Rabz’ Radio Show December 2022: Covers and the Covered


It’s always “interesting” to discover that a song you may have assumed was written by a certain artist or band turns out to be a cover. A classic example of this is posted below as the first of the intro tracks.

Another interesting aspect of covers relates to the lively discussion/arguments/shouting matches that might arise about whether a particular artist/band has covered a song and made it their own. That is, the cover is considered to be better than the original. There are many songs written by Bobby Zimmerman for example, that could be included in this category, given his somewhat “esoteric” (and not to everyone’s taste) vocal and musical stylings. In his favour, the songs were pure gold nuggets just begging to be refashioned in a more “listenable” form. His version of “Like a Rolling Stone”, however, has never been bettered, even by Jimi.

To stimulate some discussion and debate, at this point I’ll list some songs that have been extensively covered, the original artist and the definitive (in my opinion) version. Some of my favourite ever songs are on this list. They include:

Heard it through the Grapevine: Writers were Whitfield/Strong, original artist was The Miracles, definitive version by Gladys Knight and the Pips (sorry, Marvin)

Song to the Siren: Writer/original artist Tim Buckley, definitive version by This Mortal Coil

Hey, Mr Tambourine Man: Writer/original artist Bob Dylan, definitive version by the Byrds

All along the Watchtower: Writer/original artist Bob Dylan, definitive version by Jimi Hendrix (honourable mention XTC)

I can only give you everything: Writer/original artist Them, definitive version by Naz Nomad and the Nightmares (i.e. the Damned)

Spirit in the Sky: Writer/original artist Norman Greenbaum, who also performed the definitive version

Out of Time: Writer/original artist the Rolling Stones, definitive version a dead heat between The Stones’ and Chris Farlowe (given they’re basically musically identical)

Sea of Love: Writer/original artist Phil Philips, definitive version by Horace Andy

Sweet Jane: Writer/original artist Lou Reed/Velvet Underground, definitive version by the Cowboy Junkies (although the Velvet’s version is also magnificent)

Anyway, here’s the two intro tracks:

I think it’s going to rain today: Writer/original artist Randy Newman, definitive version by UB40

Song to the Siren: Tim Buckley on the Monkees’ TV Show, 1968

Enjoy, Cats!

Please post your favourite songs that have been covered at some point including either the original or your preferred cover version. Again, I’m barely scratching the surface here. Plenty of space in the comments section, so go for it and let’s see some spirited debate. You know you want to.

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110 responses to “Rabz’ Radio Show December 2022: Covers and the Covered

  1. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    ‘Without You’ by Badfinger (1970).

    Subsequently a hit for Nilsson and much later Mariah Carey.

  2. calli Avatar
    calli

    All Along the Watchtower.

    Dylan covered by Hendrix.

  3. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    ‘To Love Somebody’ by Barry & Robin Gibb (1967).

    Covered by 100s of artists, including Janis Joplin & Nina Simone, but my favourite version is The Flying Burrito Brothers (1973).

  4. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    calli …

  5. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    ‘River Deep Mountain High’ by Phil Spector et al; a hit for Ike & Tina Turner, covered by many, but notably by Brisbane’s own The Saints.

  6. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    The Stranglers, “walk on by

    Dionne Warwick, “walk on by

    The latter version’s film clip – pure art and beauty …

  7. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    The Isley Brothers ‘Twist and Shout’, covered by The Beatles and backed by ‘Honey Don’t’ on the 45rpm.

  8. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    The Stranglers, “walk on by”

    The structure of their version copies ‘Light My Fire’ too.

  9. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Mentioned a band yesterday, or Thursday. Someone said Pussy Riot so I said Leningrad Cowboys.

    Leningrad Cowboys Back in USSR (2011)

    The Beatles had bad hair, but there’s bad hair and there’s really bad hair.

  10. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    Speaking of The Doors, ‘Hello, I Love You’ is a copy of The Kinks ‘All Day & All of the Night’.

    😀

  11. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    She’d been pretty much relegated to the background by this stage, but Christine McVie, RIP.

    My favourite cover of that instant classic. Two young peoples (sister and brother?) bringing the authenticity.

  12. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    ‘Red, Red Wine’ by Neil Diamond, as covered by UB40.

