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The Originals: The Classics

September 20th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

Here’s a collection of lesser-known originals of stone-cold pop classics, and quite a bit of background information to most of them. In fact, I suggest you make yourself a good cup of coffee, settle back and be engrossed in the stories of some of the most famous songs in pop history.

 

Hey Joe

We kick off with a track whose genesis is disputed, with some claiming Hey Joe is an old traditional folk song. There seems to be wide consensus, however, that it was written in the early 1960s by a folk singer called Billy Roberts, who may well have borrowed from a 1950s country song by the same title written by Boudleaux Bryant. Something of a cult classic on LA’s live scene and reportedly propagated by David Crosby, Roberts’ song was eventually recorded by The Leaves (though some claim that the Surfaris recorded their version first, but released it after the Leaves’ version came out).

Where The Leaves rock out in a psychedelic fashion, Jimi Hendrix’s version’s, recorded in December 1966, is said to have been based on the slower folk-rock treatment by Tim Rose (who once was part of a folk trio including someone called Jim Hendricks, with Mama Cass Elliott), though Arthur Lee insisted it was the Love recording of September 1966 that inspired Hendrix. Whatever the case: the version here is the first to be released on record.

 

Wild Horses

A number of tracks here were originally released before the actual writers had hits with them. One of those is the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses, which was first released by The Flying Burrito Brothers. The Stones recorded it before the Flying Burrito Brothers did, but released it only after Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons’ band released it on their 1970 album, Burrito Deluxe. Wild Horses was written in 1969 (Keef says about his new-born son; Jagger denies that its re-written lyrics were about Marianne Faithfull) and recorded in December 1969 at the Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama, the day after the group laid down Brown Sugar. Jamming in a country mood, Mick asked Keith to present a number in that genre, spurring his country-loving friend on by saying: “Come on, you must have hundreds”. Keith disappeared for a bit, and returned with a melody and words for the chorus. Mick filled in the lyrics for the verses, and the song was recorded (with Jim Dickinson standing it for Ian Stewart, who did not like playing minor chords) before the Stones packed up and left Memphis.

Earlier that year, the Stones had collaborated on the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace Of Sin album; and as the curtain fell on the 1960s, the Burritos opened for the Stones at the notorious Altamont concert (according to some reports, it was during their performance that the Hells’ Angels started the first fight). Parsons was especially friendly with Keith Richard, whom he introduced to the treasury of country music. It is even said that the song was intended for Gram — probably a false rumour, yet it sounds more like a Parsons than a Stones song. Whether or not it was intended for Parsons, the Burritos were allowed to record Wild Horses, and release it before the Stones were able to (a delay forced by contractual reasons involving their “divorce” from Allen Klein) on 1971’s Sticky Fingers album.

 

My Sweet Lord

Billy Preston recorded and released My Sweet Lord before George Harrison did. Preston had at one point come to be regarded as the “Fifth Beatle”, thanks to his keyboard work which earned him a co-credit on the Get Back single. He had actually known the band since 1962, when he toured Britain with Little Richard, for whom the Beatles opened in Liverpool. Post-Beatles, Preston continued working with Harrison, who had brought him into the Let It Be sessions. Written in December 1969 in Copenhagen, My Sweet Lord song first appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album, a star-studded affair which included not only Harrison, but also Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richard on bass and Ginger Baker on drums.

The album also included Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (a song which the Beatles had considered of recording); almost a year later that song would provide the title of the triple-LP set. The All Things Must Pass album, produced by Phil Spector, also included George’s cover of his own My Sweet Lord. Preston’s version is much closer to Harrison’s original concept than the composer’s own take. In his defence during the My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine plagiarism case, Harrison said that he had been inspired not by early-’60s girlband pop, but by the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 hit Oh Happy Day. That influence is acutely apparent on Preston’s recording, but less so on Harrison’s chart-topper. Indeed, had Preston scored the big hit with it, not Harrison, it might have been Ed Hawkins initiating the plagiarism litigation.

