In my religious and academic lives I have an affinity for tracking down the original sources of ideas. Not surprisingly, this trait extends to other areas of geekdom including music. While there are no shortage of cover songs – with more coming every day – there are times when the cover version so completely overshadows the original that only few know whence it came.
In the interests of promoting music education, I’ve collected some of my favorite lost originals.
The Arrows – I Love Rock and Roll
Gloria Jones – Tainted Love
The Four Lads – Istanbul
Otis Redding – Hard to Handle
Neil Diamond – Red Red Wine
Louis Prima – Just a Gigolo
J.J. Cale – Cocaine
The Slade – Cum On Feel the Noize
Merrilee Rush – Angel of Morning
Cat Stevens – The First Cut Is The Deepest (forgot this one myself)
Jackie DeShannon – Bette Davis Eyes
1. I’ve always loved the irony that many educated Jews are familiar with this quote but do not know to whom it is attributed. To my knowledge the only instance where this citation is itself attributed is B. Megillah 15a which records this statement in the name of R. Elazar citing R. Hanina. Cue up Redemption Song.
Great post. One quibble: in the spirit of attribution, why include only the original recording artists and not the songwriters?
On a somewhat related point, I’ve attended numerous weddings at which I felt sure I was the only one who knew that the ubiquitous “Asher Bara” line dance tune is actually “Land Down Under” by Men at Work, circa 1982.
Good point. I think the omission is because there aren’t too many YouTube videos featuring songwriting.
This was fun! In the spirit of going back to the source, may I add two of my favorites that fall into this category…in these cases, the original artist was pretty famous himself, but never gets the credit he deserves for the song: 1) Red Rubber Ball (originally written by Paul Simon, but popularized by The Cyrkle and recorded by others), and 2) The Firsr Cut is the Deepest (originally recorded by Cat Stevens, but popularized by Rod Stewart, Cheryl Crow, and others).
I completely forgot about the Cat Stevens song and I even have his version in my playlist (far superior to the covers, you really feel his angst).
Will add now.
How could you have missed this?
Wasn’t an omission. The post discussed originals of cover songs, meaning, when a later artist not only performed someone else’s song but the song itself is known more by the cover version.
I intentionally didn’t include sampling, parodies, or in your instance, plagiarism.