  13. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    The structure of their version copies ‘Light My Fire’

    Yep. Which is why I just loved WOB (Stranglers) the first time I heard it. Homage.

  14. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    OK…and this is probably it for me:

    ‘Take Me to the River’, by Al Green as covered by Talking Heads.

  15. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    Oh…and recently deceased Mike Nesmith deserves a mention:

    Linda Ronstadt and several others covered his ‘A Different Drum’ and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band covered ‘Mary,Mary’ on their seminal album ‘East-West’. Nesmith/ The Monkees originally performed both on The Monkees TV show.

    In regard to Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’, check out his own later electric version on ‘Starsailor’ too.

  16. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Fiest does Inside and Out, by Gibb and Gibb of the Bee Gees.
    I never knew it as a Bee Gees song, but was blown away. Masterful, she’s certainly made it her own.

  17. calli Avatar
    calli

    I was sure it was a Dylan song, Rabz. Am I wrong?

  18. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Can’t go past Jeff Buckley, who included Hallelujah from the great Leonard Cohen for one of the finest albums of the nineties.

    Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (1994)

    I like Cohen’s original better but it fit so well in Buckley’s LP. For which I’ll take liberty to add another from that album, which is an original.

    Grace – Jeff Buckley (1994)

  19. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    calli – please read the introductory text, Squirette – it’s included in the list of examples.

  20. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    Already mentioned The Saints as cover artists, but it should be noted that Bruce Springsteen covered their ‘Just Like Fire Would’.

    I don’t have a lot of time for Springsteen, but that’s quite something for a band from Brisbane that never quite made it beyond the pub scene here & in the UK.

  21. calli Avatar
    calli

    Oh. Sorry. Speed reading is my downfall.

    How about Forever Young? Youth Group did an excellent cover, and I love the clip.

  22. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    A cover of Eric Bogle which always brings tear to me eyes.

    Pogues – The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (1985)

    From Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, which is one of the finest album titles ever.

  23. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Rog – the Saints are up there in the pantheon of Aussie Bands. Trailblazers in their time.

    Never particularly energised by the Bailey, but Ed K is a dead set legend.

  24. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    I don’t have a lot of time for Springsteen

    Don’t let this on to JC.

  25. chrisl Avatar
    chrisl

    Every song that Chuck Berry wrote
    Was covered by somebody else
    Usually white guys

  26. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Whip it! You know you love them. Whip it good!

    Devo – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (1978, from Rolling Stones, 1965)

  27. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    (Jerry Casale from Devo seems to be having a fine time. Here’s a vid from last year of him doing Whip It with a band of four hot babes in Akron, Ohio. All with wearing the hats too. I am seriously impressed!)

  28. P Avatar
    P

    This Ole House, originally written by Stuart Hamblen and published in 1954, hit the charts at #1 in the UK, Australia, Ireland and Sweden upon its release by Shaky in 1981

    Shakin’ Stevens – This Ole House

  29. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley

    Magnifique.

    Cats – do not ever listen to this song if you’re suffering through a broken heart. Recommended, it is not. 😕

  30. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Great stuff, P.

  31. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Sad he drowned in the Mississippi.
    But what a way to go out.

  32. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Here’s a vid from last year of him doing Whip It with a band

    BoN – that was awesome. The head bowls were of special significance, were they not?

    Not to mention the meaning of their name, which I tried to essay last night in a comment about humanitee’s future.

  33. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Dear Prudence – the Parkinson.

  34. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Dear Prudence – the Parkinson.

    We think alike Rabz, I was trying to get a decent vid of Hendrix doing Sgt Pepper, but I couldn’t find anything good enough. Those guys did songs!

  35. eric hinton Avatar
    eric hinton

    Patti Smith Gloria
    Janis Joplin (well, she would have made it her own) Me and Bobby McGee
    Joe Cocker With a little help from my friends
    Iggy Pop Wild One

  36. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Cohen’s Hallelujah was robbed of its brio by the metrosexually mewling Buckley Jr.

  37. Bear Necessities Avatar
    Bear Necessities

    ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’ – Originally performed by The Arrows but taken into another galaxy by Joan Jett.

