You Can’t Touch This: Five Songs That Nobody Else Should Cover

[WordPress’ ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ wants ‘the satisfaction of a list’ today. So here’s one – and it’s about music, for a change]

Most songs are ‘covered’, in the sense that they are performed by someone other than the writer/composer themselves. Some songs are so popular that they get to be covered by many artistes. In extreme cases they may even end up on karaoke machines.

However, here are five performances of popular songs that are so good that, quite frankly, I can’t see the point of anyone else even trying: the definitive versions, if you will.

Ella FitzGerald: ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’

Peerless. I’m no jazz fan, but has anybody ever held a melody better, with such a pure voice and perfect phrasing? Plus I spent ten years working away and only getting home at weekends, if I was lucky, so I’ve said ‘goodbye’ more times than I care to think about.

Otis Redding: ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’

Just as I would never describe myself as a jazz aficionado, neither do I think of myself as being a soul man. However, as with Ella there is one soul song that just tears at you every time you hear it: another masterpiece of vocal technique – in this case without much benefit of backing – in the service of emotion.

Nillsson: ‘Without You’

Nobody’s ever performed this song with more feeling. And it’s our tune. That’s all you need to know.

Dusty Springfield: ‘Goin’ Back’

Written by Goffin and  King, a lilting arrangement and Dusty’s lovely husky voice make this defiant spin on getting older (‘thinking young and growing older is no sin”) just perfect.

Janis Joplin: ‘Piece Of My Heart’

If there was one thing that could prompt me to shout invective at the screen while watching ‘American Idol’ (apart from misuse of the word ‘journey’) it was when one of the judges would suggest that there was ‘a hint of Janis Joplin’ in a performance.

No there wasn’t. There couldn’t have been  – because the combination of vocal power and emotion that Janis had was incomparable. Just listen.

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5 thoughts on “You Can’t Touch This: Five Songs That Nobody Else Should Cover

  1. Pingback: My Music lexicon: J is for Joplin (and Jefferson Airplane) | the only deadhead in the hameau

  2. Pingback: My Music Lexicon: K is for King (and The Kinks) | the only deadhead in the hameau

  3. Fantastic post. Love all of these definitive, signature performances. I would add Patsy Cline’s Crazy to the list. I don’t even want to hear Willie Nelson do it–and he wrote it.

  4. Pingback: Song Lyric Sunday: Adieux – ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ | the only deadhead in the hameau

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