Rock Artists cover Country songs Part 2

Rock Artists cover Country songs Part 2
There are so many great Rock covers of Country songs but certainly one of the most prominent is this one, the original by Roger Miller and the cover by Janis Joplin.
Me and Bobby McGee” by Roger Miller (1969) written by Fred Foster and Kris Kristofferson
Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin (1971). The last song recorded by Janis during the “Pearl” album session only a few days before her death and it went on to become her only #1 Billboard hit song. Covered over 145 times but even Kris Kristofferson himself can’t hear the song without thinking of Janis.
Oh Lonesome Me” written and performed by Don Gibson (1957). He has written and recorded numerous hit songs and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. This song has been covered 163 times but very rarely out of the country music style.
Oh Lonesome Me” by The Beau Brummels (1965) were formed in San Francisco, they had a hit song with “Laugh, Laugh” in 1964. This was a crucial song that was the springboard for the music scene that was to challenge the groups from the British Invasion.
Oh Lonesome Me” by Neil Young in 1970. A very different take on this song.
The Long Black Veil” by Lefty Frizzell, written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin. Another great Country story song, Marijohn, also a Country singer wrote an ‘answer’ version of this song from the female’s perspective. Covered over 100 times, including by country greats like Johnny Cash and Bobby Bare.
The Long Black Veil” by The Band (1970) Music from the Big Pink Album.
Click here for more covers of this great song
Ring of FireI have already blogged about this song covered by Johnny Cash and originally recorded by Anita Carter, written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. There are some ‘non’ country versions most of which are not that great and Frank Zappa’s version is just plain weird (shocker!). There is however a great rock cover out of the 188 versions of this song.
Ring of Fire” by Social Distortion (1990)
Singing the Bluesby Marty Robbins(1955), written by Melvin Endsley.
A cover by Dave Edmunds(1980), and Paul McCartney
I Saw the Light” written and performed by Hank Williams. Why so much Hank? I was reminded that it’s a bit like saying why so much Elvis or the Beatles. Williams is one of the most important and influential singer-songwriters of all time, in his short career (he died at age 29) he had 30 top ten hits and five more came after his death, three of which went to number one. I will dedicate a blog to him but for now another great cover of one of his hit songs.
I Saw the Light” by Dash Rip Rock, ready for some Punk Rock Gospel?
A good place to end there though I may revisit this topic again.
Click here for a playlist of all the videos

Music Trivia. Mae Axton co-wrote (w/Tommy Durden) “Heartbreak Hotel” for Elvis Presley (1956). Her famous son Hoyt Axton wrote Three Dog Night’s 1971 hit, “Joy To The World“. Both songs went to #1 on Billboard. Far as I know no other no other family (with the exception of husband/wife teams) has accomplished this amazing feat!

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Rock Artists cover Country songs

Rock artists covering country songs became quite the fashion in the early 60’s, often the domain of the groups of the British Invasion, but it was North American Rockers that started the trend.
Your Cheatin’ Heartwritten and performed by the legend-Hank Williams (1952) Covered 173 times
Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps (1958). Vincent was a pioneer in Rockabilly music and has inspired many, still revered and rightly so.
Act Naturally”, Buck Owens (1963) written  by Voni Morrison and Johnny Russell
Brian Hyland (1964) an American singer was the first to cover this song in a ‘non’ country fashion.
The Beatles (1965) as I have blogged already the Beatles were not afraid to tackle songs from many different genres.
Tulsa Timeby Don Williams (1978), written by Danny Flowers, covered by 
Jolenewritten and performed by Dolly Parton in 1973. Much more to say about her 😉 but this iconic song has not been given proper justice in the cover song category, perhaps artists shy away from this as there are some songs artists feel that are a bit ‘untouchable’.

