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Under the covers December 30, 2010

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

I had one of those musical epiphanies a couple of week’s ago. I bought a CD of the early Fleetwood Mac, pre-Stevie Nicks and pre-going-pop. (It’s called The Best of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac). I got the CD because it was a high-school memory. One of my good friends was big into them – I remember listening to the Bare Trees album at his house during my senior year, so it must have been 1971 or 1972. The epiphany? There is the song “Black Magic Woman”, the one Carlos Santana had as a hit. But the songwriter is Peter Green, so Santana was covering it.

I have a mental list I keep of famous songs made famous by an artist, but in reality written and performed first by another famous artist who nobody connects with the song. I’ll list a few and my comments.

Some sort of string together….like Three Dog Night made the sone One (is the loneliness number) a hit, but it is a Harry Neilsson song. But Harry Nilsson covered Badfinger’s Without You. Badfinger did Come and get it, but that was a Paul McCartney song written for the movie “The Magic Christian”, which Ringo Starr was in. Harry Nilsson gets an asterisk note here as a famous artist who did a very famous and recognizable song that nobody associates him with…..”People let me tell you about my best friend…”, yeah, the theme from The Courtship of Edie’s Father.

Rod Stewart covered Robert Palmer’s Some Guys have all the Luck (and in his anthology boxed set made the mistake of saying it was not the Robert Palmer who made the videos with the tall, slinking women in black, when it was one and the same Robert Palmer).

Tina Turner covered Credence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. John Fogarty had stopped playing the song in concerts, but when people started saying it was a Tina Turner song he resumed playing iy to get credit.

Whitney Houston covered Dolly Parton’s I will always love you.

Olivia Newton-John covered Bob Dylan’s If not for You – but the arrangement of it sounds very much like George Harrison’s cover version, rather than the Bob Dylan one – but George got no credit for that inspiration (ironically this was in the period where George was being suited by the composers of She’s So Fine for plagarism in his song My Sweet Lord).

There must being others. I just find it intriguing how a song gets popularized.



1. Chip - February 12, 2011

You mentioned Harry Nilsson. He was famous for “Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me” from Midnight Cowboy, but in fact, that’s a Fred Neal song.

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