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Songs you didn’t realise were cover versions


Mr Monday
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I’m sure we all must have a few of these.  You’re growing up hearing a song on TV or the radio, and to you it is the original version.  Only later you realise that actually someone else released it first.  For my wife it was Robert Palmer’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me which I considered grounds for divorce for a while :lol:

 

I’ll start off with a couple of my perhaps less obvious ones, posting the cover version first.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Respect, by Aretha Franklin actually an Otis Redding song. It does sound like she made it her own but still surprised me.

 

George Harrison, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix had a load of these. They're probably still paying royalties even if they're dead.

 

'I think we're alone now' was a cover of a tune from the sixties. The original was really good too.

 Sorry for not linking, I think the cover versions are better here anyway

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@David Kenny Yes, I remember an version of it was used in the closing ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympics, and I wondered what the music from Pulp Fiction was doing there until the commentary explained its origin.

 

 

 

 

For a long time, I thought that Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - as featured in Tiny Toon Adventures - was an original They Might Be Giants song:

 

 

Then I found out it was a cover:

 

 

 

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I thought Don't Leave Me This Way was by Thelma Houston for a good 30 years but originally it was Teddy Pendergrass singing for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. 

 

His is probably my favourite version now. Teddy could certainly sledgehammer a song into submission with his voice and that track is perfect for it.

 

 

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There's loads of these where, and I know how stupid this seems, it depends on whether you know the original or not. So like George Harrison "Got My Mind Set On You"  just sounds like a George Harrison song, unless you knew the James Ray version before you heard it.

 

A couple that I didn't realise were covers, mostly because no-one has heard of the original, were Natalie Imbuglia's "Torn" and Beyonce's "If I were a Boy".

 

Probably the most famous "I didn't know it was a cover" has to be Elvis's "Hound Dog", though?

 

And my favourite muso-bore trivia question "who did the original of Brittney Spears' "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"?" Joan Jet, right? Nope, the Joan Jet version is a cover of the Arrows original. 

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1 hour ago, ScouserInExile said:

Probably the most famous "I didn't know it was a cover" has to be Elvis's "Hound Dog", though?

Big Mama Thornton, who recorded Hound Dog first, had another example of this later on. Her 'Ball and Chain' was covered with a lot more commercial success by Janis Joplin.

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1 hour ago, ScouserInExile said:

Probably the most famous "I didn't know it was a cover" has to be Elvis's "Hound Dog", though?

What about girls just want to have fun?

 

The only one that surprised me was finding out Annie Lennox covered No More "I Love You's". Yes, the grammar in the title is terrible.  I thought the dooby dooby vocal was so quintissentially Annie Lennox it could have only been her. Nope. Of course as an adult I realise that the single is from an album of covers and it makes total sense.

 

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This one is probably pretty well known but is also interesting (if you're a music nerd).

 

Eric Carmen's All By Myself takes its music at least from Rachmaninov's 2nd piano Concerto.

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately the music was only in the public domain in the US, so Carmen got shafted by Rachmaninov's estate when it was released elsewhere.

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This one was a bit of a surprise when I heard it. Interesting that most of Andy Weatherall's biggest hits were covers or remixes, or production jobs. No shade on him, he worked some serious magic with other people's ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus:

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, ScouserInExile said:

Probably the most famous "I didn't know it was a cover" has to be Elvis's "Hound Dog", though?

 

And my favourite muso-bore trivia question "who did the original of Brittney Spears' "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"?" Joan Jet, right? Nope, the Joan Jet version is a cover of the Arrows original. 


BBC4 Friday night material…they play those about every three weeks!

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3 hours ago, chris on the moon said:

What about girls just want to have fun

Elvis is more famous than Cindy Lauper, shirley? And Hound Dog is a bigger song than Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

 

What I do like about Lauper"s cover is that the original is quite creepy and sleazy (and not in a good way) - it's basically "women just want to have sex with me" - whereas hers turns it on its head and makes it "women can do what they want". 

 

 

If we're going for "massive artists famous songs" - Twist and Shout by The Beatles is a cover. The original was done by *quick Google* the Top Notes.

 

Evidently, House of the Rising Sun is one of, if not the, most coveted songs. The version that's generally considered the original is by The Animals, but it's a cover of a Bob Dylan recording of a song that had been on the folk scene for years. 

 

Eric Clapton built his career on covers. Cocaine, I Shot The Sheriff, After Midnight...

 

I'm always surprised when Red, Red Wine by UB40 crops up on these kinds of lists. Surely every knows the Neil Diamond version? The UB40 version even sounds like they're doing a cover of someone else's song...

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36 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

 

What I do like about Lauper"s cover is that the original is quite creepy and sleazy (and not in a good way) - it's basically "women just want to have sex with me" - whereas hers turns it on its head and makes it "women can do what they want". 

 

 

She had a similar effect on 'I Drove All Night'.

While I really like the Roy Orbison version, the whole 'Crept in your room, To make love to you' definitely sounds better coming from a woman. 

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Mickey by Toni Basil was originally a Racey album track called Kitty, hence the attempts to rhyme with “pretty” and “pity”. Toni did come up with the whole “oh Mickey you’re so fine” chant though which is kinda the main hook of the song. 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Made of Ghosts said:

Mickey by Toni Basil was originally a Racey album track called Kitty, hence the attempts to rhyme with “pretty” and “pity”. Toni did come up with the whole “oh Mickey you’re so fine” chant though which is kinda the main hook of the song. 

 

 


The Toni Basil album Word of Mouth that appears on is easily one of the very best to come out of the Eighties, every track is a banger:


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A classic.

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I heard Eric Clapton’s version first.  Both his and Greg Phillinganes version use lyrics added to the YMO original by Michael Jackson, but it didn’t make the final cut of Thriller.
 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Quest said:

Sakamoto himself recorded a version with MJ's additional lyrics around the time of Clapton's cover. It's shit though.

 

There has been some decent attempts at bolting MJ's demo vocals to the song. I do kind of miss all Clapton's guitar work from his version and tbh Jackson was in extra strong "HeeHee!" mode that day. I think it's the lost Thriller song though. More time and Jackson working with Clapton and it's a cracking version. 

 

There was an awful official club version from Jacksons estate a decade ago using his vocals. It sounded like a fucking Pitbull song. What a waste, listening to it again I'm surprised Mr Worldwide or Chris Brown didn't turn up to ruin it even more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

 

Happy Mondays originally covered it for an Elektra records 40th anniversary compilation album where (then) current acts signed to Elektra would cover something from the label’s back catalogue.  They absolutely smashed it and kept it for their own album, recording another Kongos track, Tokoloshe Man, for the Elektra album. 

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