Two years ago I posted Lizzy’s ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ during our celebration of songs related to summer, to some debate.
It was variously claimed that it was not a summer song (it is) and that it had been covered by Toploader (a completely different song!) So hopefully to less controversy, here is Thin Lizzy’s version of Bob Seger’s Rosalie.
Released as a single from the landmark ‘Live & Dangerous’, it reached the top twenty in 1978. I am struggling to think of too many other live albums that spawned a hit single, but I am sure you can help me out. As a result it is one of the few cover versions that everyone knows is a cover: Phil’s introduction ‘This is a number recorded by Bob Seger, a number called Rosalie’ starts the single version as well.
The best cover versions have a certain amount of bravery as well as creative inspiration. This next track definitely has both of these traits in abundance – so much so that just for recording this track, the group received homophobic abuse and death threats from ageing hippies who didn’t get the peace and love memo – this despite the fact that the artists who created the song face their seal of approval to this version; as did the UK public as it went to number 10 in the charts in 2004.
Contrary to popular opinion, I do quite like the original as well!
Today’s selection dismisses not one, but two giants of popular music! Written in 1967 and included on Dylan’s “John Wesley Harding” album, it was very quickly adopted by Jimi Hendrix, and ultimately became his highest place single release in the U.S. However, this was all before my time, and it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include an XTC song somewhere amongst my choices. Taken from their debut album “White Music”, it concludes side 1 of the vinyl version.
Like (probably) all of the correspondent’s in this year’s summer celebration, I have grappled with the challenge of song selection. How do we properly define when an artist can claim to “own” a particular song. In some cases so far (“Little Help”, “Rosalie”) it’s because their performance completely subsumes the original. In other cases, I think it’s because they bringing something to the song which adds/extends/enhances the original. My number three selection falls into the latter category. Every Friday the Australian youth radio network triplej invites an artist in to the radio studio for “Like A Version”, a segment where the artist performs a live version of one of their tunes and then a cover. I could probably populate half my choices in this year’s list by drawing solely on the catalogue of “Like a Version” songs. However, there is one from recent years to which I return repeatedly. Performed less than a week after the unexpected passing of David Bowie, Aussie ingenue Sarah Blasko nails this cover of “Life on Mars”. When she hits the long note with the song’s refrain (about 3:35 in) you can hear the sadness and pathos so clearly it takes your breath away. Behold: