Covered In Glory Day 3: Thin Lizzy, Sarah Blasko, XTC & Scissor Sisters

Covered in Glory LogoTwo 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.

 

Roy:

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!

Andy:

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.

Ian:

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:

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17 thoughts on “Covered In Glory Day 3: Thin Lizzy, Sarah Blasko, XTC & Scissor Sisters

  1. Not sure if your comment is about hit singles from a live album is meant to include only hit singles that are also a cover, but – at least in Oz – Neil Diamond’s live album “Hot August Night” spent 29 weeks at number one on the Australian charts between 1973 and 1974. It was such a monolith in early 70s music that it’s estimated one in three Australian homes have a copy. Here’s a link (sadly no video footage) to “Crunchy Granola” to remind you of how the album gets started:

    1. No it wasn’t covers specifically, just singles released from live albums. The 70s were the golden age of the live album – No Sleep Till Hammersmith, Frampton’s Alive, Live & Dangerous, Wings Over America etc, but can’t remember if these spawned hit singles like ‘Rosalie’. Of course the advent of DVD and YouTube killed the whole concept of a live album stone dead anyway…

      If one n three Australian homes have a copy of the Neil Diamond album, I am glad they haven’t throw out their old vinyl like most UK homes seem to have!

  2. ‘I Want You To Want Me’ by Cheap Trick was a single from their ‘Live at Budokan’ album in 1979 – top 10 in the US, top 3O in the UK.

    1. Come to think of it, Too Much Too Young by the Specials is a rare live number one, but not from a live album – indeed the accompanying album has an inferior studio version. Anyway, I am leading us down a different rabbit hole from the covers one, apologies!

  3. Completely forgot that Rosalie was a cover – partly because it is such a Lizzie sounding song, both in structure and lyrics.

    1. ..whist the original is deadly dull to be honest, it’s the swagger and joe de vivre that they bring to it that brings the song to life. Love the shots of the audience hanging over the edge of the stage, some real 1978 haircuts and jackets there.

  4. 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!

    1. I like Pink Floyd, I like Scissor Sisters, I love Comfortably Numb, so what could possibly go wrong? Well this actually. Just don’t get it at all TBH, but each to their own.

  5. 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.

  6. Many artists have had a crack at this – I remember a particularly tortured U2 version – but the Hendrix version is unmatchable. However for a radical reworking Bear McCreary’s used so brilliantly in Battlestar Galactica takes some beating.

    1. I didn’t know XTC did cover versions let alone ones with CleoLaine-style scat singing on them! As Roy mentions for me this song will for me be always associated with the revelation of the Final Five in Battlestar Galactica: “It’s in the fracking ship!!”

  7. 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:

    1. Really like this. Strangely enough Andy and I saw Hannah Peel perform this with a brass band at the Queen Elizabeth Hall a couple of months ago and I thought at the time it suited a female vocal really well. Possibly my favourite Bowie song.

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