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Saturday, 25 October 2014

The S4L Top 50 Cover Versions Part Five 10 - 01

10. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding - Elvis Costello.
Written by Nick Lowe and released in 1974 by his band Brinsley Schwarz on the album 'New Favourites of ...Brinsley Schwarz'.
Elvis Costello's version first appeared as a B-Side of Nick Lowe's single 'American Squirm' and credited to Nick Lowe and His Sound.

09. Please Don't Touch - HeadGirl.
A 1959 Rock and Roll Classic by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates was turned into a Heavy Metal "duet" between Motorhead and all girl rockers Girlschool in 1980 for the 'St Valentine's Massacre EP'. It reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart - the biggest hit for either band! 

08. True Believers - Hot Water Music.
Released on a 2011 Split Single with the writers Bouncing Souls (who covered Hot Water Music's 'Wayfarer'). 'True Believers' appeared first on Bouncing Souls' 2001 album 'How I Spent My Summer Vacation'

07. Up Around The Bend - Hanoi Rocks.
A great slice of rock and roll from 1984's 'Two Steps To The Move' album. The song was a massive hit for Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1970. John Fogerty is one of my all-time favourite song-writers.

06. Ninety Nine and A Half (Won't Do) - Doctor Feelgood.
I could have put one of any number of versions of this song here but I really do love the Feelgoods version from the 1977 'Be Seeing You' album. That was their first album after the departure of Wilko and the first with Gypie Mayo on guitar.
The original was penned by Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd and Wilson Pickett and released on Atlantic in 1966. It should have been a massive hit I think.

05. Looking At You - The Damned.
The Damned always had a real golden touch when it came to cover versions ('Feel Alright' - The Stooges, 'Eloise' - Barry Ryan, 'Ballroom Blitz' - The Sweet, and 'Alone Again Or' - Love) and this fantastic MC5 track from the 1970 'Back In The USA' sat really well on The Damned's return album 'Machine Gun Etiquette' from 1979 on Chiswick Records.

04. Song To The Siren - This Mortal Coil.
Funnily enough Tim Buckley (who along with Larry Beckett wrote the song) was not actually the first person to release the song. Pat Boone was actually. He released it as an album track on 'Departure' in 1969 and Buckley's release on the 'Starsailor' album would follow a year later.
There have been some notable covers (and some less notable ones: *cough* Half Man Half Biscuit!), but the one that towers above them all is the version by This Mortal Coil (basically on this single it was The Cocteau Twins). Elizabeth Fraser's haunting vocal has never lost it's sense of wonder even listening afresh to it 31 years on from it's intial release. I honestly cannot understand how the single only reached #66 and yet the demand for it was so high that it spent 101 weeks on the Indie Chart (maybe have to put that down to "four skinny Indie Kids" - to quote Half Man Half Biscuit and Chelsea Footballer Pat Nevin!).

03. Trapped - Bruce Springsteen.
Springsteen began performing this Jimmy Cliff track back on the 'Born in the USA Tour' in 1984 and a live version from 6th August the same year at the Meadowlands, NJ was released on the 'We Are The World' album in April 1985.
Cliff's original recording was a B-Side (man, how many great B-Sides have there been!) for his 1972 single 'Struggling Man'.

02. Hurt - Johnny Cash.
I'm sure that Trent Reznor had no idea when he wrote this song for Nine Inch Nails' 1994 album 'The Downward Spiral' that all these years later people would still be talking about the song except they'd be talking about the Johnny Cash version! When first asked if Cash could cover the song he felt flattered but thought that it might end up as a bad gimmick. But once he saw the music video his response was this:
"I pop the video in, and wow... Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps... Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore... It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure."
The video was filmed in February 2003, Cash was 71 and had serious health issues leading up to it and the recording of 'American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around'. June Carter would pass away in May 2003 and Johnny would not be that far behind her, exiting this world with all it's hurt and pain in September 2003.
The video won awards for Best Video of the Year at the  Grammys and at the CMA. In July 2011 the NME declared it to be the best video of all time.
There's such a fragileness to Cash's voice on this that you almost think that he's going to break out into tears himself, until you realise that it's you and not him that has tears rolling down your cheeks!

01. I Believe In You - Sinead O'Connor.
My favourite cover version of all time is a faithful adaptation of a Bob Dylan song from a time when he was frowned upon, namely his "Born Again Phase". First released in 1979 on 'Slow Train Coming' and released by Sinead O'Connor in 1992 on 'A Very Special Christmas 2'.
I know other folks would probably have a different one as their top one or maybe would have chosen Cash on the top spot but this is mine and I'm unashamed of it. I love Sinead's voice on it and the live version that's on the above link is totally mesmerizing.

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