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  1. #1

    Favorite Motown Cover Version by a Non-Motown Artist

    Stop me if you've heard this one before, but I don't think I have so thought I'd ask. What's your favorite Motown cover by a non-Motown artist, and why?

    Mine has to be "Stop! in the Name of Love" by Margie Joseph (the long version, natch). She gives that great song a completely different, sinister twist. To me, it evokes more the spirit of "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (which may have come out around the same time) than it does the original "Stop!" A great song by a talented artist who never achieved the fame I think she was expected to. Her version got a huge amount of airplay on Detroit radio way back then, but I don't think it hit nationally.

  2. #2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pJd9...eature=related Oh, I used to play this over and over. Bought the LP instead of the single. Justin Bieber - what happened to Ralph will almost certainly happen to you so get ready...

  3. #3
    I also like it when the song gets a completely different treatment. There's not a lot of point of producing a cover that's identical to the original. At the moment I'm torn between Al Green's "I Can't Get Next to You" and Vanilla Fudge's "You Keep Me Hanging On".

  4. #4
    This is one of my fav Motown covers that IMHO out does the original which although good I've long since grown tired of.

  5. #5
    Tracks Of My Tears - Aretha Franklin
    You've Got To Earn It - Staple Singers
    Reflections - Luther Vandross
    Swept For You Baby - Sylvers

  6. #6
    "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "The Tracks of My Tears" by Johnny Rivers. There's something really incredible about those two versions. Both contain this mystic beauty in them. I think they are on par with the original versions. And I'll admit that I listen to Rivers' version of "The Track of my Tears" more than the Miracles' original. Regarding "Baby I Need Your Loving" I remember reading that HDH were wowed by Rivers' version so much that they kept playing the record over and over.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 04-26-2012 at 06:28 PM.

  7. #7
    "My Girl" - Otis Redding. This track from the Otis Blue album was released as a single in the UK and reached No. 11.
    "This Old Heart of Mine" - Rod Stewart. Rod recorded at least three versions of this song. My favorite is the 1989 hit version with Ron Isley.
    "Darling Baby" - Jackie Moore. This 1972 Atlantic single was included on her "Sweet Charlie Babe" LP.
    "Helpless" - The Manhattan Transfer. They do a good cover version, but I've never been able to forgive them for dropping the "my heart feels much abusion" line.

  8. #8
    smark21 Guest
    My fave would have to be Sweet Sensation’s latin freestyle take on “Love Child”.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by smark21 View Post
    My fave would have to be Sweet Sensation’s latin freestyle take on “Love Child”.

    Mary Wilson has a unreleased version with the same arrangement with a rap.

  10. #10
    I used to slam a few shots of tequila and dance to this version of "Nathan Jones." I have fond memories of this.



  11. #11
    "Since I Lost My Baby" by Luther Vandross. Oh, and the most scandalous cover of a Motown cut ever: "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Roger Troutman. I'm sorry, but if you're going to cover a song, either do it radically different from the original or bust your ass to make it better. It's hard to do option B, so Roger chose "different".

  12. #12
    I've always dug the Temptations version of the Norman Whitfield composition, "I Can't Get Next To You." When Annie Lennox covered the song, it was like hearing it for the first time. Very dark, moody and atmospheric, quite the opposite to the Temps.

  13. #13
    Good choice in Johnny Rivers. They were good versions. CCRs version of Grapevine certainly was popular and exposed that song to a whole different audience in it's day. The Beatles Please Mr. Postman and Twist and Shout were good too. And Tom Hanks wife does a decent job of Come See About Me.

  14. #14
    Two ideas immediately come to mind for me, but boy, are they ever radically different!!!! How about the Mitch Ryder version of Too Many Fish in the Sea and the Russell Hitchcock version of What Becomes of the Brokenhearted? I am sure I could come up with others if I thought about it for a while, but those are the two that just jump out at me.

  15. #15

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Desjardines View Post
    I like that version too, quite different from The Tempts, but pretty good.

  17. #17
    Technically he was briefly a Motown artist . Technically this is not a Motown song,but so what? LOL!

  18. #18
    Whitney Houston's version of "I Believe In You and Me", although that is my favorite song by the Tops. She did a great version of it, but that song had to mean something special to Levi Stubbs because he absolutely nailed it.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    Whitney Houston's version of "I Believe In You and Me", although that is my favorite song by the Tops. She did a great version of it, but that song had to mean something special to Levi Stubbs because he absolutely nailed it.
    Little secret... This was going to be on SUPREMELY YOURS II but it's been replaced by an equally beautiful ballad that will have an unusual 'twist' to it... Can't say any more or I'll have to kill you!

