Metallica’s James Hetfield on stage with flying V guitar photo credit : unknown c. 1984
I’ve always wondered how rock bands feel when they’ve written what they believe to be a great song and later another band records it and has equal or greater success with the song. I guess it’s one thing if the original band is successful with the tune, makes money and has an appreciative fan base. The alternative of a band making music and toiling in relative obscurity with little to no exposure and then having another band come along and make a big hit out of your song does not sound appealing. The original writers receiving composing royalties may take some of the sting out of the situation.
When a heavy metal band covers a song and makes it their own, sometimes the original rock version languishes in obscurity. Years pass and more people are familiar with the cover version and think the cover version is better than the original. Whether that’s true or not is up to the listener.
7 Examples of Rock Songs Covered and Made Popular by Heavy Metal Bands.
We’ll start off with Peter Green and the extremely original British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac. This was before they became a huge pop hit machine after Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan left the band and Fleetwood Mac added Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. The song is the enigmatic Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) from 1970.
In 1979 Judas Priest put their indelible mark on Green Manalishi with dual guitars and Rob Halford’s soaring vocals. Just what is the Green Manalishi? Continue reading →
The Late, Great Eddie Van Halen Demonstrates What A Guitar Can Do In The Hands Of A Genius 1979
David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen on stage July 1979
To express the magnitude of the importance of the passing of Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) in words is impossible.
It’s better to let Van Halen’s music speak for itself.
From Fresnomediarestoration is this live clip from March 25, 1979. Eddie Van Halen and the band are juggernauts in their desire to wow the audience.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to attend this tour got to see what made Van Halen so special. And for those who only know David Lee Roth as a frontman who doesn’t stick to the proper lyrics, changes phrasing and sings haphazardly, then this will be a pleasant surprise.
The first four songs performed in this video are:
Light Up The Sky.
Somebody Get Me A Doctor.
Running With The Devil.
Dance The Night Away.
Bands Lose Key Members & The New York Times Neglects An Obituary
Steve Priest – The Sweet
Pete Way – UFO
Paul Chapman – UFO
The Grim Reaper has had a robust 2020 taking more than his normal share of victims.
Celebrities, especially rock n’ roll musicians who are all approaching the age of inevitable demise have been dying at an alarming pace. But you would never know it if you rely on the New York Times for the obituaries.
Eddie Van Halen obituary placed below where the paper is folded in half NY Times October 7, 2020.
Mega-music stars are the exception and get some sort of recognition.
Eddie Van Halen was just too big to ignore. While the Times placed Van Halen on October 7th front page, it put him below the fold. Continue reading →
Newlywed Game Host Bob Eubanks Asks An Innocent Question And Gets An Honest Answer
The Newlywed Game is one of those shows that puts people in potentially embarrassing situations with great effect.
Asking questions to newly married couples can lead to… well let’s just say some interesting revelations.
In this one minute clip from the 1970s, host Bob Eubanks asks what should be a straightforward question and ends up with a few moments of hilarity. This is one funny game show answer. Bob Eubanks quick follow-up and the audience’s reaction is priceless.
The 1970s Saw The Release of The Exorcist, Carrie, The Omen and Halloween
It Also Had These Horror Movie Clunkers…
1970s audiences had the opportunity to see some of the all-time great horror classics when first released in theaters.
There were also imitators of horror. Low budget affairs plagiarizing a title or borrowing a plot. Many of them downright laughable, like Beyond The Darkness and The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave.
A trailer is akin to a writer describing his vision for a film to a studio executive. The two minute trailer is supposed to convince an audience to see a movie. Picture some producer listening to a writer’s pitch and then signing a check to get a turkey made. And the 70s saw lots of ’em. For every Alien (1979) that was made, there were a dozen horror catastrophe’s like Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977).
Based on these trailers, who in their right mind would pay money to see any of these?
How Martin Birch Helped Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson
Iron Maiden 1982 (l-r) Clive Burr, engineer Nigel Green, Dave Murray, Martin Birch, Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Adrian Smith photo via The Walk of Fame
Martin Birch, the music producer who worked with more than a score of rock’s legendary groups died Sunday, August 9, 2020 at age 71. No cause of death was announced. He leaves behind his wife Vera and daughter Haley. Continue reading →
The Lady With The Fans, Her Sexcellency Sally Rand
Sally Rand bubble dance photo by Ziegfeld Follies glamorist Alfred Cheney Johnston
Earlier in 2020, History Channel’s American Pickers featured a show about buying Sally Rand’s personal memorabilia. Most viewers were probably perplexed as to why host Danielle Colby was so excited. In terms of forgotten superstars, Sally Rand, (born Hattie Helen Gould Beck, 1904-1979) would rank pretty high today. Not so for Ms. Colby who understands and admires the artistry that Sally Rand created. Continue reading →
Planet of the Apes Star Maurice Evans Talks About Playing Dr. Zaius
The Most Challenging Operation In History
The biggest and most challenging makeup operation in the history of Hollywood is currently underway for a new film called “Planet of the Apes”. One hundred artists and laboratory men have been given the job of turning out a cast of ape-like beings who inhabit another planet.
Faces of the apes are especially difficult to make since they must be pliable and able to express emotion. Experiments have been going on for a year to be ready for the commencement of the $5-million production.
The makeup substance is made partly of foam rubber and allows the actors to sweat without effecting their grotesque looks. Makeup men start on the cast as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to be ready for filming.
Story of the film is about astronaut Charlton Heston who lands on the weird planet peopled by sophisticated apes. Chief ape is played by Maurice Evans. – photo Keystone Press Agency 1967
The original choice to play Dr. Zaius was not Maurice Evans, but Edward G. Robinson. Supposedly Robinson could not bear the grueling makeup regimen and bowed out before filming began.
According to John Chambers, head makeup man for Planet of the Apes it took three and a half hours to turn a man into an ape. Continue reading →
Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland
There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.
First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.
Hanging on the Telephone
Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”
The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.
The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says, “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”
The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.
Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.
Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.
But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.