  38. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Wondermints- Knowing Me, Knowing You
    …big in Japan. Makes the ABBA sayonara anthem an arena-sized anthem of new hope.l

  39. P Avatar
    P

    I Will Always Love You” is a song written and originally recorded in 1973 by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton.

    Whitney Houston recorded a soul-ballad arrangement of the song 1992,
    with 20 million copies sold it became the best-selling single of all time by a female solo artist.

  40. Bear Necessities Avatar
    Bear Necessities

    ‘Black Betty’ – Original recording by Leadbelly. Other versions done Ram Jam, Spiderbait.

  41. Bear Necessities Avatar
    Bear Necessities

    Good Time Tonight by the Easybeats. INXS and Jimmy Barnes did a fantastic version for Live Aid.

  42. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Songs you didn’t know were covers… re-covered-
    Tainted Love
    Gloria Jones, original and best
    Soft Cell, definitve and most monetized
    Then thirty years later The Living End dusted it off for a barnstorming rockabilly encore favourite…
    Imelda May then took Cheney’s lead and had a good crack too

  43. local oaf Avatar
    local oaf

    Zambezi, 1956 original version possibly by Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra.

    Great cover version by The Piranhas 1982
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg4Po07SEmM&t=15s

  44. mc Avatar
    mc

    Original before my time

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D24yIYiVBc

    But I can remember The Damned doing it on count down,

  45. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Triple play.

    Blondie – The Hunter Gets Capture By The Game

    Grace Jones – The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game

    Massive Attack – The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game

    I have the third on CD, which is an excellent soundtrack, better than the movie! Smokey Robinson wrote it in 1966 for the Marvelettes.

  46. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    ‘Black Betty’ – Original recording by Leadbelly. Other versions done Ram Jam, Spiderbait.

    The Spiderbait version with the drums on the trailer, and the black hot-rod, is awesome.

  47. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    Bear Necessities says:
    December 3, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Good Time Tonight by the Easybeats. INXS and Jimmy Barnes did a fantastic version for Live Aid.

    Minor correction: it was for Australian Made, a series of concerts to showcase Australian talent.

    One of my long-time favourites from that series is the live version of Melting in the Sun with the extended call-and-response intro. Recorded it to cassette off the radio back in the day and listened frequently. Not a cover, but I’m including it anyways.

  48. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Keep them coming, cats! 🙂

  49. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    One aspect of songwriting that was the default, I guess, up to the ’60s was the separation of song-writer and performer.

    This writer covered an Aretha Franklin song that she had originally written.

  50. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    mc says

    You very canny commenter. Eloise being one of my favourite songs of all time. The Damned’s version is my favourite, although Bazza’s remains impeccable.

  51. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    NKP is in the House! 🙂

  52. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    Kent Music Report #1 single, 31-Aug-1970: In the Summertime (Mungo Jerry)
    Kent Music Report #1 single, 7-Sept-1970: In the Summertime (The Mixtures)

  53. GreyRanga Avatar
    GreyRanga

    Blinded by the Light, Bruce Springsteen. His original version is so wishy washy not the way he does it now but made famous by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band sung by Chris Thompson.

  54. johanna Avatar
    johanna

    Re ‘Hallelujah’ – another superb cover is that of k d lang.

  55. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Thanks Joh, I’ll have a listen after BM’s cover of Eloise has finished …

  56. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    My preference is generally for a cover to be a new interpretation. If you’re just doing the original then you’re a cover band. Okay for local live performances, but if you’re releasing something then preferably make it different.

    The best work by Little Johnny in his LRB era? I think I became familiar with this ahead of hearing the Beatles one and that had the effect of the earlier version not quite matching between lyrics and tempo.

  57. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Hey Cats – is no one going to contest the list in the introductory text above?

    C’mon, you know you want to. 🙂

  58. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    NKP – my view is that a cover should never even remotely resemble the original.

    It’s all about “re-interpretation”, man …

  59. johanna Avatar
    johanna

    And, I really rate Janis Joplin’s imperfect but magnificent rendition of ‘Summertime.’

  60. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    Cover your own song (with a little help) and add steam in the process.

  61. GreyRanga Avatar
    GreyRanga

    I prefer José Feliciano doing Light my fire and Creedence Clearwater I heard it through the grapevine.

