Walk On By – The Stranglers: This is a 1978 cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song, made famous by Dionne Warwick. With its ‘Light My Fire’-style extended keyboard and guitar solo, this is the Stranglers at their most Doors-y, but with added ‘beef’ courtesy of JJ Burnel’s inimitable bass-sound rumbling through it.
Along with ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’ and ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘Walk On By’ formed part of the Stranglers’ pre-punk covers repertoire, back when they were a working pub-rock band based in Guildford.
Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In – KIlldozer/Alice Donut:
Written for the 1967 musical ‘Hair’, this medley was originally released as a single by US 60s/70s group The 5th Dimension. The vocals on this cover version are shared by Killdozer’s Michael Gerald – the gruff voice – and Alice Donut’s Tomas Antona – the squeakier one. The song builds to an ‘All You Need Is Love’-style sing-along, including brass accompaniment, and finally descends into a totally unrehearsed toilet-flush ending, which makes me laugh.
Gloria (live- from ‘Alive She Cried’) – The Doors:
As you would expect, Jim Morrison delivers a vastly extended, less suggestive, more sexually explicit version of the original ‘Gloria’, originally written and performed by Van Morrison with his 60s band, Them. The Lizard King draws out the story of this sexual encounter with a young girl – more than likely a prostitute – in his familiar percussive blues-rap-stylee.singing “it’s getting harder…getting chewed on fast”, as the songs builds to its final rousing chorus, which is pre-empted by his premature climax: “too late! too late!”
Johnny Was (live – from ‘Hanx!’) - Stiff Little Fingers:
This is a song from Bob Marley’s album ‘Rasta Vibration’, which is about a mother whose son is shot in the street by a stray bullet. It appears to be credited to Marley’s widow, Rita, who was also a member Bob Marley’s group of backup singers, the ‘I Threes’. The extended drum intro of this particular live version builds to some beautiful interplay between the band’s two guitarists and new meaning is added to this song when sung by this Belfast punk band during the troubles in Northern Ireland.
Lost In Music – The Fall:
Originally recorded by Sister Sledge for the 1979 album ‘We Are Family’, the Fall’s version – musically more early-U2 than Chic – couldn’t be further from the slick-disco song produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. Included on the Fall’s excellent 1993 album ‘Infotainment Scan’, it was apparently one of 17 mixes of the song.
My Way – Sid Vicious:
This is Sid Vicious’s version of the Paul Anka song, made famous by Frank Sinatra – apparently the most covered song in history. Vicious changed a large part of lyric, mainly because he didn’t know the words very well when he recorded it, and instead improvised lines, including “to think I killed a cat, but may I say, not in a gay way”! The video for the song, taken from the film ‘The Great Rock n Roll Swindle’, is famous for Sid Vicious, dressed in a white tuxedo, taking out a gun at the end and shooting at the audience; and the song is also used to great effect at the end of the film Goodfellas.
Baker Street – Foo Fighters:
I’m not a big fan of the Foo Fighters, but I love this overblown ‘quiet-loud-quiet-loud’, chunky-guitar-driven take on Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 single – the sax parts replaced by lead guitar.
Baby I Love You – The Ramones:
This is a cover of the Phil Spector-produced 1963 hit by The Ronettes, and comes from the album he produced for the Ramones, ‘End of The Century’. Released in 1980, the recording sessions at Spector’s house were suitably dramatic, and are worth reading about if you get the chance. Spector loved front-man Joey Ramone’s voice and shared his love of bubble-gum pop and its song lyrics; and here he shows just how much.
I still remember seeing this on Top of The Pops in 1980. I remember, too, that I asked my parents for the End of Century album for my 13th birthday, and I was really gutted when I opened the 12 inch-square wrapped gift only to find they had got me an album of TV sports themes instead!
All Tomorrow’s Parties – Japan:
This is a cover of the Velvet Underground’s song from the ‘Velvet Underground and Nico’ album (1967). Originally sung by Nico, it was apparently Andy Warhol’s favourite Velvet Underground song. Japan’s version, taken from the 1979 album ‘Quiet Life’, with its saxophone and fretless-bass, adds an 80s decadence to original lyric, which Lou Reed wrote about the scene around Andy Warhol and his New York studio,The Factory.
Hurt – Johnny Cash:
‘Hurt’ was written by Trent Reznor for the 1994 Nine Inch Nails album, ‘The Downward Spiral’. It was one of the last songs Johnny Cash recorded before he died, as part of his American Recordings series of albums produced by Rick Rubin, acclaimed record producer and co-founder of Def Jam Records.
Acoustic and so less mechanical than the Nine Inch Nails version, it is more emotive, and made more poignant by the fact it is sung by Johnny Cash who is facing imminent death from a neuro-degenerative disease. He died the following year. The song, as well as its nostalgic accompanying video, form something of a epitaph for his incredible musical career. I particularly like how as the song builds to its conclusion, Rubin allows the sound to distort. It sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 at 09:25. It is filed under Blog, News and tagged with "alice donut", "Decibel Team’s Top Tens", "Foo Fighters", "Johnny Cash"", "Sid Vicious", "Stiff Little Fingers", "the Doors", killdozer, metadata, music discovery, music metadata, music recommendation, Ramones, stranglers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Comments are closed.