How many times have we heard the mantra ‘a great cover is the artist having “made the song their own”’.
Here are 10 examples of tracks that have become so synonymous with one act that many people haven’t a clue that it’s not the original.
10. Ray of Light - Madonna (1998)
British Folk duo Curtiss Maldoon only released one eponymously titled album, in 1971, on Deep Purple’s record label. Dance producer William Orbit was a fan of their delicate psychedelic song Sepheryn, with its refrain “Quicker than a ray of light”.
In 1996, he teamed up with Christine Leach, the niece of one of the duo, Clive Maldoon, to record a version. He played it to Madonna, who adapted it into Ray Of Light, a single Entertainment Weekly described as a “siren-like techno-glitter-ball”.
9. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper (1983)
One of the great feminist pop anthems of the 1980s was originally sung by a man. In 1979, Robert Hazard wrote Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in 15 minutes in a motel bath.
8. Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison (1987)
In 1963, George Harrison became the first Beatle to set foot on American soil when he visited his sister Louise in Illinois. During this trip, he bought a copy of I’ve Got My Mind Set On You by R&B singer James Ray.
His 1961 single If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody was already a staple of The Beatles’ live shows. In 1987, Harrison decided to return to music after spending much of the 1980s making films. He chose Got My Mind Set On You as his comeback single.
7. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes (1981)
The best-selling single of 1981 in the US (spending nine weeks at number one) was originally a 1975 album track by Jackie DeShannon, complete with a big band intro and country-style steel guitar.
6. I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll - Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (1982)
Joan Jett came upon her signature song by watching British children’s TV. Touring the UK in 1976 with her first band The Runaways, she saw the power-pop trio Arrows perform the track on their weekly ITV music show.
5. Denis - Blondie (1978)
Blondie came across the song by their fellow New-Yorkers on a K-Tel compilation, changed the sex and added a verse in broken French.
4. Sailing - Rod Stewart (1975)
Only one Rod Stewart single has sold a million copies in the UK, and it started out as flop three years earlier for The Sutherland Brothers Band.
The Scottish duo released Sailing as the second single from their 1972 album Lifeboat. Rod made it the lead single from his own nautically-named 1975 album Atlantic Crossing.
3. Don’t Cha - The Pussycat Dolls (2005)
In 2005, the refrain “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” could be heard coming out of radios the world over. The previous year, the original version by Tori Alamaze was such a flop it caused the singer to be dropped by her record company.
Then the decision was made to try and turn the decade-old LA burlesque troupe, The Pussycat Dolls, into pop stars, and the song, written by Cee Lo Green, was to be their first single.
2. I Write The Songs - Barry Manilow (1975)
Mandy wasn’t the only song Barry didn’t write…
Manilow did not write I Write The Songs. It was composed by former Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and, while Manilow’s version won Song of the Year at the 1977 Grammys, it was not even the original.
The song first appeared on Captain and Tennille’s 1975 album Love Will Keep Us Together (they divorced this January after 39 years of marriage). The first person to release it as a single was teen idol David Cassidy, who took the track to number 11 in the UK charts in August 1975.
1. Rockin’ All Over The World - Status Quo (1977)
Rockin’ All Over the World was the song that opened Live Aid. But the man who wrote it only played one huge charity concert in 1985, and that was Farm Aid.
Though long flowing hair is a sign of beauty in women, baldness in men is very becoming. There are plenty of rappers out there that have dreadlocks, afros, and other hair styles, and then there are those that dare to go bald.
Here’s a list of Rap’s Most Recognized Bald Stars:
LL Cool J
Posdnous (De La Soul)
It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, a day to celebrate every artist who has conspired to give us one massively successful song and nothing since.
One-Hit Wonder Day was established by music journalist Steve Rosen back in 1990 to pay tribute to those who have had their five minutes (or less) of fame and subsequently vanished, leaving us only a catchy (hopefully!) tune to remember them by.
Here’s our selection of 7 memorable one-hitters from the pop-tastic ’90s.
