Another batch of originals, looking at Homeward Bound, Hurting Each Other, Blame It On The Boogie, Istanbul (Not Constantinople) and Rose Garden.
Chad & Jeremy – Homeward Bound.mp3
Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound (live).mp3
In 1965, Chad & Jeremy were a popular English folk-rock duo when Jeremy Clyde met the songwriter of promising newcomers Simon & Garfunkel at a party for Bob Dylan. Paul Simon was delighted to be asked to play some of his songs for the folk star, and proceeded to play 18 tracks, many of them future classics. One song in particular, Homeward Bound, appealed to Jeremy, and he recorded it with Chad Stuart in London on 26 November 1965 (with Simon dropping in during the session). A few weeks later, in December, Simon & Garfunkel got around to recording their own version of the song which Paul Simon had started writing while stuck at Widnes station (or Dutton or Wigan, accounts vary) in northern England.
Chad & Jeremy considered Homeward Bound for a single release, but having got wind of Simon & Garfunkel considering the song as a follow-up to their hit The Sound Of Silence, they opted for a rocker titled Ballad Of A Teenage Failure. It turned out to be a ballad of a failure, teenage or not. Chad & Jeremy in the end released Homeward Bound in August 1966 on their Distant Shores album. Simon & Garfunkel had a #5 hit with it earlier that year. The Simon & Garfunkel version posted here is a live recording from the soundboard bootleg of their 1968 Hollywood Bowl concert.
Also recorded by: Mel Tormé (1966), Petula Clark (1966), Cher (1966), Richard Anthony (as Un autographe, SVP, 1966), The Quiet Five (1966), Jack Jones (1968), Glen Campbell (1968), Brenda Byers (1970), Buck Owens (1971), Jermaine Jackson (1972), Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson (1983), The King’s Singers (1989)
Jimmy Clanton – Hurting Each Other.mp3
Carpenters – Hurting Each Other.mp3
As previously noted, the Carpenters had a way of appropriating songs first recorded by other people. In part, this owes to an astuteness in often picking songs that weren’t very well known. Once Richard Carpenter imprinted his imaginative arrangements and Karen her marvellous vocals on such a song, it almost invariably was theirs. And so it was with Hurting Each Other, which the siblings recorded in late 1971 (apparently a news segment filmed them putting down the backing vocal track). It appeared on their excellent 1972 album, A Song For You, and the single reached #2 on the US charts.
Hurting Each Other was written by Gary Geld and Peter Udell, whose songwriting credits also included Brian Hyland’s Sealed With A Kiss. The first recording of the song was released in 1965 by teen idol Jimmy Clanton, a white R&B singer from Baton Rouge who had a string of hits (including Neil Sedaka’s composition Venus In Blue Jeans) in what has been called “swamp pop” and then faded into the sort of obscurity that has nonetheless ensured a performing career that continues to this day, complemented by a line in radio DJing.
Also recorded by: Chad Allan & The Expressions ( who would become Guess Who,1965); Walker Brothers (1966), Ruby & The Romantics (1969), Peter Nero (1972), Percy Faith & His Orchestra (1972), Ray Conniff and The Singers (1972), Johnette Napolitano with Marc Moreland (1994), Stan Whitmire (2000)
Mick Jackson – Blame It On The Boogie.mp3
The Jacksons – Blame It On The Boogie.mp3
Loo & Placido – Should I Stay Or Should I Boogie.mp3
How many cover versions have been sung by the namesake of the original performer? Mick Jackson was a German-born English pop singer. His Blame It On The Boogie, which he also co-wrote, sounds like a presentable Leo Sayer number. The Jacksons changed little in the song’s structure — Mick’s original has all the touches we know well, such as the “sunshine, moonlight, good time, boogie” interlude — and yet they turned a pretty good song into a disco explosion of joy, presaging Michael’s Off TheWall a year and a bit later.
Mick Jackson actually wrote the song with Stevie Wonder in mind (and it’s easy to imagine how it might have sounded), but was persuaded by a German label to record it himself. When the freshly minted record was played at a music festival in Cannes, a rep for the Jackson — no doubt alerted by the performer’s name — secretly taped the song, flew it to the US and had the Jackson brothers record and release it in quick time, to release it before Mick could have a hit with it. With both singles out at the same time, the British press had some fun with the Jackson “Battle of the Boogie”. Mick’s single reached #15 in the UK and #61 in the US. The Jacksons’ version became the classic.
