Back in the early days of rock and roll, it was a common practice to expropriate the work of others. Original artists, many African American, didn’t have the savvy or the money to protect their work. In time, that changed, but imitation of the originals is still the sincerest form of flattery. Sometimes “Cover Tunes” are better. Sometimes they are worse. And sometimes, we didn’t know that the version we loved was a cover tune.
Here are fifteen famous cover tunes, from a Top-100 list created by the folks at Digital Dream Door.
1. Respect – Otis Redding (1965) | Aretha Franklin (1967)
2. Louie Louie – Richard Berry (1957) | The Kingsmen (1963)
3. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Gladys Knight & the Pips (1967) | Marvin Gaye (1968)
4. All Along The Watchtower – Bob Dylan (1967) | Jimi Hendrix (1968)
5. Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan (1965) | The Byrds (1965)
6. The House of the Rising Sun – Traditional | The Animals (1964)
7. Somebody To Love – The Great Society (1966) | Jefferson Airplane (1967)
8. Twist And Shout – Top Notes (1961) | The Beatles (1963)
9. Georgia on My Mind – Hoagy Carmichael & His Orchestra (1930) | Ray Charles (1960)
10. Dazed and Confused – Jake Holmes (1967) | Led Zeppelin (1969)
11. Wild Thing – Wild Ones (1965) | The Troggs (1966)
12. Surfin’ U.S.A. – Chuck Berry (1958, “Sweet Little Sixteen”) | The Beach Boys (1963)
13. I Got You (I Feel Good) – Yvonne Fair & James Brown Band (1962, “I Found You”) | James Brown (1965)
14. The Twist – Hank Ballard and the Midnighters (1959) | Chubby Checker (1960)
15. At Last – Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (1941) | Etta James (1960)
Quick Takes:The Radio.Garden
We told you yesterday about how MTV played 22 hours of Monkee TV shows this week in 1986. That partnership made the band one of the biggest music stories of that year. To show how quickly the tides can turn, things went south the next year, after the trio couldn’t perform as MTV had assumed, as part of the Super Bowl festivities. The network flexed its muscles and pulled every Monkee video from the air. Not nice!
Chart dominance: April 4, 1964 – The Beatles, 1 through 5. March 1, 1978 – The Bee Gees, 5 of the top 5 (performing, writing, producing). November 29, 1969 Laura Nyro, three of the top 10 (songwriting, two, three, 10). February 23, 2019 – Ariana Grande, 1-2-3. (Via @the_60s_at_60)“Big Train’s” Big Throw – 1936
It took several attempts, but this week in 1936, baseball legend Walter “Big Train” Johnson replicated George Washington‘s legendary throw of a coin across the Rappahannock River.
On this date in 1954, the first mass polio vaccination was administered to a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School and the Watson Home for Children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the city where Dr. Jonas Salk had developed the vaccine. Later, the first community in the world to have every citizen under age 40 inoculated with the three-shot Salk vaccine series was the small western Kansas town appropriately named Protection. (I got the sugar cube.)With John Landecker and Jim Kerr in 2019
Shop Talk: Congratulations to Q104-FM’s iron man, Jim Kerr, on inking another contract extension. New York’s longest serving morning man got his start in the Ann Arbor market many moons ago. That’s me on the left with John Landecker and Jim at the 2019 Detroit Radio Reunion.
Have you given any money to your local Public Radio Station lately? In these uncertain times, they need your support more than ever.
Today in History:Joe Rosenthal’s Iconic Iwo Jima Photo – 1945
1927: The Federal Radio Commission began assigning frequencies, hours of operation and power allocations for U.S. radio stations. In 1934, their name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
1940: Folksinger/songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote ‘This Land Is Your Land.’
1940: Walt Disney’s second animated feature film, ‘Pinocchio,’ featuring the voices of Christian Rub, Evelyn Venable, Charles Judels, Frankie Darro, Walter Catlett, Cliff Edwards, and Dickie Jones as Pinocchio, opened in U.S. movie theaters, 16 days after its New York City premiere.
1945: The 28th Regiment of the Fifth Marine Division of the U.S. Marines reached the top of Mount Surabachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. As they raised the American flag, Joe Rosenthal took the famous photo of the event. That photograph inspired the Marine Corps Memorial Iwo Jima Statue, which stands near Arlington National Cemetery and is the largest cast bronze statue in the world.
1960: Wrecking crews began to demolish Ebbets Field in New York City, former home of the baseball Dodgers who had moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
1963: The Chiffons released the single ‘He’s So Fine.’
1964: The Beatles appeared on CBS-TV’s ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ for the third consecutive week. The taped segment showed the Fab Four performing ‘Twist and Shout,’ ‘Please Please Me,’ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand.’ Sullivan told his audience that these are ‘fine professional singers.’ Appearing live on the program were Cab Calloway, Acker Bilk, Morecambe & Wise, and Gordon & Sheila MacRae.