  62. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Joh – KD does have one magnificent set of lungs. The orchestral backing is awful, but thankfully almost aurally invisible.

    I’ve love to hear to her in the same setup as the Buckley Jr. That is, a studio and not much else.

  63. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Granga – ask and ye shall receive …

    Creedence Clearwater Revival – I heard it through the grapevine

    When eleven minutes is barely enough … 🙂

  64. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Hey Cats – is no one going to contest the list in the introductory text above?

    No, because I agree with it all.

    The Rolling Stones – Like A Rolling Stone

    It’s one of things that are ineffably inevitable: that The Rolling Stones would cover Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone.

  65. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    BoN – I’ve never heard that Stones’ cover (but hopefully will soon)

    Currently listening to one of jupes’ favourite ever songs, with only eight minutes to go …

  66. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    Grace Jones seems to like her covers:

    Grace Jones: Walking in the Rain.
    Flash and the Pan: Walking in the Rain.

  67. Crossie Avatar
    Crossie

    Sea of Love: Writer/original artist Phil Philips, definitive version by Horace Andy

    I prefer this version by Robert Plant.

  68. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Just because.

    Alice in Chains – Kashmir (2007)

    With a whole orchestra!

  69. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    A different Watchtower. Definitive for me in terms of number of listens, but perhaps not for others.

  70. GreyRanga Avatar
    GreyRanga

    Thanks Rabz I played it on repeat from Canberra to Sydney and back also Dire Straits Once upon a time in the west another time. I never get sick of them.

  71. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Yep, if you’re going to cover, you’ve got to reach beyond the original.
    Summertime – Billy Stewart

  72. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Dammit, afetr letting that play on the youtubes, it ain’t the punchy mariachi sprint I wanted
    This one

  73. Crossie Avatar
    Crossie

    It’s rare to have two versions of a song be released at the same time. I remember buying both of these:

    Hasta Manana – Abba

    Hasta Manana – Judy Stone

  74. johanna Avatar
    johanna

    Speaking of k d lang, here is an unusual cover version – k d doing Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ in a duet with the great man himself. Two extraordinary voices in perfect communion.

  75. Crossie Avatar
    Crossie

    For some reason I recorded the Aria Awards and am watching it now. One of the performing acts is Amyl and the Sniffers. The guitar work was almost the same as The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. Then the singer opened her mouth and just shouted. I saw the connection when the caption said the song title is Guided By Angels. Not exactly a remake but a lot was stolen from The Angels.

    I take it Amyl relates to the stimulant amyl nitrate, the mood enhancer popular among gays at some stage, not sure if it is still.

  76. mc Avatar
    mc

    Do parodies count.

    This was the first single I owned

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJjMnHoIBI

  77. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    crossie – cease and desist. For your own sanity if no one else’s.

  78. Crossie Avatar
    Crossie

    Yeah, I was fast forwarding some of the acts and speeches but I must give it a miss particularly when I enjoy the ad breaks more than the program.

  79. Crossie Avatar
    Crossie

    Rabz, I thought it was a shortcut to checking out what the kids are listening to these days.

  80. Nelson_Kidd-Players Avatar

    mc says:
    December 3, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    Do parodies count.

    It’s more about, as Rabz says, the reinterpretation of the original. 🙂

  81. Big_Nambas Avatar
    Big_Nambas

    johanna says:
    December 3, 2022 at 10:32 pm

    Speaking of k d lang, here is an unusual cover version – k d doing Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ in a duet with the great man himself. Two extraordinary voices in perfect communion.

    Spectacular……………….

    Second concert I went to was Roy Orison opening for the Rolling Stones at the Sydney show ground, Roy blew my mind and the Stones won me for life.

  82. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    A now unfashionable personage gettin’ on down with Hollyweirdos, as he did before being cast out by his “family” like a piece of garbage.

    The Yeezey will always be one of my favourite artists, allegedly regrettable outbursts notwithstanding.

    His current struggles are a tragedy, unfortunately being played out in real time, in real life.

    I remember when he was the Man – “It can never be perfect”.

  83. Big_Nambas Avatar
    Big_Nambas

    Bruce of Newcastle says:
    December 3, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    Hey Cats – is no one going to contest the list in the introductory text above?