7. Macarena [Los Del Rio]
6. Tubthumping [Chumbawamba]
5. Jump Around [House Of Pain]
4. Unbelievable [EMF]
3. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) [Proclaimers]
2. Baby Got Back [Sir Mix-a-lot]
1. I’m Too Sexy [Right Said Fred]
7. Justin Bieber
In early 2007, aged 12, Bieber sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” for a local singing competition in Stratford, the Jeanne Sauvé Catholic School, and was placed second.
6. Kelly Clarkson
Kelly is the veteran of talent shows, winning the first ever season of American Idol in 2002. Since then she’s gone on to release five albums, sell 45 million singles, and become the fourteenth best-selling artist of the 00’s.
5. Lisa Stansfield
Stansfield’s 1989 debut album, Affection, marked the arrival of a defining voice in British soul and was met with critical acclaim, selling over five million copies. But few people know Lisa’s illustrious career began in 1980 when she won the singing competition, Search for a Star.
4. Carrie Underwood
Star of the critically-acclaimed (well, almost) Sound Of Music Live, Carrie originally got famous as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Since then she’s become an incredibly successful crossover artist between country and pop.
3. Taylor Swift
Spent her weekends performing at local festivals, fairs, coffeehouses and karaoke contests. Swift won a local talent competition by singing a rendition of LeAnn Rimes’s “Big Deal”, and was given the opportunity to appear as the opening act for Charlie Daniels at a Strausstown amphitheater.
2. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer is a special case because she didn’t even come close to winning her show, being eliminated in seventh place on the third season of American Idol in 2004.
But then she went on to sell over a million albums, perform at the Super Bowl, for Oprah Winfrey, and for her friend Barack Obama, earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and OH YEAH SHE GOT AN OSCAR in 2006 for her work in Dreamgirls. And since she has a Grammy too, girl is halfway to an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony). Impressive!
1. One Direction
It’s hard to believe, because they got so famous so quickly, but 1D actually came from the UK version of The X Factor in 2010 which they didn’t win.
Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Liam Payne all entered the competition as individuals, then were placed together by Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger, only to come in third. And the rest, as they say, is history.
7. Don’t Let Go - En Vogue
Ok, maybe we’re clutching with the ‘Vogue’ name thing. Still a great sing-a-long song though…
6. Diamonds - Rihanna
5. Picture of You - Boyzone
4. Fashion - Lady Gaga
Because Gaga knows allabout fashion trends. And abattoirs.
3. Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis
Step on the King’s blue suede shoes at your peril!
2. Flashing Lights - Kanye West ft. Dwele
Not quite no.1 Mr. West. Please don’t rant at us!
1. Glamorous - Fergie ft. Ludacris
1. Upload a Freestyle Using Words That Don’t Rhyme
There are thousands in the English language that don’t rhyme with any other word. Challenge yourself to find as many of them as possible. Download the free Art of Rap app from App Store and Google Play and upload your freestyle to YouTube. We’ll feature the best one in our newsletter.
2. Find ‘Close Rhymes’ to Words That Don’t Rhyme With Anything
There’s nothing that rhymes with the word “purple” but “hurtful” comes pretty close! How many more “almost” rhymes can you think of?
3. Listen To Artists With Names That Don’t Rhyme
Try to create a playlist including artists and/or bands with names that don’t rhyme. Share your playlist with us on Twitter!
There are certain songs that will be loved the world over. These songs transcend generations and stay with us forever.
Then there are the other ones. Y’know, the ones that cause you to die a little inside should your headphones accidentally pop out of your iPod on the train.
To show we’re all in this together, we at PureSolo have decided to reveal our guilty pleasures and I’m willing to bet that most of us share the same ones. Enjoy.
7. George Michael - Faith
The pic’s not blurry. You’re just not worthy enough to see this man in his true, magnificent image.
6. Carlos Santana ft. Rob Thomas - Smooth
5. Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
Is she still alive?
4. George Micheal - Careless Whisper
Sorry Mike. Another one.
3. Hanson – Mmmbop
What? We’re serious.
2. R. Kelly - Bump n Grind
Are they…children? (Allegedly)
1. Celine Dion – Because You Loved me
We wanted to put a sublist of Celine Dion songs, but this one will do. Take it away, girl..