Cover Me: Songs You Never Knew You Never Knew
Writer, writer. Who's the songwriter?
Ok friends. It’s been a fun Summer Challenge. Did you meet your goal? If not, I’ve got one last post that may help push you over the top. And since I love going out with a bang, I’d just like to say that this book rocks.
I love cover songs. Not the ones where bands simply plays the same song as the original artist. These are only fun when I don’t know about the original. But I really love when the bands change something about the songs to make them cooler. Like when Nickel Creek played “Toxic” from Queen Brit. Or pretty much anything from Weird Al.
Brought to us by the guy who founded the Cover Me blog, this book talks about his top 20 favorite cover songs. Songs that helped shape the career of the artists covering them. And Padgett has done his research.
For example, I love “Midnight Night Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips. I had no idea it was a cover song. It was originally written and performed by Jim Weatherly as “Midnight Plane to Houston.” It didn’t do much for him, so he started pitching it. Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney, heard it and she wanted to cut it. But since her name was Houston that would have been too weird to sing about Houston. So she changed it to Georgia, where her family lived. She also changed plane to train because in the 1970’s, no one she knew took a plane anywhere.
The other story I liked comes from Tennessee icon Dolly Parton. Dolly wrote and recorded “I Will Always Love You” and had a #1 Country hit with it. Colonel Tom Parker came calling and Elvis wanted to record it. Dolly was excited but there was a catch: Elvis required any songwriters to give him 50% of the songwriting money for any songs he cut. This was not an unsubstantial amount of money, and as much as Dolly wanted Elvis to sing her song, she passed. Then twenty years later, along came a little movie called The Bodyguard. And the rest is history.
I think I knew all the songs mentioned in the book, but it was fun to read the book while listening to the music. So get your phone and logon to freegal, Hoopla, or YouTube and pull up each song as you read. It was interesting to hear the original/old versions of the hits that I knew.
Hope you had a great Summer Challenge. Good luck winning the big prize.