To be or not to be: that is the version

Yesterday I heard the umpteenth version of the Righteous Brothers’ song “You’ve lost that lovin feeling”, a huge hit from the middle 60’s. They say it’s the most versioned song ever (even more than Beatles’ “Yesterday”).

Many song versions are made by not very popular singers or groups, but sometimes there are well-known artists that decide to make their contribution. Oops! But what a contribution sometimes! It’s like a photocopy.

I think that versions must add something to the original piece. It’s not a matter of respect to the original, but a question of being creative. I remember when, for example, Nirvana was going to version the great David Bowie’s “The man who sold the world”; I expected a new powerful song, but it really disappointed me.

However, we can find some very originative versions which worth paying attention to. Five examples:

  • The Platter’s “Smoke gets in your eyes” has an extraordinary and (almost unrecognizable) version by Brian Ferry, adding a new rhythm, leaving apart some of the melancholy of the original song, and providing it with a sophistication more suitable for the 80’s.
  • Sting’s “Moon over Bourbon Street” has a review from year 2003. This new version I recommend you listen to, is named “Cornelius mix”. Hypnotic guitar, absorbing and quirky rhythm, … Splendid.
  • Noah sings Alan Parsons Project’s “Eye in the sky” accompanied only by a guitar. Her voice is impressive in this slow-tempo haunting piece.
  • Social Distortion’s vitamined “Billy Jean” incorporates some very good slight-punk action in the classic pop tune. Really enjoyable.
  • New Order’s “Bizarre love triangle” has an even more famous version from Jewel. She turns the impulsiveness from the techno original, and makes a calmed acoustic song. Her voice suits it perfectly, and sets the mood.
  • Sure, I´ve not included many brilliant versions. If you have some favourites, just tell us. 🙂

    Note: Talking about acoustics, unplugged concerts have given rise to a lot of acoustic reviews. The versions (those which really work as if they were new songs) usually go beyond a mere transcription of the same notes but for an acoustic instrument.

    Related Article: Remembering Synthesizers

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.