Cover songs again? (Burgas edition)

Eli’s Comin’

lesley gore
Lesley Gore

I must blame Greg Burgas. Cover songs again? I wrote about them in 2019. But I forgot that I had ALSO done a post back in 2013 as well as one in 2021 that I did as a response to a meme.

But Greg wrote: “My Question of the Week is a pretty easy one, I think: What’s your favorite cover song?” EASY? Is he out of his mind? (Don’t answer that.)

ALSO, my friend Mary is currently studying cover songs. She tells me that Steven Van Zandt, he of the E Street Band, discussed in his biography what makes a great cover. He said it differs from the original by having a different tempo, different arrangement, different or slightly different genre, is sung by someone of a different gender from the original, and/or a different style.

In any case, I’m going to list MORE cover versions. I believe I haven’t written about them in my previous cover posts, though I may have noted them in pieces about a particular artist.

Oh, yeah, there is something called a re-cover, in which the artist covers their previous recording. One of my favorites is You Don’t Own Me by Lesley Gore. Here’s the original and the remake.

Seven Separate Fools

I think that Three Dog Night was one of the best cover bands ever. Mark Evanier wrote about them recently.

Chest Fever: The Band3DN
The Loner: Neil Young3DN
Lady Samantha: Elton John; 3DN
Mama Told Me Not to Come: Randy Newman3DN
Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here: John Hiatt3DN
I wrote a whole post about the history of Black and White, which is not my favorite 3DN track

13th Confessional

Most of the songs of Laura Nyro I first heard by someone else.

Eli’s Comin’: Nyro3DN
Stoned Soul Picnic: Nyro; The Fifth Dimension
Wedding Bell Blues: Nyro; The Fifth Dimension
And When I Die: NyroBlood, Sweat, and Tears


James Taylor did some nice covers. Here’s a list, though some are re-covered. Not all were better than the originals, and in fact, to me, his COVERS album was not that great.
Mockingbird: Inez and Charlie FoxxJT and Carly Simon
How Sweet It Is: Marvin GayeTaylor
Up On The Roof: The DriftersTaylor
Handy Man: Jimmy Jones; my favorite Taylor cover


Money: Barrett Strong; The Beatles
Chains: The Cookies; The Beatles
Got To Get You Into My Life: The BeatlesEarth, Wind, and Fire                      We Can Work It Out: The BeatlesStevie Wonder


(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman:  Aretha Franklin; Carole King, the co-writer
I Say A Little Prayer: Dionne WarwickAretha Franklin
Piece Of My Heart: Erma Franklin; Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin

Rock Hall Noms QUESTIONS

Beastie Boys, GnR, Chili Peppers will win. Who else, I don’t know. Donovan? King? Jett?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released its nominations in the last month or two. Here’s the nominating process. “Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.” So there’s some vague line about commercial success, but also “importance”.

Invariably, there are those who kvetch about who’s not on the ballot – if I were so inclined, I’d mention the Moody Blues and Yes.

Who will get in? Who SHOULD get in?

The Beastie Boys – will get in. I have none of their albums.
The Cure – not yet, but eventually. Have a couple of albums.
Donovan – I want to get in, badly; on my ballot. Have a half dozen of his albums.
Eric B. & Rakim – won’t. Have none.
Guns ‘N Roses – mortal lock, tho, like others, there are unnominated artists who started earlier I’d like to see first. Have 2 of their albums.
Heart – eventually, not this year. Have at least one.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – maybe; I think Joan’s history with the Runaways raises her cred. I don’t think I have any!
Freddie King – doubt he’ll make it, tho he should, as an early influence, but I admit I have no albums.
Laura Nyro – also nominated last year, doubt she’ll EVER get in as a performer; she OUGHT to get in as a songwriter. She’d be on my ballot. I have at least four of her albums.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – I wish others had gotten in before them. I have one album.
Rufus with Chaka Khan – Chaka should; Rufus, not so much. I have one Rufus’ greatest hits, plus a couple of Chaka albums.
The Small Faces – maybe will get in. I have one or two albums.
The Spinners – I have an irrational affection; they’d be on my ballot, but they probably won’t get in. I have at least two of their albums.
Donna Summer – Nah, though I do have a mostly live double LP that was given to me in the early 1980s.
War – Nah, though I like their greatest hits album that I own.

To recap: I’d vote for Donovan, Jett, King, Nyro, Spinners.
Beastie Boys, GnR, Chili Peppers will win. Who else, I don’t know. Donovan? King? Jett?

Here are some favorites of the nominees I want to win.

Donovan – Barabajagal (Love is Hot)
Donovan – Season of the Witch
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll
Laura Nyro – Eli’s Comin’
Spinners – Rubberband Man
Dionne Warwick & the Spinners – Then Came You

“A separate committee, composed primarily of producers, selects the inductees [for] the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award for Recording Excellence [which] has replaced the Sidemen category.” Whatever. Still want Billy Preston.

Halls of Fame QUESTIONS

The Baseball Hall of Fame votes were announced this week. I totally agree with the choices of Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven; I wanted Blyleven years ago. If I had had a ballot, I would have probably voted for the people who came in 1-7, plus 11: Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Mark McGwire.

Yes, I’d be voting for Mark McGwire, who, assuming he was taking steroids during his career – OK, he was – took them when they were not effectively banned by Major League Baseball. Rafael Palmiero, he of the finger-wagging to Congress that he was clean, then later suffers a suspension over the use of a banned substance, did much worse in the voting than a 500-HR/3000-hit batter would have in a pre-steroid era. I have publicly theorized that his performance in DC definitely cost him; he was not going to make it in his first chance.

Why can’t reliever Lee Smith get more love?

Eventually, I’d vote for Edgar Martinez; it’s difficult for me to pick a pure Designated Hitter, mostly because STILL hate the DH rule. And now that Alan Trammell has only five more years, I would likely start selecting him too. Rafy too, in a couple of years. My working theory is that once a bunch of steroid-era players are on the ballot, McGwire and Palmiero will get inducted, maybe in years 12 to 15 of their 15-year window of eligibility.

Meanwhile, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction list was released a last month, with the ceremony to be held in March. I was really happy to see Neil Diamond on the list, and also Leon Russell as a sideman, or as they are now calling it, the “musical excellence award”; I should get that album Russell did with Elton John. But, of the nominees for this year, the most disappointing omission was the late Laura Nyro. If not as a singer, then she ought to get as a songwriter. Through the pictured album, which is a bunch of cover songs, she’s deserving as a performer as well. -inductees
Alice Cooper, Beastie Boys, Bon Jovi, Chic, *Neil Diamond, Donovan, *Dr. John, J. Geils Band, LL Cool J, * Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Joe Tex, *Tom Waits, Chuck Willis

For either or both Halls of Fame, who would you have picked for this year?

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