  20. #20
    Otis R's "My Girl" -- when the Atlantic 45 was a massive UK pop chart hit (in Jan 66) it really cemented my belief that I needed to look even harder for the US original version of songs that had been UK hits for British groups / singers (Stones, Searchers, Hollies, Moody Blues, Cilla Black, Georgie Fame, Sandie Shore, etc).
    Van Dykes "Save My Love For A Rainy Day" .... more 'Motown' than any of the actual Motown versions.

  21. #21
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    "I'm So Thankful"-Ikettes(Barbara Randolph)
    "My Heart is Calling"-Magnificents (Four Tops)
    "You Hit Me(Right Where it Hurt Me)"-Alice Clark(Kim Weston)
    "You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet"-Mary Love(Who at Motown recorded THIS?)

  22. #22
    Gloria Gaynor

    Marlena Shaw

    Boystown Gang

  23. #23
    Great idea to embed the videos.

    Phil, thank you for showing how to embed this.

    Last edited by kenneth; 04-27-2012 at 06:55 PM.

  24. #24
    RossHolloway Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Great idea to embed the videos. But I don't see how to actually embed the video itself. Here's the link to the one I chose, "Stop in the Name of Love" by Margie Joseph.


    Does anyone know how to embed a youtube video? I still don't know how to do it either.

  25. #25
    The version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by JOCELYN BROWN/INNER LIFE .. fantastic production/arrangement by Patrick Adams ..

    I see MANHATTAN TRANSFER have already had a mention .. they did a good version of "Where Did Our Love Go" too, though I think it was based on the version by DONNIE ELBERT rather than the original by THE SUPREMES.


  26. #26
    Linda Ronstandt - Ooo Baby Baby

    WHY? Simply, a pretty sweet voice - nuff' said!

  27. #27
    Hi Ross, it's very easy : you just have to click on the front last (?) icon (insert video) then put the link of the clip that you want, like this :

    Last edited by phil; 04-27-2012 at 03:06 PM.

  28. #28
    Good one Phil!

    I'm not saying these two are better but I really like Get Ready and The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game by Ella Fitzgerald

  29. #29
    I admit to having a soft spot in my heart for Sheena Easton's version of Jimmy Mack. She incorporated the Yeah, yeah's from Heatwave into the song as well.

  30. #30
    Some more covers that I like:

    Nowhere To Run - Laura Nyro
    Come And Get These Memories - Laura Nyro
    Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Laura Nyro
    The Bells - Laura Nyro
    You've Really Got A Hold On Me - Laura Nyro
    Can I Get A Witness - Dusty Springfield
    Dancing In The Street - Dusty Springfield
    Get Ready - Dusty Springfield
    Ooh Baby Baby - Linda Ronstadt
    What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted - Chris Farlowe/Joan Osborne
    I'll Keep A Light In My Window - Maria Muldaur
    The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Grace Jones/Ella Fitzgerald/Massive Attack
    Love Is Here And Now You're Gone - Doris Duke
    My World Is Empty Without You - Diamanda Galas/Marsha Hunt
    You Keep Me Hangin' On - Vanilla Fudge
    California Soul - Marlena Shaw
    I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Slits
    I Don't Know Why - Rolling Stones
    Tracks Of My Tears - Linda Ronstadt
    What's Going On - Cyndi Lauper
    Last edited by copley; 04-27-2012 at 06:40 PM. Reason: Omitted 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' - Laura Nyro

  31. #31
    Laura Nyro - surely you have to include her version of Ain't no Mountain High Enough too?

  32. #32
    Forgot about it, just added it

  33. #33
    Please Mr. Postman by The Beatles
    I Heard It Through the Grapevine by CCR
    I Know I'm Losing You by Rod Stewart

  34. #34
    I liked Phil Collins version of "You Can't Hurry Love" especially the rhythm track.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I liked Phil Collins version of "You Can't Hurry Love" especially the rhythm track.
    I hate that he screwed up the lyrics.

  36. #36
    smark21 Guest
    I also liked Kim Wilde’s 1987 cover of You Keep Me Hangin’ On. It’s so 80’s.

  37. #37
    I'm rather partial to Tainted Love - Where Did our Love Go by Soft Cell.


  38. #38
    What about Al Green's "Can't Get Next To You"? I heard a few day ago and Al was on point, nice arrangement. Brenda and the Tabulations did a nice cover of "Where Did Our Love Go".

