Thursday, February 14, 2013

When Classics Get Reborn

Happy Valentine's Day!

I survived the deluge of snow here in Massachusetts intact, not even a need for the generator. A snow blower would have been nice, but the plow guy did the best he could.

A quick word to the New England Patriots; PAY Talib, GET Ed Reed. Let Welker walk and maybe get a cheaper kicker. That is all.

When Classics Get Reborn
I am coming into my 37th birthday window. Last year you may recall I was not happy about year 36, but here I am and all the better going forward. Two weeks cigarette free, and to be honest it feels good. Except for this freaking headache in the center of my head at the top of my nose. Any advice appreciated.

As such, I love older music. Sometimes an older song either gets re-done or gets imprinted on you in another way. I have two examples to show you.

First up, Del Shannon's immortal "Runaway". It stands alone as an all time classic, just take a listen:

Most excellent.

Now the first time I heard this song, it was a later version Del recorded for the great TV show "Crime Story" starring Dennis Farina (yes, the Xfinity guy). A bit more electric, some piano, and lyrics aimed at the show. I like this version better than the original:

And an old classic is reborn. Well, it was back then anyway.

I have to say, I had never heard of Thurston Harris. Thurston Howell III, yes, but not Harris! The first time I heard the song "Little Bitty Pretty One" was in the film "Christine" at a particular revenge scene:


The OG-riginal:

Old school great. And by John Carpenter's film, a classic had new life.

Who can forget Bob Dylan's song "All Along the Watchtower"? Well, everyone after Jimi Hendrix made it his own:


Recently (kind of) The Mighty Mighty Bosstones forever took "Detroit Rock City" from KISS in my eyes:

That works.

What comes to mind for you? Better new versions or better old versions?

Have a good night.


Anonymous said...

I think John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" was done justice (and then some - no easy feat) by Green Day

Green Day on American Idol

I have always thought that there's a cover waiting to happen from Lennon's "Cold Turkey" if someone would just give it the bass line that John never authored.

I realize that John was in a raw, minimalist state when he wrote "Cold Turkey" but that song just screams for a kicking bass line.

Anonymous said...

I'm a romantic. So the older versions hold my heart. Happy Valentines Day. Buddy those cigs have nothin on you. Been smoke free almost 4 yrs and you can conquer this too. T

Casey L. Clark said...

Hey, congrats on quitting smoking! I went through that a few years ago. I had a real hard time with anxiety and tension headaches... Tea, coffee, motrin, and running saved me. :) Good luck! I'm rooting for you!

Great post!

Casey L. Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Batista said...

I tend to like a version of a song depending on which one I've been introduced to first. Usually this occurs via the media or pop culture--which usually entails a cover version by some newer, hipper band/artist. So, for instance, I still prefer Elvis's "Blue Suede Shoes" over Carl Perkins' version. Or Guns 'N' Roses' "Sypmathy For the Devil" over The Rolling Stones' original. But Jimi's "Watchtower" is just so definitive to me that I can never get into Dylan's original, despite my being introduced to the latter first.

Watchtower said...

Love and Rockets had a song in the 80's called 'So Alive', I never really cared for it but one day I stumbled upon a remake of it.
The artist that did the cover was Duncan Sheik.

Now I'll have to admit that I never cared for Duncan Sheik either, but there is just something about his remake that I really like.

Here is a cut and paste if anyone is interested in hearing it:

GawainsGhost said...

I'm not much for remakes, although I will say that Thin Lizzy did an excellent remake of Rosalie, a Bob Seger song, and that Manfred Mann did an excellent remake of Blinded By the Light, a Bruce Springsteen song.

Other than that, I can't think of any remakes I approve of.

When I think of the classics, I think of Homer, Virgil and Ovid; Dante, Chaucer and Shakespeare. I think of Whitman, Dickinson and Twain. I think of Fitzgerald. I think of Cummings and Frost.

No one can replicate any of that.

Do you know why Margaret Mitchell never wrote a sequel to Gone With the Wind? It was only the best selling romance novel of all time.

She spent ten years defending her copywright. The novel sold out its first printing in three months, and that was in the middle of the Great Depression. By the time the movie came out in 1939, the novel had been translated into fourteen foreign languages and was selling out all over the world.

This from a 26-year old girl, who broke her ankle and was confined to bed. Her husband, actually her second husband, went to the library and brought her books to read, mostly histories and accidental novels. Then, when he had checked all of the books at the library, he gave her a stack of paper and a pen. He said, "Write a book." And she wrote the greatest romance ever, other than the Odyssey.

She was killed by a run-away horse-drawn carriage after walking out of a theater in Atlanta.

So there it goes. You can't replicate the classics. You can emulate them, as many have done or tried to do, but you cannot replicate them.

Every artist responds to the genius before him. Harold Bloom wrote a book about this; he calls it the anxiety of influence. And I believe him.

Virgil was influenced by Homer. Dante was influenced by Virgil. Chaucer was influenced by both, and Shakespeare was influenced by Chaucer. And don't even get me started on the Gawain-poet, who as yet remains unidentified. As does Chaucer and Shakespeare, by the way.

Anyway, I respect originalty. That's all I respect. I don't respect do-overs, or covers, unless they're expertly done. And there are very few of those.

Did you know that when Elvis performed his Aloha from Hawaii concert, the first world satellite broadcast, over 70% of the television sets in the world turned onto it? That's several billion people. Nobody will ever be that big again.

But Elvis was a performer. He didn't write his own songs. He did do an excellent cover of Sweet Caroline, written by Neil Diamond.

Alice Cooper holds the record for largest concert attedance, believe it or not. Kiss holds the second. And Queen holds the third. All of those concerts were in South America, in case you didn't know.

As far as quitting smoking goes, quitting is for quitters. I stand by my original statement; if I attract some germ or disease that I can't cure with cigarettes and alcohol, I might as well be dead.

Anonymous said...

Surprised no one has yet to mention one of the most sucessful remakes of all time - Whitney Houston's "I will always love you".

Being about the same age as you Get, I assume you associate this song with middleschool dances, assuming at the time it was "contemporary".

Yet, it was only a few years ago that I realized this song was performed by Dolly, a few years before we were born.

Sarie (23aloha) said...

How great to see you!!!!

Barbara Keith's version of "All Along the Watchtower" goes a verrry different way... love it and every other song on that side of her self titled album, circa 1972.

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