Cover Tracks by My Favorites
Despite writing their own original songs, at some point in their careers all of Quirky T’s favorite musicians have recorded cover versions of other musicians’ songs. This week’s post will look at some of these cover songs.
The Beatles were big fans of Motown and performed many cover songs in their concerts in the early 1960’s. Their first six U.S. albums all contain covers of songs including “Please Mr. Postman” and the very well done “Twist and Shout.” http://youtu.be/pVlr4g5-r18
The reason The Beatles began to write more of their own songs was because at multiple band concerts, sometimes a band playing before The Beatles would play the same cover songs that The Beatles had planned to play. So The Beatles figured if they wrote and performed their own original songs, no one else would be playing them. (Until they became genius songwriters and the best band ever, so many other musicians did cover versions of their songs).
Later on, as solo artists, John, Paul, George, and Ringo covered other artists’ songs and had success with them as Ringo Starr did in 1974 with “You’re Sixteen”, John Lennon in 1975 with “Stand By Me”, and George Harrison in 1987 with “Got My Mind Set on You”. http://youtu.be/6GdeU0ww4zY In 2012, Paul McCartney released a CD of cover versions of standards called “Kisses on the Bottom”. It is a little too sleepy for me.
Phil Collins is also a fan of Motown and in 1982 his version of The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” http://youtu.be/sttWmXkYkd8 went to #1 in the UK. In 2010, he released “Going Back”, an entire CD of him covering Motown songs. Interestingly, he also covered a song by one of my other favorites, The Beatles. On his first solo album, “Face Value”, in 1981, Phil Collins did a cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” I always wondered of all the great Beatles songs to choose from, why he chose to do a cover of that one.
Gloria Estefan is a fan of the 70’s music she grew up listening to. In 1994, she released “Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me”, a collection of cover songs from that time. Two huge hits came from this CD – “Everlasting Love” http://youtu.be/VxCJbwPqrL0 and “Turn the Beat Around.” http://youtu.be/AAfT-itSrIc I like Gloria’s versions better than the originals which I hadn’t heard before. Currently, Gloria is planning another CD of cover songs called “The Standards” which will be released this September. Hopefully, it won’t be as sleepy as Paul McCartney’s covers of standard songs.
Jon Secada also recorded a CD of covers of classic songs. In 2010, he released “Classics” in English and “Clasicos” in Spanish.
Huey Lewis and the News have released cover songs as singles and albums. Their great album, “Sports” in 1983 contains a cover version of Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues”. They also did a cover of “It’s Alright” which became a top ten hit in 1993. In 1994, their CD “Four Chords & Several Years Ago” contained covers of 50’s and 60’s doo-wop and rock. More recently, Huey Lewis and the News released “Soulsville”, a CD of covers of soul songs from Stax Records.
Among the many cover songs Barry Manilow has done, my favorite is The Four Seasons’ song, “Let’s Hang On” in 1981. He has also released several CDs full of cover songs including 1998’s “Manilow Sings Sinatra”, and separate CDs with the greatest songs of each decade from the 50’s – 80’s.
Except for The Beatles, my favorite musicians recorded cover songs after they established themselves as successful songwriters and musicians. Most of them were drawn to do these cover versions because of their admiration for the originals. It is interesting to hear my favorite musicians sing other musicians’ songs. On many tracks, I liked my favorites’ versions better than the originals. In some cases, I wonder why they bothered to remake the originals.
Guitar Train passengers, have your favorite musicians recorded cover songs? If yes, tell Quirky T which artists, which songs, and what you thought of the results.
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