  39. #39
    Another favorite of mine is Ella Fitzgerald's version of "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game". Excellent version!

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Another favorite of mine is Ella Fitzgerald's version of "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game". Excellent version!
    I have got to hear that. A few people have mentioned it. Really can't imagine Ella doing it, but I guess she could sing anything!

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I have got to hear that. A few people have mentioned it. Really can't imagine Ella doing it, but I guess she could sing anything!
    As Frank Sinatra would say.....Ella was the coolest, swingingest chick! LOL! That is exactly how she sung that song. Real cool, laidback and just mellow...............

  42. #42
    Barbra's Motown moment
    Produced by Rupert -The Pina Colada Song- Holmes


    Went to No. 1:
    PLEASE MR POSTMAN original video

    BUFFALO SMOKE David Todd Remix
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 04-28-2012 at 12:56 AM.

  43. #43
    Here she is, here's Ella. Check Mama out!

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Here she is, here's Ella. Check Mama out!
    Thanks for posting. A very interesting take. A really nice arrangement. I would have loved to hear more from the guitar - kind of reminded me of Kenny Burrell. Ella is more straightforward and less jazzy vocally than I would have expected. Of course, Wanda is my all time favorite Motown singer so I can't say it surpasses her version, but a lovely interpretation nonetheless!

  45. #45
    Lots of Donnie Elbert covers of Motown songs were big UK POP chart hits in the early to mid 70's.
    Maybe they don't improve on the originals (unless you're a massive falsetto fan) but they did sell 'exceedingly well'.

  46. #46
    Forgot this one by Kimberly Briggs aka Kim Tolliver.

  47. #47
    I Wish It Would Rain - Johnny Adams
    Ooh Baby Baby - The Escorts
    You Can Depend On Me - Barbara Mason
    Baby I'm For Real - The Ballads, Esther Phillips

  48. #48
    "my world is empty without you" by diamanda galas ... a shivering version
    "7 rooms of gloom" by blondie

  49. #49
    Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over) - Al Wilson
    Come See About Me - Nella Dodds
    Everybody Needs Love [Live] - Maxine Brown
    You're My Everything - Freddie Hughes
    I Wish It Would Rain - Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon
    I Could Never Love Another - Four Tees
    Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got - Benny Gordon
    I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Chi-lites
    Papa Was A Rollin' Stone - Was [Not Was]
    Cloud Nine - Rod Stewart
    Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Gene Latter
    I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Karen Hernandez
    Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) - Dave Barker
    Come and Get These Memories - Anna King
    You Keep Me Hangin' On [#][Outtake] - Aretha Franklin
    Leaving Here - Birds
    Take Me in Your Arms - Blood, Sweat & Tears
    Reach Out (I'll Be There) - Chris Farlowe
    Standing In The Shadows Of Love - Barry White
    Remove This Doubt - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    There's a Ghost in My House - The Fall
    A Love Like Yours [Don't Come Knocking Every Day] - Ike & Tina Turner
    It's the Same Old Song - Lamont Dozier
    Function at the Junction - Little Richard
    Baby I Need Your Loving - O C Smith
    Baby Don't You Do It - Small Faces
    I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) - Taj Mahal
    How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) - Tyrone Davis

    Of course I like all the originals these just make a change.

  50. #50
    Kenneth, interesting thread. It's much too early for me on a weekend to come up with anything to add. But go ahead Jobete, most of these covers were good, some were artistically challenged, but the root is that they are all published by Jobete.

    Also, in the sixties music was more banded together, so while I may have been a big fan of Johnny Rivers, I would have heard the 4 Tops version when it came out on the same radio station previously. As we move into the 70's there were more distinct categories on radio, so Please Mr. Postman by the Carpenters would have been heard by perhaps those who were nostalgic of the Marvelettes version, but also the next generation, who would have no idea who the Marvellettes were. By the 80's folks who enjoyed Rod Stewarts, This Old Heart Of Mine, probably had no connection to who Ronnie Isley was, even if he was in the video and singing along with Rod. If I was of a generation that grew up loving Ella Fitzgerald, I might have thought, "there was Ella doing her thing", but I doubt that I would have regarded the originals as anything other than "young peoples music". The point being that the music is truly enjoyed by people all over the world regardless, of culture, age, financial station or location.

    I am awake now, I submit, The J Geils Band, First I Look At The Purse, which was who I first heard do the song in 1981 - ish, some 16 years after the Contours version was released, it rocked with a capital R.


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