I love listening to different versions of the same song, especially when both are terrific.
A couple of my favorites are “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which was recorded by both Gladys Night & the Pips and Marvin Gaye (of course, a lot of other bands have covered it, too). Interesting that both artists were on Motown, and both released the song as a single.
Gladys released it first in 1967, and it went to #2 on the charts.
And Marvin released his version a year later; it went to #1.
Marvin Gaye’s version of “Grapevine” is more famous, but I love both of them. I don’t think I could pick out a favorite. He takes the sexy route on his version, and Gladys rocks out more on hers.
And then there’s “Viva Las Vegas.” I got to know the Dead Kennedys’ version first:
But then there’s Elvis. I love Elvis Presley, in a totally non-ironic way.
How can you possibly pick a favorite?
Listening to both versions back-to-back, I was struck by how similar they are. The tempos are almost the same, the arrangements aren’t all that different, and both Elvis and Jello Biafra really sell the vocals.
And speaking of Las Vegas …