Pop Group Covers of Soul Songs
When the British 'Beat Group' sound took the US by storm back in the mid 60's, few white Americans realised that those wile Brits were just 'selling snow to the Eskimos' as around 80%+ of the songs the UK groups were performing were cover versions of US soul / blues artists tracks.
The situation has carried on down the years with pop / rock versions of soul originals making the pop charts on numerous occasions .....
Here's a song that perfectly illustrates my point ......
US rock group J Geils Band took that into the charts many years later.
Some pop cover versions stand up against the originals (many Georgie Fame cut did just this -- his version of "Point of No Return" is a real gudun).
But lots of artists have cut old Motown, Stax & soul songs down the years ...... many rappers & dance scene acts have also sampled classic racks to gain big selling outings.
Kylie Minogue has even cut her version of the NS mega-anthem "Time Will Pass You By".
Here's an item that didn't escape on 45 in the UK, but did over there across the pond ......
What are some of the best / worst of these covers in listies opinions (there are some really dreadful takes on Motown songs out there).
The Moody Blues went on to enjoy massive worldwide success ........
.. here's their 1st hit; Bessie Banks must have been gutted when they made the UK Pop Singles Chart No.1 with this in early 1965.
Brit group the Love Affair didn't even play on this version that made No.1 in the UK Pop Charts in 68.
Later version of Robert Knight's classic ......
Amen Corner go to Philly for this cover .......
The group did numerous soul covers including one of Darrell Bank's "Open The Door To Your Heart".
Here thay are back in Philly to copy Bunny Sigler .......
Joan Osbourne can really sing & she often cuts soul / Motown covers .......
Here she does the Spinners classic ........
AND here she's doing a Marvin / Jr Walker track ......
Kylie Minogue does Chairmen of the Board...pulls off the notes well...and music almost sounds like Holland-Dozier-Holland!
Cher does Betty Everett for "Mermaids"...how can her voice NOT be made to sing that song?
This is a interesting point but I found some problem with the "limit" between "pop" and "rock". I.e.: It is a "pop" or "rock" cover" the ones by Todd Rundgren, makin Spinners and Delfonics versions? There are some cases more diaphanous as the Communards, covering Issac Hayes - jackson 5 "Never Can say Goodbay" and Harold Melvin's "Don't Leave Me This way". There is also difficult about Simply Red cover of "If You don't Know Me By Now". They are a "blue eyed soul" group, a pop group or a fusion - smooth jazz group...?
Some "classic" examples I can recall are Jani's Joplin cover of Garnett Mimm's "Cry baby" (or perhaps is more rock than pop...?); or UB-40 cover of Chi-lite's "Hey, Girl" (this is reagge-pop...?)
Going back a couple of decades and you find Terence Trent Darby covering "Who's Loving You?" by Smokey. Some would say that the Jackson 5's version of the same song falls into the category of "pop covering soul", but I don't want to start that argument.
Going way way way back and the ultimate slap in the face for covers lies in the fact that "Fever" is more often associated with Peggy Lee than Little Willie John. I don't know why that bugs me so much, but I won't dignify it with a video.
RE: examples I can recall are Jani's Joplin cover of Garnett Mimm's "Cry baby"
Janis Joplin covered numerous soul songs ... AND MURDERED THE LOT.
Can't say I ever liked any of her 'covers' that I got to hear and really get mad when music journo's refer to tracks as being Janis's big anthem .... they should be better informed & know who the 'real' versions are by.
Having said what I have above; I have to admit that some singers take another's song & make it their own (some might say that Janis did this, I would not be one).
An artist that (IMHO) did make just about every song his own is Jose Feliciano .......
Here are just a few examples .....
....... and finally Jose does Smokey .........
Well, if I think about it JSmith I suspect that a lot of "White Americans" DID realise that when they heard acts like THE BEATLES doing songs like "Twist And Shout" and "Baby It's You" that they weren't listening to the original versions.
And .. if I think about it a bit more .. when we get into the '70s very few "Soul" hits were successfully remade by "Pop" acts .. or at least very few were commercial successes.
However here are a couple from the '70s that were big U.K. hits .. the first one hit #7 at the end of 1976 ..
This second one got to #14 in 1977 ..