Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Roxy Music Gets Really Jealous (1983)

Although I can't seem to locate the funds necessary to purchase the new Beatles remastered albums, I lately find myself in a Beatles mood. I have been listening to many of my Beatles albums for the first time in a while and have rediscovered some wonderful less-known gems such as "Hey Bulldog" from 'Yellow Submarine' and their song "Rain" (which was the flip-side to "Paperback Writer").

I have come to the conclusion that although I love most Beatles' tunes, my all time favorites seem to be written by John Lennon. I am also a huge fan of his later solo work, from which he created today's track.

This song was just one of a long line of what I call the "Apologies To Yoko" song series. There was "Woman" from 'Double Fantasy', "Aismasen (I'm Sorry)" from 'Mind Games', and of course "Jealous Guy" off of Lennon's landmark 1971 album 'Imagine".

But today's version of this John Lennon classic comes from the great 80's New Wave band Roxy Music. Roxy Music was founded by musical visionaries Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, and they had a string of syth-pop hits in the late 70's and early 80's. They are perhaps most well known for their song "More Than This" from their 1982 'Avalon' album. That song has been covered by many artists in a variety of styles.

But getting back to John Lennon, today's track is Roxy Music's cover version of "Jealous Guy" from their live four-track EP 'The High Road' which was released in 1983. Side one of the EP contains original live Roxy songs, but side two has these great live covers of both this John Lennon song and "Like a Hurricane" by Neil Young. It is a great record.

So here it is. Click the link to see why Roxy Music is just so jealous of John Lennon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Supremes Have A Hard Day (1964)

Well if you are a music fan, then you know that this week is all about The Beatles. Once every couple of years the biggest band in popular music comes out with something new and the world still goes crazy for it.

This week sees the much needed release of the entire Beatles' catalog in its much needed remastered form (or you could just listen to them on vinyl, like I do). There is also the unveiling of the The Beatles "Rock Band" video game. Once again, The Beatles are here, there, and everywhere.
On that note, today's track is a popular Beatles tune; But not by the Beatles because that would be way too obvious. It is a cover version of "A Hard Day's Night" by Diana Ross and The Supremes.

This was one of Motown's fast and cheap albums created to cash in on the popular British Invasion of the mid-1960's. Motown acts would often cover other popular artists of the day, and The Beatles were no exception. Sometimes it would create something great like Stevie Wonder's version of "We Can Work It Out" and sometimes it would just be okay. Such is the case with The Supremes 1964 album 'A Bit Of Liverpool.'

Although the album name-dropping the Beatles' home town of Liverpool, England would imply the album is mostly Beatles' songs, it is in fact filled with various cover versions of many different British artists. The Supremes sing songs by The Animals, Gerry & The Pacemakers, and The Dave Clark Five. The album is a very interesting listen because of the blending of the British pop sound with the Motown R&B style.

It is also fun to remember how new this song was to already be covered by other artists. The original Beatles version of "A Hard Day's Night" had just come out in late summer of 1964 as part of the movie soundtrack of the same name, and by late fall we had this album with The Supremes singing the same song. Recording and releasing records sure moved fast in those days.

So click the link below, to hear The Supremes work like a dog and sleep like a log.