 

California Dreamin’

John and Michelle Phillips wrote California Dreamin’ in 1963, suitably while living in New York, before forming The Mamas and The Papas and while John was still with a group called The New Journeymen. Fellow folkie Barry McGuire helped John and Michelle land a recording contract. In gratitude, they gave McGuire a song for his next album: California Dreamin’, which was recorded (with the now formed Mamas & Papas on backing vocals) in 1965, but was released only in 1966. It was supposed to be McGuire’s follow-up to Eve Of Destruction, but The Mamas and The Papas recorded the song themselves and released it as a single in 1965, initially to widespread indifference. Only when it started getting airplay on a Boston radio station did the song become a hit in early 1966. McGuire insists that the Mamas & Papas didn’t so much re-record the song as replace his voice with Denny Doherty’s and the harmonica solo with the flute. Listen to the two versions and judge for yourself.

 

Suzanne

Several of Leonard Cohen’s most famous songs were first recorded by folk warbless Judy Collins: Sisters Of Mercy; Bird On A Wire; Since You’ve Asked; Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye – and Suzanne. The song was born in Montréal, landmarks of which are described at length in the song. Cohen already had a chord pattern in place which he then married to a poem he had written about Suzanne Verdal — the beautiful wife of the sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, a friend of Cohen’s — whom he fancied but, as the lyrics have it, touched only in his mind. One night in 1966, a year before Cohen released his debut album, he played the finished song over the telephone to his friend Judy Collins, who was already a star on the folk scene. Duly enchanted, Collins recorded the song for her In My Life album, which was released in November 1966.

 

Where You Lead

Kate Taylor was (and still is) the younger sister of singer-songwriter James Taylor. She was well-connected: on her debut album, Sister Kate, she had the backing of such luminaries as Linda Ronstadt, Merry Clayton, The Memphis Horns, various Wrecking Crew legends, her brother James – and Carole King. The great songwriter lent Taylor two songs which would appear on her great Tapestry album: Where You Lead and Home Again. Taylor’s LP came out in January 1971; Tapestry a month later. Taylor’s version of Home Again in included as a bonus.

 

Me And Bobby McGee

Kris Kristofferson wrote Me And Bobby McGee, but as it was with several of his classic songs, others it to record it first. Janis Joplin was the one to have the great hit with it, and Kenny Rogers & The First Edition recorded it before her. But the first version was recorded by Roger Miller in 1969. His was a mid-tempo country-pop number, rather bereft of emotional engagement, an entirely misjudged drumtrack and, in the carnivalesque “la la la” part some ill-advised ’60s horns and some background whooping. It didn’t set the world of music alight, making it to #12 in the country charts, and failing to dent the pop charts. KK got around to recording it, and a couple of country types mucked about with it over the following few months, before Janis Joplin – a former lover and friend of Kristofferson’s – decided it was really a blues-rock number. Recorded just a few days before her death, Joplin is initially restrained before launching into a climax of screams and groans, as was her wont.

 

Rhinestone Cowboy

Larry Weiss was a prolific songwriter. In the 1960s, he co-wrote hits such as Bend Me Shape Me, Hi Ho Silver Lining and Spooky Tooth’s Evil Woman. Sporadically he also recorded his own songs. One of these was Rhinestone Cowboy, inspired by a phrase he had overheard in a conversation. The song appeared on Weiss’ Black And Blue Suite album, and it was released as a single (at least in West Germany).

The story goes that Glen Campbell heard the song on the car radio as he was on his way to a meeting with his record company, and thought about suggesting to record it. But before he had the opportunity to do so, the record company presented their own bright idea: how about this Rhinestone Cowboy song by Larry Weiss. In the original version, Weiss sounds much like his old Brill Building chum Neil Diamond. Campbell made the song his own, with that soaring voice which expresses such a forfeit of hope. Released in May 1975, it went on to top the pop and country charts simultaneously, the first time that had been done since 1961.

In 1984, Weiss finally got a project he had been working on realised – a movie starring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone. Its title: Rhinestone.