The song made a comeback in South Africa in 2003 in a version by a 13-year-old Danish character called Jay-Kid. That version was used in Loo & Placido’s rather splendid 2005 mash-up with the Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go, titled Should I Stay Or Should I Boogie?
Also recorded by: Rita Pavone (1979), Big Fun (1989), Fat Boy Slim (as Blame It On The Baseline, 1989), Luis Miguel (as Será que no me amas, 1990), Dynamo’s Rhythm Aces (1999), Jay-Kid (2003), Captain Jack (2003), Marcia Hines (2006)
The Four Lads – Istanbul (Not Constantinople).mp3
They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople).mp3
It casts a reflection of some kind on They Might Be Giants that many people believe the novelty number Istanbul (Not Constantinople) to be their original. It is, in fact, an old swing number from the 1950s written — borrowing copiously from Putting On The Ritz — by Nat Simons and Jimmy Arnold, the latter frontman of Canadian singing quartet the Four Lads. The song was the group’s breakthrough hit in 1953, and they had enough of a career to enable a reconstituted version of the group to trawl the nostalgia circuit.
They Might Be Giants recorded their faster cover version in 1989, drawing from the klezmer style of secular Jewish music to get that Middle Eastern effect (hey, they are Americans…). One may assume that the song would cause some perplexity in Greece, where the Turkish city on the Bosphorus is referred to as Constantinople. (Thanks to Philip)
Also recorded by: The Radio Revellers (1953), Frankie Vaughan (1954), Caterina Valente (1954), Santo & Johnny (1962), Edmundo Ros (1953), Al Caiola (1962), Bette Midler (1977), The Residents (1987), The Sacados (1990), Mad Dodo (1992), Chris Potter & Kenny Werner (1994), Trevor Horn Orchestra (2003), Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers (2005), Ska Cubano (2006), Ayhan Sicimoğlu (2006)
Joe South – Rose Garden.mp3
Lynn Anderson – Rose Garden.mp3
Once upon a time, I hated the song as being representative of everything I loathed about country music. I still didn’t like it when I saw the light and embraced the genre, for Anderson’s hit record is rather naff. Then I heard Joe South’s version, and it became clear to me just how good a song it is. Alas, a few weeks ago I watched an audition for South Africa’s Idols show during which a spectacularly untalented woman performed the song she retitled “Ahr Burk Yurr Pahrrdynn”, singing it aggressively out of tune and with no regard to the correct lyrics. It is her tragicomic version which I now hear, alas, when I think of the song.
In the three years before Lynn Anderson got around to scoring a hit with it in 1971, Rose Garden had been recorded by a soul singer (Dobie Gray), another country singer (Glen Campbell) and three easy listening merchants (Ray Conniff, Ronnie Aldrich and His Two Pianos, and Boots Randolph, under his almost real name Homer Louis Randolph III). For Joe South it was just an album track. He’d have a hit later with Games People Play, and wrote a couple of hits for Billie Joe Royal (Down in the Boondocks and Hush, which would become a Deep Purple classic), The Osmonds and Elvis.
Lynn Anderson almost did not record the song. Execs at her record company, Columbia, didn’t like it much and thought it inappropriate for a woman to sing a song which represents a male perspective (for example in the line “I could promise you things like big diamond rings”). As it happened, there was some spare time during a studio session, and the track was recorded. The label’s micro-managing head, Clive Davis, heard it and decided that it should be Anderson’s next single. It was a big hit in the US and Europe, and Anderson’s version remained the biggest selling recording by any female country artist until 1997.
Also recorded by: Dobie Gray (1969), Glen Campbell (1971), Homer Louis Randolph III (1971), Ray Conniff (1971), Ronnie Aldrich and His Two Pianos (1971), Peter Horton (with German lyrics, 1971), Johnny Mathis (1971), Loretta Lynn (1971), New World (1971), Andy Williams (1971), Dottie West (1971), The Fevers (as Mar de Rosas, 1971), Claude François (as Je te demande pardon, 1971), Bakersfield California Brass (1972), k.d. lang (1986), Kon Kan (1989), Suicide Machines (2000), Tamra Rosanes (2002), Socks (2004), Martina McBride (2005), Southern Culture on the Skids (2007), Aldebert (as Je te demande pardon, 2008)