1991 on their Road Apples album.  Great song.

Interesting Covers – “Hound Dog”

Big Mama Thornton circa 1955-1960

Big Mama Thornton circa 1955-1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Interesting covers goes old-time.  Today we look at a milestone song “Hound Dog“.  It was written by the legendary team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1952 after meeting and hearing Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton.  The meeting had been arranged by Johnny Otis.  They were 19 at the time, unbelievable.  Big Mama Thornton was the first to record it (August 1952) and released it in February 1953.  It was her only hit, but the song, well that’s a different story altogether.  It has been covered over 85 times and charted on several of those incarnations, although none had the success of either Big mama’s or Elvis Presley’s versions.  The Elvis version is obviously the best known and placed at 19 on Rolling Stones Top 500 of all time, not to mention being in the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.  Who has covered it you ask?  A veritable who’s who of music and reflecting a wide diversity of style.  Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Boone, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Conway Twitty, Eric Clapton, James Taylor and Frank Zappa.  Crazy!  We will dispense with the poll on this, seems the work involved is not worth the 1 vote each time hahaha.  We’ll start with Big Mama, move through a couple of others and finish up with Elvis.  Enjoy!

 

The Big Mama version is very much R&B and a lot less frenetic than the more familiar Elvis effort.  I like the voice and her control of the song.  The instrumentation is subtly performed by some very good musicians.  A great song done like this.

 

 

This version is by one of my favourites, John Lennon.  Unfortunately, the song is not up to his standards, ruined by some “singing?” by Yoko doing her best imitations of a dog.  Kind of funny to listen to and watch.  Some good playing though.

 

 

Here is the Jimi Hendrix version, unmistakably his.

 

 

And of course, Elvis.

 

 

Interesting Covers – “I’m A Believer”

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m A Believer is a song penned by Neil Diamond and made a forever signature classic by The Monkees way back in 1966.  The song went gold in 2 days, hitting number 1 in December 1966 and was the biggest selling single of 1967.  It is also one of only 40 songs to sell 10 million physical copies (source:Wikipedia).  Amazing numbers for so long ago.  Needless to say that success bred many attempts at duplication, of which I will note four.  Don’t forget to vote for the one you like best.

First we have British singer Robert Wyatt who made it a UK hit in 1974.  The band he was with had some power with Andy Summers (Police) on guitar and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) on drums.  The video is a live performance on Tops Of The Pops and was his first appearance after an accident left him a paraplegic.

Robert Wyatt

Next up we have my favourite version by Smash Mouth.  Why you say?  Simple, Shrek is one of my all time favourite movies. Eddie Murphy is also featured on the tune, recorded in 2001.

Smash Mouth

Third, we have the man, Neil Diamond.  he sings his song live in 2008.  Nicely done Neil.

Neil Diamond

And last, the original.

The Monkees

Interesting Covers – “Sweet Jane”

From left: Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwr...

From left: Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins, mandolin-player Jeff Bird, and singer, Margo Timmins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sweet Jane is a classic Velvet Underground tune, first released in 1970 on their “Loaded” album.  Lou Reed wrote the song, and his lyrics are powerful, not mention the arrangement.  As I morph this series, I am thing a poll is just screaming to be added to the mix, so I will.  Rules are simple.  I will add the songs, then ask you to decide which is your fave.  Simple?  This works well for this choice as there are many covers out there.  Let’s start with the original, then move on from there.

Velvet Underground

Next up, let’s go with Mott the Hoople.  This was the first cover, 1972, and was released on their “All The Young Dudes” album.  The band featured the great Ian Hunter on vocals, and is a true copy, with little change in the arrangement.

Mott The Hoople

Next up is a version by Canadian alt-country band, “Cowboy Junkies“.  They released the tune as a single in 1988.  It was used on the soundtrack for “Natural Born Killers“.  A slower version, and the vocals of Margo Timmins are great.  The song is slowed up with great effect.  My favourite version.

Cowboy Junkies

And a last entry, a live version, with Lou Reed fronting Metallica.  A very different version.

Metallica with Lou Reed