Los Valentinos (1977) a group from Denmark were the first to give this song a different flavour and it doesn’t taste so good, so we’ll move right along to the next ones to do so! Strawberry Switchblade (1985) this UK band had a bit of hit with this version. The Stone Coyotes (2001) a very decent rock version.
 Move it on Overwritten and performed by Hank Williams (1947), one of Hanks early big hit songs and covered 36 times.
Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames (1965). Georgie has a certain flair for sure and while this is more of a Big Band sound it was the first ‘non’ country version I could find. Georgie had great taste in the songs he covered.
George Thorogood
George Thorogood and The Destroyers (1978). Maybe one of the best covers of a Country song ever.
El Pasowritten by and performed by Marty Robbins (1959). One of the great story songs of the wild west.
The Grateful Dead (1976) known to have done this song for many years on stage they made a recording in 1976.
A Good Year for theRosesGeorge Jones (1970) written by Jerry Chesnut
Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1981). I found a new respect for George Jones’s voice and music after finding out about the original version of this amazing cover.
Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell (1968) written by Jimmy Webb. Certainly one of the finest performers in Country music and one of his most enduring songs.
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1969), not so much rock but a different take for sure.
R.E.M. (1996), I really enjoyed this version by a band known for their originality, they are giving a fresh take on this classic country song.
I’m Movin On” Hank Snow (The Singing Ranger) and His Rainbow Ranch Boys (May 1950) written by Hank Snow. A true superstar in the early days of Nashville, this Canadian born in Brooklyn, Queens County, Nova Scotia has a fascinating story (including helping to launch Elvis’s career) worthy of a future blog. But for now his hit country song that was initially turned down by RCA records has since been covered 96 times, but the first rock version was done by a group from Canada.
The Beau Marks (1961) from Montreal.
The Rolling Stones (March 1965) were the next ones to give this a rock twist.
Plenty more great covers of County tunes and I’ll blog on this again.
Music Trivia. What country superstar was asked to join a rock band? It was Vince Gill. While playing as a session musician he was invited by Mark Knopfler to join Dire Straits.

Click here for a playlist of all the videos.
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John Denver

John Denver

Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. December 31, 1943-October 12, 1997. Most will know of the tragic passing of John Denver at the age of 53. Denver was an experienced pilot but according to the investigation a poorly designed fuel switch in his experimental plane caused him to turn around in the cockpit and he lost control. His plane crashed into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, California.
Apart from being a gifted singer he played a very decent acoustic guitar and wrote some of the most memorable songs of the 1970’s. Known for is concern for ecology, his photography and his humanitarian works he also made inroads in international relations being one of the first U.S. artists to be welcome into post cold war U.S.S.R. as well as touring mainland China.

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Country Artists cover Rock songs!

Country Artists cover Rock songs

 

Here are some Rock songs covered by ‘Country’ artists. This certainly goes both ways, but I have found there are many more ‘country’ songs covered by Rock artists and I’ll blog about that in the future.
Better Man” Pearl Jam, Written by Eddie Vedder Released on Vitalogy, November 22, 1994, Since their debut album ‘Ten’ in 1991, this hard rocking ‘grunge band’ has built quite the following (this one’s for my nephew Evan!) this songs been covered a dozen times.

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Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

 

John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003)
It’s difficult to talk about someone like Johnny Cash and not repeat what many have already read, heard or seen. So please forgive some of my personal stories as it relates to Johnny Cash. I never had the opportunity to see the man himself play live, though I’ve heard his music for most of my life. My father was a fan, so it was not unusual to hear his records, or my Dad pluck one of his songs on his steel guitar or on an old organ we had for awhile. And unfortunately for me, the gene pool of talent for playing an instrument ran out after my two older brothers, leaving me to finally give up after several failed attempts.

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Shania Twain

Shania Twain

Born; Eilleen Regina Edwards, August 28, 1965 (age 52), Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Most of you will know a bit of her story I’m sure, she grew up and in Timmins, Ontario and from an early age worked very hard at her singing, guitar and songwriting. She was not an overnight success but when it came it has put her into a class with very few others. Given the title of “Queen of Country Pop” because we seem to really like to label people, she has had over 100 million in record sales making her second only to Taylor Swift for a female in the Country genre and who knows, had she come on the scene when social media and streaming were popular how much better she would have done.
She is the 25th best selling artist of all time (US sales) so trying to pin down what to talk about is difficult and she’s had so many #1 hits; 13 in Canada, 7 in the US and one of the most successful crossover (Country) artists showing up on the pop charts in Canada, US and around the world. Not to mention all the songs that made into the top ten or top 40 charts as well. She was back at it again in 2017 with another #1 hit.
No One Needs to Know Right Now” written by Shaina Twain and Mutt Lange released on the The Woman in Me album in 1996. Charted #1 in Canada and the US. Not widely covered but hey its my favorite ST song!
Crystal Bowersox from American Idol 9 Top 6, Brandon Ray an up and coming Country singer, Niamh McGlinchey, a lovely young singer from County Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
You’re Still the One” written by Shania Twain and Mutt Lange, released on the Album ‘Come on Over’ in 1997, was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 1999, winning two. It won Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance and lost Record of the Year and Song of the Year to fellow Canadian, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”. Covered over 20 times including 7 instrumental versions.
A nice jazz version from Austria, Simone Kopmajer
It was also ranked number 46 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s. Harry Styles performed a cover of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” alongside Kacey Musgraves during a recent concert at Madison Square Garden.
From This Moment On” written by Shania Twain and Mutt Lange released in 1997. #1 in Canada #2 in Australia. Covered more than 20 times to date. Not the smash hit like many of her other songs but a very lovely tune for sure.
This song lends itself very nicely to a duet and was originally recorded with Bryan White, an American Country singer, however White was unable to tour with Shania due to scheduling conflicts so she re-recorded the song. Most of the covers of this song are done as duets.
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References;

