Wednesday, 29 May 2013

10 Original Versions of Popular Songs

19 Days later and i'm back. Apologies all around for the lengthy divide. I think i'll do a bigger list in the near future as a reward for your patience. Covers! I've spoken of them before on here, but there is another side to cover songs. Some small bands get one of their songs covered by a popular artist and their new version is astronomically more popular than the lowly original. Some bands are cool with it, others not so much. So here's a look at the other side and a salute to the little(r) guy. 10 Original Versions of Popular Songs.

1. "Torn" - Ednaswap

"Torn" was originally written by an American duo back in 1993, two founding members of the LA group Ednapswap to be exact. A Danish artist named Lis Sorensen did a version of the song in her native language called "Braendt", but it was in 1997 when aussie Natalie Imbruglia was handed this song to kick start her singing career that "Torn" became a worldwide hit. Ednaswap did record a version in 1995, but it went unnoticed.

2. "Indian Summer" - Beat Happening

Beat Happening were a group from Olympia, WA formed in the 80's. They gained slight notoreity when Kurt Cobain named their album Jamboree as one of his favourites. "Indian Summer" is arguably the group's best known song, perhaps because it was covered by Luna one of Dream Pop Records' better known acts and again by Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie fame for the soundtrack for the Cobain doc About A Son.

3. "Hard Sun" - Indio

Indio was Gordon Peterson a Canadian musician from Toronto who's debut album was the 1989 release Big Harvest. He had high hopes for the record as did his record company as they sent him down to LA and even brought in some big names like Joni Mitchell to appear on the album. It wasn't as successful as they hoped however and Peterson has become kind of a recluse since. Until 2008 when Eddie Vedder released a version of the song "Hard Sun" for the soundtrack to Into The Wild. Indio wasn't too pleased and filed a lawsuit against the singer.

4. "Valerie" - The Zutons

It's hard to understand why this group didn't reach higher heights especially with a name like The Zutons. Seriously though, I actually like their song "Valerie" which was later covered by Amy Winehouse and became a global hit.

5. "Heart It Races" - Architecture In Helsinki

Architecture In Helsinki are an Australian band formed in 2000 who have been enjoying moderate success in their native land for the past decade. In recent history one of their songs "Heart It Races" has been picking up steam in the North America traveling/indie/jam scene after Pennsylvania group Dr. Dog released a version of the song.

6. "When I'm Up I Can't Get Down" - Oysterband

Great Big Sea have a knack of releasing covers of popular songs with a dash of their own East coast Celtic twist added in ("Run Runaway" and "It's The End Of The World As We Know It"). They didn't have to stretch very far though when they released a version of Oysterband's "When I'm Up" as the lead off single to the1997 album Play. Most listeners i'm sure didn't even know it was a cover.

7. "Into Your Arms" - Love Positions

Originally written by Robyn St. Clare of the Hummingbirds she didn't released her first incarnation of the song until 1990 as a part of Love Positions. The song is short, sweet and shy. Clearly begging for more, but afraid to show it's true colours to the world. The Lemonheads took care of it in 1993 when their version of the song soared to #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Chart and stayed there for 9 weeks.

8. "Am I Evil?" - Diamond Head

Coming out of the British Heavy Metal scene of the 70's it was bands like Diamond Head's influence over young musicians that helped kick start the Heavy Metal scene in America in the 80's. Members of Metallica in particular were very adamant about their love for the group and enjoyed covering their songs in early shows because no one knew the songs. As far as the crowd could tell they were originals. Covers would be a large part of Metallica's existence and they have even released a few albums with nothing but covers. Multiple songs by Diamond Head appear.

9. "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" - Bruce Springsteen

Though Bruce Springsteen is by no means an unknown, with a catalog of music as big as his, it's easy for modern bands to dip into it and pull out a lesser known track to put their spin on to. Rage Against The Machine weren't the only group to cover a track from the Boss. Manfred Mann's Earth Band had a massive hit with "Blinded By The Light" where Bruce's version barely saw the midday's sun.

10. "Hanging On The Telephone" - The Nerves

The Nerves were a 70's group from Los Angeles and were a part of a very tightly-knit and very underground power punk scene at the time. They garnered small attention from opening for The Ramones, but never became commercially mainstream. They did attract plenty of critical success and influenced many bands like The Knack, The Beat and Blondie. Blondie would take their song "Hanging On The Telephone" and make it a smash hit in the UK. Their version has even been covered several times by bands whom i'm sure hadn't heard the original.

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