 

Mr Bojangles

There is no truth to the old chestnut that Mr Bojangles tells the story of the great Bill Robinson. Folk/country singer Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote and first recorded the song, tells the story of being in a New Orleans holding cell for public disorderliness with, among others, a street dancer (a white one, because cells were segregated). These public performers were generically nicknamed Bojangles (after Robinson). This man told his tales of life and of his grief for his dead dog. Urged on by the other cellmates, he proceeded to give them a tap dance. In 1968, three years after the incident, Walker recorded the song about that experience. Mr Bojangles is by far his most famous contribution to popular music. The second-most important would be to inspire Townes van Zandt to start writing songs.

The song was covered by several well-known performers but became a hit only in 1971, when the Nitty Gritty Band took it the US #9, drawing from Walker’s folk arrangement. The best, and probably best-known, version was recorded a year later, by Sammy Davis Jr, drawing from a cover by Bobby Cole. Sammy was a hoofer himself, of course, so in his younger days would have known many characters such as Mr Bojangles, even in his family of entertainers. Sammy could identify with the song, and he delivered a beautiful performance, with the right mix of carefree spirit (the whistling) and drama which his protagonist projects.

 

Black Magic Woman

Released in 1968, Fleetwood Mac’s Black Magic Woman is “three minutes of sustain/reverb guitar with two exquisite solos from Peter [Green],” according to Mick Fleetwood. Carlos Santana covered it on 1970’s Abraxas album and retained its basic structure, but changed the arrangement significantly with a shot of Latin and hint of fusion. It became one of Santana’s signature tunes, while Fleetwood Mac had to remind audiences that the song was actually theirs. The Black Magic Woman was Green’s girlfriend Sandra Elsdon who refused to sleep with him – hence the line “don’t turn your back on me baby, you might just pick up my magic stick”.

 

A Groovy Kind Of Love

A Groovy Kind Of Love was written in 20 minutes in 1965 by Carole Bayer Sager, barely 21, and 17-year-old Toni Wine. The song, one of the first to riff on the new buzzword “groovy”, was apparently based on the Rondo from Sonatina in G Major by Muzio Clementi. It was first recorded by the short-lived duo Diane & Annita — Diane Hall and Annita Ray. Annita had appeared alongside the likes of Fats Domino and Big Joe Turner in the rock ‘n’ roll movie Shake Rattle And Roll, in which she performed the song On A Saturday Night. The song was left off the soundtrack album. She met Diane Hall as a member of Ray Anthony’s Bookends. There is very little information about them as a duo, and rumours even had it that the Diane & Annita act was in fact Sager recording under a false name. In any case, the single didn’t go anywhere, nor did its second incarnation, a version by Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells, produced by the great Bertie Berns.

The English group The Mindbenders had enjoyed a US chart-topper with Game Of Love, but by mid-1965 they suddenly were without their frontman, Wayne Fontana, after he walked out in a middle of as concert. As luck would have it, the now Fontana-less band came to record A Groovy Kind Of Love, with future 10cc member Eric Stewart on lead vocals, and had a huge hit with it, reaching #2 both in the UK and US. It was the only real success the group would have before disbanding in 1968, by which time another future 10cc member, Graham Gouldman, had joined.

 

Ring Of Fire

At the time when June Carter was falling heavily for Johnny Cash, she was regularly writing songs with fellow country singer Merle Kilgore. As Kilgore recalled it, Ring Of Fire was born the day June spoke to him about her love for Cash. Later, seeking an idea for a song, June remembered a letter she had received from a friend going through a divorce which described love as “a burning ring of fire”. And thus a classic song title (which even appealed to the manufacturers of haemorrhoid ointment; Roseanne Cash blocked its use in an ad for such a product) was born. The song essentially describes June’s feelings for Cash. But it was her sister Anita Carter who recorded it first, in November 1962. In fact, the song was only half-finished when Anita was ready to record it. June and Kilgore banged the rest together in ten minutes, fortuitously retaining the word “mire” from a provisional lyric.

Cash liked the song when he heard Anita’s record (as he well should) and decided he would record it. Deferring to his future sister-in-law, he waited four months before recording his version. In the interim he had a dream about the song featuring Tijuana trumpets — possibly inspired by June’s comment about her having borrowed the song’s swirling sound from the music at a merry-go-round in Villa Acuna, Mexico. Shortened to Ring Of Fire, Cash’s version was a hit, his first since 1958, thus saving his about-to-be-cancelled recording contract with Columbia. Four years later, Kilgore was the best man at Johnny and June’s wedding.

 

The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan

Shel Silverstein was something of a Renaissance Man: a poet, childrens’ author, cartoonist, screenwriter and composer. In the latter incarnation, Silverstein wrote several hit songs, including A Boy Named Sue and The Ballad of Lucy Jordan. In 1971, Silverstein selected the yet unknown Dr Hook & the Medicine Show to appear on the soundtrack he wrote for the Dustin Hoffman film Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?. He proceeded to write the lyrics for many Dr Hook songs, including the notorious Sylvia’s Mother, Cover Of The Rolling Stone and Lucy Jordan. Dr Hook’s 1974 version of the latter made negligible impact, but Marianne Faithfull’s cover five years later became a big hit.

 

The Air That I Breathe

Albert Hammond composed The Air That I Breathe with frequent collaborator Mike Hazlewood and released it on his debut album in 1972. It starts of uncertainly, but mid-way through hits a strange stride. Perfect it is not, but certainly interesting. According to Hammond, it was written for a physically unattractive girl while Hazlewood came up with the title upon glimpsing LA’s smog. The song was then recorded by Phil Everly in 1973, but became a hit in the hands of the briefly resurgent Hollies a year later. Subsequently Hammond and Hazlewood received an unexpected songwriting credit on Radiohead’s Creep after the awful Thom Yorke stole from The Air That I Breathe for Creep.

 

Wild Thing

One of rock’s most iconic songs was written by actor Jon Voight’s younger brother, James Wesley, who took the name Chip Taylor. The first version of Wild Thing, by the New York band The Wild Ones, was released in 1965. Headed by one Jordan Christopher, they are said to have been the houseband of what has been called New York’s first disco, The Office. Taylor wrote Wild Thing for them as a favour to A&R man Gerry Granagan. It’s not very good at all, certainly not in comparison to The Troggs version, which replaced the Wild Ones’ whistle interlude with an ocarina solo (the ocarina is an ancient ceramic wind instrument).

Taylor has recalled that he wrote the song in a few minutes (“the pauses and the hesitations are a result of not knowing what I was going to do next”) and had a low opinion of it. Likewise, The Troggs recorded it in 20 minutes, during the same session that produced their follow-up hit With A Girl Like You. They worked from Taylor’s demo, rather than the Wild Ones’ version. Chip Taylor also wrote Angel Of The Morning, which featured in The Originals – The 1980s.

 

Black Betty

One of the hardest rocking hits of 1977 was Ram Jam’s blistering Black Betty, but it is an old African-American folk song favoured by labour gangs. The recording here is the oldest in existence, preceding the better-known one by Lead Belly (who often is credited with writing it) by six years. This is a 1933 field recording made by the musicologists John and Alan Lomax in 1933 of the convict James “Iron Head” Baker, then already 63, and backing band of prisoners at Central State Farm in Texas. The Ram Jam version wasn’t even the first rockified adaptation. In 1976, a year before the Ram Jam hit, it was recorded by an outfit called Starstruck, which included future Ram Jam member Bill Bartlett.

Civil right groups boycotted the song because it was thought it insulted black women. Anthropologists are undecided what exactly a “Black Betty”, perhaps a rifle, or a bottle of whiskey, or a whip (as Lead Belly claimed), or a penitentiary transfer wagon, or indeed a prostitute. In the Ram Jam lyrics Betty clearly is a woman, probably of African-American heritage, from Birmingham, Alabama.

 

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Nina Simone first recorded Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood in 1964 as a slow, soulful blues ballad, her voice so deep in places you’d think it was a man singing it. A year later The Animals took hold of it, and – as they had done with the traditional song House Of The Rising Sun – turned the number inside out, speeding it up, reintroducing the signature opening chords (which almost unnoticably appeared at the end of Simone’s version) and Alan Price’s glorious organ riff, and giving the soul-rock a bit of a flamenco sound. Twelve years later, in 1977, Leroy Gomez & Santa Esmeralda covered the Animals version, adding a touch of disco to the mix, to produce a dramatic and eminently danceable hit.

Denis

In 1978 Blondie enjoyed their breakthrough with a slice of power-pop new wave: Denis. It was a cover of a 1963 hit for for Randy & the Rainbows. Denise reached #10 on the Billboard charts, but after the follow-up barely scraped into the Top 100, that was it for the doo-woppers from Queens. The French verse in Blondie’s version was necessary to explain away the object of desire’s gender-change.

I Fought The Law

Thought by many to be an original Clash song, the more knowledgeable will refer to I Fought The Law as a Bobby Fuller Four song. But even that was a cover of the 1960 song by the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s erstwhile band. Written by Sonny Curtis, one can almost hear Holly sing it. In the event, the song made no great impact until Fuller’s 1964 recording. Fuller was found dead just as the single was becoming a hit (some say suicide, some allege foul play – few suicides involve beating one’s self up before imbibing petrol). The session drummer on the Fuller version, rumour has it, was a young Barry White. A generation later, it became something of a pub-punk classic as spat out by Strummer on the Clash version.

 

Barbara Ann

The Beach Boys never wanted Barbara Ann to be a single release; the LP it came from, Beach Boys Party!, was an informal jam session recorded to fulfil a contractual obligation. The group, and whoever else was around, were playing whatever came to mind while they were getting drunk. At one point, Dean Torrence of surf-pop duo Jan & Dean, who had previously recorded Barbara Ann in 1962 and was recording in an adjacent studio, popped in. Torrence suggested the song and sang lead on the recording with Brian Wilson. Torrence left half an hour later, and was not credited on the album. Obviously, the light-hearted Barbara Ann, with its fluffed lines and subsequent laughter and with session drummer Hal Blaine on ashtrays — listen closely at 1:05 — did not quite meet the sophisticated production values which had already been evident on recent recordings, such as California Girls. And still, Barbara Ann reached the US #2.

Barbara-Ann (it was originally hyphenated) had been a 1961 US #13 hit for The Regents, an American-Italian doo wop group from the Bronx. They went on to have only one more Top 30 hit, Runaround. Barbara-Ann had initially been recorded as a demo by The Regents in 1959. When they couldn’t land a record contract, the group folded. A couple of years later, a group called The Consorts, which included a Regents’ member’s younger brother, dug out the demo and played it at auditions. One record company, Cousins, liked Barbara-Ann and released it — but not by the Consorts, but the Regents’ version. The Regents hurriedly reunited, and the song quickly became a local and then a national hit.

 

El Condor Pasa

El Condor Pasa was a mammoth hit for Simon & Garfunkel in 1970, but by then the song was already 57 years old. Written in 1913 by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles for a musical of the same name. Paul Simon hadn’t heard that, but a hit version by the Peruvian band Los Incas with whom had become friendly. Los Incas leader Jorge Milchberg told Simon that the melody was a traditional Andean folk song which he had arranged (and collected royalties for). It took an amicably resolved court case brought by Robles’ heirs to have the tune’s real composer credited.

 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Wimoweh

Finally, one of the most foul stories of songwriting theft: that of Mbube (the song known more widely as The Lion Sleeps Tonight or Wimoweh), with even the venerable Pete Seeger involved in the deceit; though he comes out of it a lot better than others.

The man who wrote and first recorded it, a South African musician named Solomon Linda, died virtually penniless, having been duped into selling the rights to the song for a pittance to the Italian-born South African record label owner Eric Gallo. Gallo pocketed the royalties of the prodigious South African sales, in return allowing Linda to work in his packing plant. Apart from performing on stage in South Africa, where he was a musical legend in the townships, Linda worked there until his death at 53 in 1962 — nine years after Seeger and the Weavers had a US #6 hit with it, and a year after The Tokens scored a huge hit with the song in a reworked version. No laws were broken in this deplorable story of plagiarism, but the rules of ethics and common decency certainly were.