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot

It does not surprise me that this song has been covered 85 times, a finer piece of music mastery you’ll rarely find. Few artists have had the international reach that Lightfoot has obtained.
Early Morning Rainwritten by Gordon Lightfoot, recorded December 1964, released in 1966 on “Lightfoot”.
Pavel Bobek from the Czech Republic. Here is an out take version from some guy named Elvis.
And if you like Bluegrass here are New Shades of Bluegrassfrom 1980
As he had a job as a songwriter before he had much success as a singer many may have thought he covered Peter, Paul and Mary (1965). Other notable versions are; Bob Dylan (1970), Paul Weller (2004), very few female artists did this one but Judy Collins did in 1965 and Julie Felix (1969).
If You Could Read MyMind” written by Gordon Lightfoot and recorded in 1969 is for me the quintessential Lightfoot song, there are 122 versions of this song. Ok this one surprised me! Viola Wills from 1980 with a Disco version!
Johnny Cash, fellow Canadians; Diana Krall feat. Sarah McLachlan (2015) Wow! And most recently a young Bailey Pelkman in 2017.
Other versions feature a who’s who of music; Barbra Streisand, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Jeannie C. Riley, Liza Minnelli, Don Williams and Neil Young.
So, this next song puzzles me a bit, as it’s only been covered 8 times. Beautiful” written by Gordon Lightfoot and recorded in 1972.  So “Beautiful” written by Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera song) is about something else altogether and a lovely and meaningful song in its own right. However, the James Blunt song “You’re Beautiful” is apparently a popular wedding song, which is odd, clearly not too many people pay attention to lyrics cause it’s a little stalkerish and he professes his love for someone he hasn’t met or will never see again, but hey what’s not romantic about that? If you want a wedding or anniversary song look no further than this. Here is a nice rendition from Glenn Willow
Sundown” written by Gordon Lightfoot and released on the album “Gordon Lightfoot” in 1974. It peaked at #1 in Canada and the U.S. in June of 1974 and would be his only US number one hit song. There has been much said about this song and Gord himself has made comments about its meaning over the years. You can listen and decide for yourself what the song is about. I think it’s highly likely it relates in some way to Cathy Smith, his (at that time) sometime girlfriend and for that matter the girlfriend of many musicians (The Band) and other celebrities. She would later find the height of her notoriety when sentenced to prison for injecting John Belushi with an overdose of drugs in 1982. But I digress.
The song clearly resonated with a lot of people and while none of his songs enjoyed the chart success of this one he has made a very good living I suspect and he is still playing today. He himself has been through a lot of heartbreak and health problems. A true musical living legend. 
Recorded in November of 1973, this song has since been covered 22 times.
Toby Keith covered it on the album Bullets in the Gun 2010. This is a live performance. Not an official cover but here is Eric Church in concert March 2017. L’amour c’est commel’été by Nana Mouskouri, 1974. Elwood in 2000 if you are in the mood for something different!

Blackie And The Rodeo Kings with “Summer Side Of Life” from the  album ‘Beautiful, A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot’ 2003 on Borealis Records.


Sources, Wikipedia, Secondhandsongs.com, BillBoard.com, Songfacts.com, YouTube, http://www.lyricsfreak.com/
If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB or other social media. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!