This one's for Kitty!
*Kitty- Racey Smash And Grab
*Hanging On The Telephone- The Nerves DIY: American Pop I
This Wall Between Us- Emitt Rhodes Rainbow Ends
Neighborhood Kids- The Lads Out From The Shadows
Walking- The Eastern Dark Where Are All The Single Girls?
*Video Killed The Radio Star- Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club Video Killed The Radio Star
*Manic Monday- Apollonia 6 Demo
*Girls Just Want To Have Fun- Robert Hazard Demo
^I Want Candy- Bow Wow Wow I Want Candy
Drivin' To Drinkin'- Vance Or Towers Vance Or Towers
Sleep Tight- True Hearts True Hearts
*I Love Rock And Roll- Arrows First Hit
*Cum On Feel The Noize- Slade Sladest
*Once Bitten Twice Shy- Ian Hunter Once Bitten Twice Shy
She's In Love With Herself- Michael Carpenter The Big Radio
Out Of California- Yipes! Yipes!
Waiting (All Night Long)- Boys Boys
*God Gave Rock And Roll To You- Argent God Gave Rock And Roll To You
*New York Groove- Hello Keeps Us Off The Streets
*King Of The Night Time World- The Hollywood Stars Shine Like A Radio
*Money Changes Everything- The Brains The Brains
*Torn- Ednaswap Ednaswap
*Downtown Train- Tom Waits Rain Dogs
>Tainted Love- Gloria Jones Tainted Love
>The Tide Is High- The Paragons The Tide Is High
>(I've) Got My Mind Set On You- James Ray (I've) Got My Mind Set On You
*Sepheryn- Curtiss Maldoon Curtiss Maldoon
*China Girl- Iggy Pop China Girl
^Power Pop Peak: #62 Billboard Hot 100 7/3/82
*SacroSet: Cover Hits (Hit Covers?)
>Power Pop Prototype[s]: 1964, 1964, 1962
I did a ton of writing and research on the blog post for Show #145 so for this show I think I'll tell the story mostly with pictures. Being a record geek means your brain is packed with a ton of music trivia other people don't know and probably don't care about. In my college radio days this counted for something but since the Internet leveled the playing field, not so much. No matter, I still like knowing all the useless stuff I know, like who does the original versions of a lot of hit songs. That's the focus of this week's show I call it "Cover Hits"... or "Hit Covers" I never really decided. Anyway, here we go!
Toni Basil's 1981 smash hit earworm "Mickey" is a cover of British band Racey's far less annoying (or memorable) "Kitty" from their 1979 album Smash and Grab.
Blondie's 1978 single "Hangin' On The Telephone" was written by Jack Lee of Power Pop royalty The Nerves, who also included future leader of The Beat Paul Collins and future leader of The Plimsouls Peter Case. The song on The Nerves' first and only EP released in 1976.
The Bangles 1986 classic "Manic Monday" was written by the late great Prince (under the pseudonym "Christopher") for the 1984 debut of his protogees Appolonia 6. Once in the studio he reportedly lost confidence in Apollonia's vocal talents and decided to pull the song along with "The Glamorous Life," which later was a big hit for Sheila E.
Hair metal wankers Quiet Riot plundered Slade's catalog not once but twice. Their platinum selling 1983 album Metal Health included "Cum On Feel The Noize" which hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and they went back to the Slade well for "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" which made it up to #51 the following year.
After Quiet Riot's success you would've thought every hair band on the Sunset Strip would be pillaging the British Glam vault but lightning didn't strike again until 1989 when Great White reached #5 on the Billboard chart with a cover of Ian Hunter's 1975 UK Hit "Once Bitten Twice Shy."
|Stanley, Kulick, Carr, Simmons|
Kiss didn't do a lot of covers but those they chose were usually pretty cool. In the post-makeup era year of 1991 they released "God Gave Rock and Roll To You II" rewriting the lyrics to the verses of Argent's 1973 UK hit, adding a "II" to the title and, in perfect Gene Simmons' fashion, taking a co-writing credit on the song. (When it comes to making $$, that dude doesn't miss a trick.) This is the last Kiss song to feature Eric Carr (second from right above) who died of cancer later that year. Carr was too sick to play drums on the track but does contribute background vocals.