1965: Comic actor/writer Stan Laurel, of the comedy duo Laurel & Hardy, died following a heart attack at the age of 74.
1967: At RCA Studio B in Nashville, Elvis Presley recorded ‘Clambake,’ the title song of his 25th movie, which co-starred Shelley Fabares, Will Hutchins, Bill Bixby, and Gary Merrill.
1967: At EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles began recording the Paul McCartney composition ‘Lovely Rita‘ for the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album. The unusual noises after the line ‘and the bag across her shoulder made her look a little like a military man’ were made by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison playing comb and paper. The track was completed on March 21.
1968: Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers became the first player in the National Basketball Association to score 25,000 career points.
1970: The 5th Dimension guest-starred, singing and acting, on ABC-TV’s ‘It Takes A Thief.’ Their then-current hit ‘One Less Bell To Answer’ figured prominently in the story.
1970: The Doors‘ ‘Morrison Hotel’ became their fifth consecutive album to be certified Gold.
1972: After nearly five years of marriage, Priscilla Presley moved out of Elvis’ California home and into a two-bedroom apartment near the Pacific Ocean. The separation was formalized in July 1972, and their divorce was granted on October 9, 1973.
1988: The City of Chicago granted the Cubs baseball team the right to install lights at Wrigley Field and play up to 18 night games annually. The first night game was scheduled for August 8, 1988, but was rained out after 3½ innings with the visiting Philadelphia Phillies trailing, 3-1. The first official night game at Wrigley was held the following night, August 9, in which the Cubs defeated the New York Mets, 6-4.
1994: In Las Vegas, local and company officials attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
1995: Temptations bass singer (My Girl, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Just My Imagination, Ball Of Confusion, I Can’t Get Next To You, I Wish It Would Rain, I Know I’m Losing You, You’re My Everything, Cloud Nine, Psychedelic Shack, Runaway Child Running Wild) Melvin Franklin died of a brain seizure at age 52.
1997: NBC-TV aired the movie ‘Schindler’s List,’ completely uncensored.
1999: Country music singer Garth Brooks attended baseball spring training camp as a non-roster player with the San Diego Padres. The Padres Foundation agreed to contribute to the Touch ‘Em All Foundation in lieu of a salary to Brooks.
2002: The Bee Gees performed their final show as a trio at the Love and Hope Ball in Miami Beach.
2003: A story in the British tabloid newspaper News of the World claimed that singer Michael Jackson had undergone a number of painful skin operations to peel his skin white.
2010: A week after EMI Records announced that the iconic Abbey Road Studios were for sale, the British culture ministry declared the recording facility a historic site. The building ‘acts as a modern day monument to the history of recorded sound and music,’ said English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley.
2010: Businessman (Drake-Chenault Enterprises) Gene Chenault, co-founder with disc jockey Bill Drake of a radio syndication company that specialized in automation on FM radio stations, died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 90.
Today’s Birthdays:Johnny Winter – 1990
1685 George Frideric Handel, German-British baroque composer and organist (Messiah, Water Music), born in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, Germany (d. 1759)
1868 W. E. B. Du Bois, American civil rights activist, writer (Souls of Black Folk) and founder of the NAACP, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (d. 1963)
1889 Victor Fleming, American film director (The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind), born in Pasadena, California (d. 1949)
1904 William L Shirer, historian (Rise & Fall of 3rd Reich) (d. 1993)
1911 G. Mennen Williams, Michigan Supreme Court Justice/(Gov-D-Mich, 1949-60), born in Detroit, Michigan
1915 Paul Tibbets, US Air Force retired Brigadier General and Pilot of B-29 “Enola Gay” over Hiroshima (d. 2007)
1940 Peter Fonda, American actor (Easy Rider, Ulee’s Gold), born in NYC, New York (d. 2019)
1944 Johnny Winter [John Dawson], American blues guitarist (Silver Train), born in Leland Miss, (d. 2014)
1951 Patricia Richardson, American actress (Double Trouble, Home Improvement), born in Bethesda, Maryland
1955 Howard Jones, rock pianist/vocalist (Things Can Only Get Better)
1960 Naruhito, Emperor of Japan (2019-), born in Tokyo, Japan
1994 Dakota Fanning, American actress (I Am Sam, Man of Fire), born in Conyers, Georgia
Number one on this date in 1978, The Bee Gees‘ “Stayin’ Alive.” the second single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and is the tune we hear over the opening credits as the camera tracks John Travolta’s footsteps. N-Trance’s 1995 cover tune peaked at number one in Australia and on the RPM Dance/Urban Chart in Canada.
Thanks for listening!
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit