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.
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.
Third, we have the man, Neil Diamond. he sings his song live in 2008. Nicely done Neil.
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.
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.
And a last entry, a live version, with Lou Reed fronting Metallica. A very different version.
Decided to change the name to “Interesting” from “Unusual”. I’d say that a lot of covers are more interesting than strange. My first post on this involved Jackie Wilson doing the Doors “Light My Fire”. Not really unusual, although a soul icon doing what became a rock classic was somewhat strange, it was truly much more interesting.
Dear Prudence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today we are going to take a look at something that is definitely interesting, and maybe a bit unusual as well. Siouxsie and the Banshees were a 70’s punk band that expanded into a more adventuresome style of music. Some would call it post-punk, others might say glam. Personally, I never got into them very much. I did find it kind of cool that they did a cover of one of my favourite Beatles tunes, “Dear Prudence”. I have been a John Lennon fan since the early days of my musical odyssey, and many of his songs could be classified as soundtrack of my life. Dear Prudence was on the Beatles Whit Album, released in 1968 and tells the tale of Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence. She was studying with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the same time as Lennon, and he wrote the song to encourage to come out and socialize as she had turned into a bit of a recluse. ( I pretend to be an informative blog haha.).
Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded the song in 1983 and released it as a single. It became one of their biggest hits. Without further adieu, “Dear Prudence”.
I Get the Sweetest Feeling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Playing with YouTube this morning and got inspired to note some, what some may think, unusual covers of some great songs. To qualify as an unusual cover, it must be a reasonably famous original redone by reasonably famous act. My first attempt into the world of unusual covers is one done by soul great, Jackie Wilson. Jackie has a resounding resume of hits, dating back to the 1950’s. He died in 1984, leaving a legacy that included such hits as Lonely Teardrops and Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher. He also left us this cover of The Doors classic, Light My Fire. He recorded it in 1969. Check it out.
And for comparison, here is the Doors performing the song live on The Ed Sullivan Show.