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Throwback Tracks -- April 19, 2018


The Guys from {MUSIC}

Throwback Tracks -- April 19, 2018

David R. Smith

Okay, first things first; I legitimately just wrote 2017 in the title. We're four months into the new year (can it even be considered the new year anymore) and I still wrote 2017. Shows the state of mine I'm in post-class. 

Secondly: No, there's no playlist(s) yet. Quit asking. It'll happen when it happens. 

Thirdly: The song I originally had slated to bat leadoff for me is ineligible because I used it 14 months ago. But today we have a theme: covers that are better than the original. And this isn't to say that the originals of these songs are bad, it's just that I prefer the covers. And that is rare, my friends. I don't generally prefer the covers, but sometimes the artist has done something with the song that revolutionizes it and makes it something spectacular. These are some of those songs. Enjoy!

The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.

At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.

Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds

I've had My Back Pages stuck in my head all morning for no particular reason, other than it was the song my brain decided to have rattle around in my head today. And that's okay. As I said before, it was going to bat leadoff (Man, I'm happy baseball is back) but it turns out, I already used it in February of 2017.

Thankfully, the Byrds made a living covering Dylan songss, so I had others to choose from. And this one is almost as good. I say almost because I'm not sure there's a better Byrds song than My Back Pages. 

This song is tricky: The Byrds do a tremendous job with this song. Their harmonies are wonderful, and there's something about the 12 string that they employ so regularly, but with such success.

However. Yes, there is a however. 

They only sing one verse.

One of Dylan's charms is his ability to write such amazing song lyrics and the Byrds eliminated 3 of those verses. Now, arguably, they kept the best one. But that doesn't particularly matter, I still miss the other verses. I'd like to see what they could have done with those ones too. It just makes me want more!

Live and Let Die - Guns N' Roses

I made sure that this list only had one Dylan song in it. He's been so widely covered (for good reason) that I felt I should get other covers too. 

GnR covered this song originally done by Paul McCartney and Wings for their album Use Your Illusion I (which came out alongside Use Your Illusion II; brilliant marketing by the band.) While the album(s) is not as vaunted as Appetite for Destruction, there's still some amazing songs on it. And this is one. 

I really do love the original song. It was a terrific theme song for the Bond movie of the same name, and I think Guns and Roses did a great job of tipping their hats to a well done song, all the while making it their own. 

And there's just something about the way Axl sings this song. He's got the perfect voice for it. 

Whiskey In The Jar - Metallica

In 1998, Metallica released a double disc titled Garage Inc. which was an entire album of cover songs. What a cool idea. (The are certainly not the only group to do this.) What I liked so much about it was that it was all songs by groups that inspired them. 

Now, not being a huge metalhead myself, I was unfamiliar with many of the songs on there. But there were a few I knew, and this was one of them. 

Originally an Irish folk song, Thin Lizzy did a version of it in the 70s. And let me tell you; compared to Metallica's version, it sucks. Now, it's not horrible, but Metallica definitely made it better. My dad even likes the cover better. 

Metallica took what Thin Lizzy did, turned it up to 11 and kicked the crap out of it. I think James Hetfield has a perfect voice for the song, and also absolutely slays the solo. I'm listening to the song right now, and not only does it give me shivers (oddly enough) but it also gives me a sense of happiness, as this was a song that really bridged that gap between my music and my dad's. Who knew that it would be Metallica that did that??

With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker

This might actually be my favourite all-time cover. Maybe. Not for sure. But it's up there. 

I like the Beatles but I don't love the Beatles. I think they did very great things with music and God bless them for writing the original version of this song because without it, we wouldn't have gotten this version which is, without question, infinitely better. 

Part of my bias may be because I grew up watching The Wonder Years and this song will forever remind me of that intro. (Which also inspired a great Simpsons bit too - sorry it's in Spanish. Gotta love Los Simpsons.)

Really, when it comes down to it, I just think there's more heart to this version of the song. 

I was driving back to Calgary a couple weeks ago, and the Beatles version came on my iPod. I listened to a bit of it, but then tracked down this version of it because, while I like the Beatles version, I just had to listen to this one. Because it's better. 

Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley

This is arguably one of the most covered songs in music. To the extent that Leonard Cohen actually asked that maybe we pump the brakes on covering it for a while

Now, the reason why it's covered so regularly is because it's a terrific song. So who wouldn't want to cover it? (Incidentally, the best cover of it might be from fellow Canadian KD Lang, but it's too new to add to TBT, so if you want to listen to it, go here.)

Leonard Cohen is like the Canadian Bob Dylan; great songwriter, poet, and all-around incredible talent. But he had a very distinct and, some would say, unpleasant voice. (My grandmother likely would have fought anybody who said that, though.) 

So, people covering this song made sense. It allowed great lyrics to be more accessible to people who couldn't handle listening to the creator sing them.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't know much about Jeff Buckley. I assumed he was no longer with us, as you don't hear much of him. And my assumptions were right. Apparently he drowned in 1997, which is tragic. But I'm glad he left us this version of Hallelujah before he passed away. 

That's it, friends! Another week of music, and another week of (in my opinion) great songs. 

The month of May is screaming up at us, which means old-school hip hop month is nearly upon us. Be very excited! And who knows, maybe by then there'll be some new playlists for you. Until then, here's all the old ones!


January 2018 TBT Playlist (or the January 2018 Spotify)


December 2017 TBT Playlist (or the December 2017 Spotify), November 2017 TBT Playlist (and the November 2017 Spotify), October 2017 TBT Playlist (and the October 2017 Spotify), September 2017 TBT Playlist (and the September 2017 Spotify), August 2017 TBT Playlist (and the August Spotify list), July 2017 TBT Playlist (and the July Spotify List), June 2017 TBT Playlist (and the June Spotify List), May 2017 TBT PlaylistApril 2017 TBT PlaylistMarch 2017 TBT Playlist February 2017 TBT Playlist


Throwback Playlist for Dec 16/Jan 17October 2016 Throwback PlaylistSeptember 2016 Throwback PlaylistAugust 2016 Throwback PlaylistJuly 2016 Throwback PlaylistJune 2016 Throwback PlaylistMay 2016 Throwback PlaylistApril 2016 Throwback Playlist

-D (@davidronn)

photo credit: GigNroll FBT amplifier via photopin (license)