Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner are hosting the Remakes Blogfest, a chance to discuss the remakes of songs, movies, and TV shows that are equal or better than the original versions. For the full list of participating blogs, please visit Alex's blog using the above link.
I debated about participating in this blog fest for a while before
signing up. I'm pretty conservative in my music tastes. I stopped
following popular music when I became a devout Beatles fan in 1995, and I
tend to imprint on the first version of a song that I hear. However,
the Beatles covered quite a few songs on their early albums, so I can
discuss a couple of them.
First up is "Twist and Shout." It was originally performed by a group
called the Top Notes and was produced by Phil Spector. That version
flopped, so I'll post the more familiar Isley Brothers version instead:
It's a pleasant version, perhaps a soulful one (see the comments below
the video on YouTube). The Beatles' version, however, is much more
intense and rocking. When they recorded it for the Please Please Me album,
they saved it for the final song of a twelve-hour recording session,
since they knew how hard it would be on John's voice, especially since
he was suffering from a cold at the time. John was only able to manage
one take, but it was an immortal one. The version I posted below is from
the first Ed Sullivan Show appearance. (I didn't see the album version
on YouTube.) The sound isn't great, but you can still enjoy John, Paul,
and George harmonizing.
The Beatles didn't release the Isley Brothers' "Shout" until Anthology 1,
but thankfully they performed it on TV a couple of times. While the
original version is great (and probably the one I heard first), the
Beatles' cover is also fun. I think the energy both groups put into
their versions is comparable.
I could go on with Beatles covers, but I'd like to finish off with "A
Hazy Shade of Winter" by both Simon & Garfunkel and the Bangles. As a
teen in the 80s, I most likely heard the Bangles' cover before the
original. I love the energy the Bangles put into it; plus they also
remind me of the heroines of my Season Avatars series. I can see Gwen,
Jenna, Ysabel, and Kay performing this song (though they would be
dressed more modestly) to welcome winter in Summon the Seasons.
Which versions of these songs do you prefer? Feel free to let me know in the comments.