Toronto Mike

Covers I Didn't Know Were Covers at the Time


Have you ever been surprised to learn a song was a cover?  Off the top of my head I can think of several songs I assumed were originals the first time I heard them.  With many of these songs, it was years before I learnt they were recorded by other artists first.

Here are ten examples with a little explanation tagged on the end.

Don't Be Cruel - Cheap Trick
I thought I'd lead off with a rather embarrassing one.  In 1988 I was still listening to top 40 radio on 680 CFTR.  This Cheap Trick single was a hit and I had never heard Elvis Presley's version.  I just assumed it was a Cheap Trick song.  The fact is, I didn't hear any Elvis at home and my Elvis exposure at the time was pretty much limited to "Hound Dog".

If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red
One year later, in 1989, "If You Don't Know Me By Now" was a hit for Simply Red and I just assumed it was a Simply Red song.  It wasn't until fairly recently that I learnt it was originally recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes back in 1972.

Once Bitten Twice Shy - Great White
That same year, in 1989, I was enjoying this guilty pleasure by Great White.  It wasn't until about six years later when I found Ian Hunter's Greatest Hits in my future wife's collection that I realized it was a cover.

I Saw Him Standing There - Tiffany
Early in 1988 I was actually skiing, something I haven't done in over 15 years, and I heard this Tiffany single over the loud speaker.  I had no idea a little band from the UK had recorded "I Saw Her Standing There" back in 1963.

Red Red Wine - UB40
I loved this song back in 1983 when I was a wee lad of 9.  Who didn't enjoy UB40's "Red Red Wine"?  It wasn't for another six years that I discovered "Red Red Wine" belonged to Neil Diamond.

Respect - Aretha Franklin
I suspect a lot of people think the Queen of Soul first recorded this song.  It's a classic and I know I was in my 20s before I heard Otis Redding's version.  Otis deserves a little respect.

Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix
Of all the songs on this list, I think I was most disappointed to learn that "Hey Joe" was a cover.  I loved the version from Are You Experienced? and spun that CD like crazy.  I just assumed it was a Hendrix song, but it was actually first a hit for The Leaves.  Awesome song, but still not Jimi's best cover.  That would be "All Along The Watchtower".

Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
This is the song that inspired this entry, because I just found out earlier today that "Blinded By The Light" is a Bruce Springsteen song.  I swear, it's true.  Listen to this.

Love Hurts - Nazareth
Honestly, how many of you know that "Love Hurts" was a cover by Nazareth?  It was a hit for The Everly Brothers in July 1960 and I first picked up that little slice of trivia in the early 90s, many years after first hearing the Nazareth version.

Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers
I'm closing with this song because I really should have known better.  At the time, I had graduated from CFTR to Q107 and "Higher Ground" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was getting plenty of airplay.  That prompted me to pick up Mother's Milk, an album I still listen to regularly.  I remember my buddy telling me it was a Stevie Wonder song and me saying "That 'I Just Called To Say I Love You' blind guy?  No way."  I was only 15 but I should have known better.

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