Cousin Rich and I were pretty shocked when Ace Frehley's album was the best of the four Kiss solo records released in 1978. Needless to say, the Spaceman did not seem like the most together guy. Yet, there's no denying "Fractured Mirror" and "Snowblind" are awesome! I also love "New York Groove," though I'm sorry I never got the single above, which is not only on blue vinyl but came with a free Ace mask! A few years ago I found out that "New York Groove" was another appropriation of a British Glam hit, this one from 1975 by the group Hello.
1976's Destroyer was my first Kiss album and I've probably listened to it a thousand times. I was surprised to learn recently that Side 1 track 2, "King Of The Night Time World," wasn't written by the band. Kiss had hooked up with LA scenester Kim Fowley, manager of The Runaways and The Hollywood Stars, and he brought a song by the latter group to the Destroyer sessions. Once again, a member of Kiss (Paul Stanley this time), along with producer Bob Ezrin, finagled songwriting credits on "King Of The Night Time World" which was on The Hollywood Stars' unreleased 1974 album Shine Like A Radio.
Along with Robert Hazard and Jules Shear, who wrote "All Through The Night," Cyndi Lauper's multi-platinum 1983 album She's So Unusual also bought a house or two for Tom Gray who wrote "Money Changes Everything" for his band The Brains in 1978. The song would later appear on the group's self titled debut album in 1980.
I've never been a big Bob Seger fan but you've got to feel for the dude the way the whole "Downtown Train" thing went down. The song originally appeared on Tom Waits' Rain Dogs in 1985. Bob Seger recorded his version in Los Angeles in early 1989. While traveling in England that summer, he met up with Rod Stewart and mentioned "Downtown Train" was going to be the centerpiece of the new Seger record. The ensuing he said/he said goes like this:
- Seger: "The next thing I knew , a month later [Stewart] recorded 'Downtown Train' in London and two months later he recorded it in the same studio I recorded it in Los Angeles."
- Stewart insists his version was recorded before he even spoke with Seger: "it's most disappointing to hear something like this, since the geezer knows very well the full truth. It sounds like sour grapes to me. Go ahead, Bob -- feel free to record something of mine, like 'Maggie May.'" (Wow- Rod Stewart is kind of a dick!)
Soft Cell's ginormous 1981 hit "Tainted Love" is a cover of a 1964 song by Gloria Jones. The mid-70's British Northern Soul movement revered obscure 60's American RandB records. By the time Jones' "Tainted Love" was tearing up the All Nighters at Va Va's and the Wigan Casino, she had joined Marc Bolan in T.Rex. The couple had a child together, Rolan Bolan, and it was Gloria Jones who was driving the Mini 1275 GT that crashed killing Marc Bolan on September 16, 1977.
|Gloria Jones and Marc Bolan|
While they were basically a rock band, Blondie were true musical chameleons. Between 1979 and 1981 they had Top 40 hits with Disco ("Heart of Glass," "Call Me" and "Atomic"), New Wave ("One Way Or Another" and "Dreaming"), Rap ("Rapture") and Reggae ("The Tide Is High") songs. What's more impressive is that Debbie Harry wrote or co-wrote all but the last. "The Tide Is High" was originally recorded in 1964 by Jamaican rocksteady group The Paragons.
George Harrison's "Got My Mind Set On You" from 1988 is the last #1 hit released by a Beatle in the US (c'mon Paul hop to it!) The song is another early 60's nugget given new life in the 80's. The original version was recorded by Washington DC RandB singer James Ray in 1962.
One of the most bizarre covers I unearthed for the show is Madonna's 1998 hit "Ray of Light" which is based on a 1971 song called "Sepheryn" by British folk music duo Curtiss Maldoon. In 1998 Clive Maldoon's neice reworked her uncle's song and brought the track to producer William Orbit who would later share it with Madonna. Everybody wins!
Since I played his "China Girl" during my Bowie tribute earlier this year, it seems only fair that I close this Cover Hits (Hit Covers?) show with Iggy's original. The song first appeared on the 1977 album The Idiot, produced by Bowie during their Berlin period. Iggy's version doesn't include the Chinese sounding guitar riff played by producer Nile Rodgers, who was a member of disco group Chic. Rodgers was worried the riff would be deemed "too corny" but Bowie loved it. One other fun fact, the other guitar player on the Let's Dance album is none other than Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Man, Iggy and Bowie- will we ever see another musical partnership like that? Sad to say, I don't think so.
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