    No, because I agree with it all.

    The Rolling Stones – Like A Rolling Stone

    It’s one of things that are ineffably inevitable: that The Rolling Stones would cover Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone.

    Yes yes yes one of my all time favorites, and one of the Stones all time great live tunes.
    Thanks BON you made me feel 30 again.

  84. Pedro the Loafer Avatar
    Pedro the Loafer

    Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence .
    Magnificent cover by Disturbed.

  85. Pedro the Loafer Avatar
    Pedro the Loafer

    Another great cover of The Sound of Silence. This one “a cappella”;

    Pentatonix.

  86. Figures Avatar
    Figures

    Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits.

    Impossible to imagine how it could be topped.

    And yet, The Killers did just that.

  87. Anchor What Avatar
    Anchor What

    Under the Boardwalk – originally the Drifters, but more prominent here was the Rolling Stones cover version.
    Wikipedia has the story – the Drifters were booked to record the song but the night before the session their lead singer died, suspected heroin overdose!
    Rather than cancel, they went in and recorded it with their second best vocalist.

  88. Anchor What Avatar
    Anchor What

    The little South Aussie battlers band called Zoot did an outrageous cover of Eleanor Rigby.
    It took the pathos and string quartet backing of The Beatles version and did a heavy rock version that’s a bit of an ordeal to listen to, but notable for how different it is to the original.

  89. Crossie Avatar
    Crossie

    Anchor What, as a kid I heard the Zoot version of Eleanor Rigby and loved it. When I eventually got to hear the Beatles original I thought it was a cover.

  90. duncanm Avatar
    duncanm

    For covers that sounds nothing like the original (and more of the stunning Grace Jones)

    Bill Withers’ Use Me.

    Bill Withers
    Grace Jones

  91. GreyRanga Avatar
    GreyRanga

    Zoot had Darryl Cotton, Rick Springfield and Beep Birtles in it.

  92. GoTiges Avatar
    GoTiges

    The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their album Dirt Does Dylan does the best cover of Girl from the North Country.
    Alison Krauss and Robert Plant on their album Raising Sand do a really good cover of the old Everly Brothers song Gone Gone Gone. They also do a cover of the old stones song ‘Fortune Teller’.

  93. duncanm Avatar
    duncanm

    I think I first heard this on JJ(J?) unplugged?

    Mariachi el Bronx covers Prince’s I would die for you

    Oddball of a band.. but some great stuff all in standard Mariachi musical form.

  94. P Avatar
    P

    Goody Goody original 1936 and recorded by many in the 50s.

    Frankie Lymon – Goody Goody

  95. Luzu Avatar
    Luzu

    Because The Night by Patti Smith then covered by 10,000 Maniacs. I have only ever found a live recording but Natalie Merchant’s voice is pure gorgeousness to me and the slightly slower tempo works.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6JNcGhBWJZA

  96. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Some fantastic stuff here Cats – a lot of catching up to do.

  97. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Katz – Nellie’s cover of Itchykoo Park is excellent.

  98. Rabz Avatar
    Rabz

    Sea of Love: Writer/original artist Phil Philips, definitive version by Horace Andy
    I prefer this version by Robert Plant.

    Crossie – the incomparable Tom Waits

  99. Christine Avatar
    Christine

    This is so good.
    Thank you! I nearly missed it.

  100. Pogria Avatar
    Pogria

    Bugger! so bloody late to the party.
    The GREATEST Oz cover of all time, ( how many of you old bastards could forget this?!?),
    still gives me tingles and makes the hair on my arms stand up.

    The incomparable Billy Thorpe.

  101. mc Avatar
    mc

    Rabz, another late entry. This one might not be known by people outside of the former Cainistan/Kirnerstan.

    The Hollowmen’s cover of Husker Du’s, Don’t want to know if you are lonely:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv29V6R9DpY
    Original :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEVi0IxC0yM

    Like LRB/Beatles Help, saddish song originally done up beat. Though I must say, I think in the case of Beatles’ Help, the original version is infinitely better. The original version gives it a feeling of a young man trying to cope with difficulties in life. The John Farnham version just sounds like a whiner.

    These versions of Don’t Want To Know if You are Lonely sound like two different songs.

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