Ray Stevens (The Streak, Guitarzan, etc.) was the first person to record the seminal Kris Kristofferson song “Sunday Morning Coming Down“, in1969. It is a true testament to one of the great songs of the era (or ever really) that it doesn’t lose any of its power no matter who recorded it. Here it is, if you must:
Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother, was the first artist to record “Midnight Train to Georgia, a year before the version by my second-favorite female singer of all-time, Gladys Knight. Here it is, if you insist:
“Twist and Shout” was originally recorded in 1961 by an anonymous group of hipsters named The Top Notes, and produced by Phil Spector. I like it, but as you can hear yourself, it bears little resemblance to what it became. Covered by everyone including The Beatles, The Who, The Mamas and the Papas, and Doris Pandolfi, a folk singer from Tonawanda, New York whose act was a precursor to that of GG Allin. Really? You want to? Ok, slow-boat:
Here’s a song that you hear every few fucking minutes, either for a Cialis commercial, or Enzyte, or Zoloft or Percocet or Cymbalta or Depends Adult Undergarments (with the fresh Rose-Scent® release pouch). “Vacation” by The Go-Gos. Like I discussed in a previous post, bands who burst onto the scene with big debut releases often find themselves desperate for ways to repeat their initial success. So when they needed a follow-up to “Beauty and the Beat”, I would imagine a band meeting ensued wherein they all looked at each other and asked, nervously, “Anyone got anything?” And one of them piped up “Well, my old band recorded a catchy tune that didn’t really go anywhere…” And the producer said “GIMME!!!!!!” Like to hear it? Here it goes…
This guy works at my office. And a couple of his bitches, too.
And finally, here’s yet one more thing I can’t really talk to anyone about. From Wikipedia:
Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet is a 1971 composition by Gavin Bryars. It is formed on a loop of an unknown homeless man singing a brief stanza. Rich harmonies, comprising string and brass, are gradually overlaid over the stanza. The piece was first recorded for use in an Alan Power documentary which chronicles street life in and around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo, in London. When later listening to the recordings, Bryars noticed the clip was in tune with his piano and that it conveniently looped into 13 bars. For the first LP recording, Bryars was limited to a duration of 25 minutes; with the invention of the cassette tape, Bryars was able to complete a 60-minute version of the piece; and later, with the advent of the CD, a 74-minute version.
The version below features Tom Waits, but the original is just as moving, if not more. But I can’t find it. Isn’t it funny that humans do this?