Mbube was introduced to American music by Pete Seeger, who adapted a fairly faithful version of the song. Still, Seeger didn’t even transcribe the word “uyiMbube” properly, even though he had received a record of the song which had a label stating the title on it. Thus “uyiMbube” became “Wimoweh”.

Seeger later pleaded ignorance about the intricacies of music publishing, and, to his credit, deeply regretted not insisting firmly enough that Linda be given the songwriting credit. He had sent his initial arrangers’s fee of $1,000 to Linda and insisted that the song’s publishers, TRO, should keep sending royalties to the South African. Apparently they periodically did so, though Linda’s widow had little idea where the money — hardly riches (about $275 per quarter in the early ’90s) — came from. Some family members say the payments started only in the 1980s. Whatever the case, neither Linda nor Seeger were credited for the song now known as Wimoweh. The credit went to Paul Campbell, a pseudonym used by TRO owner Harry Richmond to copyright the many public-domain folk songs which TRO published.

The Tokens’ version took even greater liberties. But this time nobody could claim ignorance because Miriam Makeba, who grew up with the song, had released it in the US in 1960, a year before The Tokens’ version was created, as Mbube, or The Lion (mbube means lion). It is fair to say that George David Weiss, who rearranged the song for The Tokens, at their request, should not be denied his songwriter credit. Weiss dismantled and restructured the song, turning a very African song into an American novelty pop song. RCA and mafia associates producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore (we met those two charmers as co-writers of Can’t Help Falling In Love in part two the Elvis Originals) claimed co-writing credit and the rights to the song, deciding that Mbube was an old African folk song and therefore in the public domain. They might well have thought so in good faith, but a minimum of research would have established the facts, even before the age of Google. Or perhaps not: they pulled the same stunt with Miriam Makeba’s Click Song (the clicking is a distinctive sound in the Xhosa language), which the Tokens released as Bwanina. They got away with that, because Makeba’s number was based on an old folk song. Not so with The Lion Sleeps Tonight, to which Gallo, the record label owner from South Africa, had asserted his US rights in 1952 and then sold it to TRO. A whole lot of wheeling and dealing took place, with the upshot that the credit now included TRO’s fictitious Paul Campbell. Again, Linda was left out in the cold.

It was only at the beginning of the 2000s that Linda’s family took legal action, and that only after Richmond, Weiss and the mafia pals started to wrangle about the ownership to the song. Solomon Linda’s family eventually won a settlement which entitles them to future royalties and a lump sum for royalties going back to 1987, largely due to an extensive Rolling Stone exposé by South African one-book wonder novelist Rian Malan.

Here’s the kicker: Solomon Linda was quite delighted at the international success of his song; he didn’t realise that he should have received something for it — even if that something was just an acknowledgment that he wrote the song. Read the full story of Mbube.

 

As always, CD-R length, home-covered covers, PW in comments. And, yes, in some of these cases it is a bit harsh to refer to the artists who covered their own sings as usurpers, but, as any old hack will tell you, style is style.

1. The Leaves – Hey Joe, Where Are You Going (1966)
The Usurper: Jimi Hendrix (1966)
2. Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman (1968)
The Usurper: Santana (1970)
3. Barry McGuire – California Dreaming (1965)
The Usurper: The Mamas and The Papas (1966)
4. Flying Burrito Brothers – Wild Horses (1970)
The Usurper: The Rolling Stones (1971)
5. Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr. Bojangles (1968)
The Usurper: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1970)
6. Larry Weiss – Rhinestone Cowboy (1974)
The Usurper: Glen Campbell (1975)
7. Roger Miller – Me And Bobby McGee (1969)
The Usurper: Janis Joplin (1970)
8. Anita Carter – (Love’s) Ring Of Fire (1963)
The Usurper: Johnny Cash (1963)
9. Kate Taylor – Where You Lead (1971)
The Usurper: Carole King (1971)
10. Judy Collins – Suzanne (1966)
The Usurper: Leonard Cohen (1967)
11. Diane & Annita – A Groovy Kind Of Love (1965)
The Usurpers: The Mindbenders (1965), Phil Collins (1988)
12. Billy Preston – My Sweet Lord (1970)
The Usurper: George Harrison (1970)
13. Albert Hammond – The Air That I Breathe (1972)
The Usurper: The Hollies (1974)
14. Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show – Ballad Of Lucy Jordan (1973)
The Usurper: Marianne Faithfull (1979)
15. Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (1964)
The Usurpers: The Animals (1964), Santa Esmeralda (1977)
16. Kai Winding with Vocal Group – Time Is On My Side (1963)
The Usurper: The Rolling Stones (1964)
17. Dee Dee Warwick – You’re No Good (1963)
The Usurpers: Swinging Blue Jeans (1964), Linda Ronstadt (1974)
18. The Regents – Barbara-Ann (1961)
The Usurper: The Beach Boys (1965)
19. Randy and the Rainbows – Denise (1963)
The Usurper: Blondie (1978)
20. Crickets – I Fought The Law (1959)
The Usurper: Bobby Fuller Four (1966), The Clash (1979)
21. The Wild Ones – Wild Thing (1965)
The Usurper: The Troggs (1966)
22. Ann Cole with The Suburbans and Orchestra – Got My Mojo Working (1957)
The Usurper: Muddy Waters (1957)
23. Roy Hawkins – The Thrill Is Gone (1951)
The Usurper: B.B. King (1970)
24. James Iron Head Baker & Group – Black Betty (1933)
The Usurpers: Lead Belly (1939), Ram Jam (1977)
25. Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds – Mbube (1939)
The Usurpers: The Weavers (as Wimoweh, 1957), The Tokens (as The Lion Sleeps Tonight, 1961)
26. Edric Connor and The Caribbeans – Day Dah Light (1952)
The Usurper: Harry Belafonte (as The Banana Boat Song, 1956)
27. Orquesta del Zoológico – El Cóndor Pasa (1917)
The Usurper: Simon & Garfunkel (1970)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    September 20th, 2018 at 10:43 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Brad
    September 21st, 2018 at 12:47 | #2

    Dude,
    Thanks for the very informative, very entertaining read. I’m going to download this, but I wanted to let you know that the stories of the origin of these songs is greatly appreciated. I’ll be sharing.
    Brad

  3. Rhodb
    September 22nd, 2018 at 02:37 | #3

    Nice work Amd

    Always like the original series and appreciate the work that goes in.

    Regards

    Rhodb

  4. musiclovertoo
    September 24th, 2018 at 01:19 | #4

    great mix. love your test in music. thanks for making this available. looking forward to the listen.

  5. Pete
    October 4th, 2018 at 00:38 | #5

    Another great selection dude. Thanks for putting this together and your extensive and well researched “sleeve notes”.

    Best, Pete

  6. Rick
    October 15th, 2018 at 10:13 | #6

    hello Dude
    I seriously collect original versions, Where You Lead and Home Again, I found hard to tell, so couple years ago I emailed Kate Taylor’s agent and asked. I got a personal reply from Kate herself, she told me that before she recorded them she heard Carol’s recordings, and what she heard were not demos, but the finished recordings, so her answer was that the versions on Tapastry were reecorded first
    cheers Rick

  7. halfhearteddude
    October 16th, 2018 at 22:46 | #7

    That is excellent information, straight from the source. Thank you for sharing, Rick.

    As far as I can ascertain, Taylor’s LP was released in January; Tapestry in February 1971. That would make it the original by release date; a bit like “Wild Horses” had already been recorded by the Stones but first released by the Flying Burrito Brothers. Of course it’s grossly unfair to describe King or the Stones as “usurpers”. But let’s not have details get in the way of a running gag.

  8. Sean Smith
    October 25th, 2018 at 15:05 | #8

    There is a recording of Bruce Springsteen singing Suzanne with one of his early bands (Castiles?) that was made before Cohen released his version. Bruce learned it from Collins’ record.

  9. James
    November 24th, 2018 at 08:44 | #9

    Thnkz for the wonderful stories for all these songs.

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