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Bitter Sweet Symphony original

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What is the Bitter Sweet original?

The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” is a defining songs from one of my favourite music periods, the Britpop era. In the late 90s, you could hear this song everywhere. It was in indie clubs, on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack, on Nike commercials and every time England played international football matches. The “Bitter Sweet Symphony” melody is based on a sample from the Andrew Oldham Orchestra cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 song “The Last Time”. Legal controversy meant that the Verve only received token royalties for one of the most popular 90s songs. But what is the “Bitter Sweet Symphony” original?

“The Last Time” itself is heavily inspired by the Staple Singers’ “This May Be the Last Time”. Also, it is the Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording that features those distinctive string passages heard in “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. That’s why I wonder if “The Last Time” really can be considered the “Bitter Sweet Symphony” original.

Whatta Man original

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The Whatta Man original, paving the way for female empowerment

In the 1960s American R&B musician, songwriter, radio personality and Atlantic Records producer Dave Crawford wrote a song in celebration of good men. Twenty-five years later, hip-hop trio Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue brought out a version of “Whatta Man” that reached the top ten in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. The accompanying video clip, which won three MTV music video awards, featured cameos by Tupac Shakur and Treach from Naughty by Nature. It’s ironic that a song representing such a strong female point of view was written by a man. It’s also interesting that the singer of the 1968 “Whatta Man” original, Linda Lyndell, was white.

Achy Breaky Heart Original

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Origins of the Achy Breaky Heart Original

In 1990, amateur songwriter Don Von Tress, from Cypress Inn, Tennessee, penned a ditty by the name of “Achy Breaky Heart”. Von Tress wrote the song in the famed Nashville recording studio, the Music Mill. He claimed he was “just fooling around on the guitar and a drum machine.” “Achy Breaky Heart” launched Kentuckian Billy Ray Cyrus’s music career and made line dancing go mainstream. However, it was country music trio the Marcy Brothers who recorded the “Achy Breaky Heart” original. And their version had even more twang.

Check out Achy Breaky merch

Come As You Are Original

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How Many Come As You Are Originals?

The bass riff from American grunge band Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” is one of the most iconic sounds of the 90s. But where did it come from? Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain wrote “Come As You Are”. Many claim Nirvana slowed down the riff from English band Killing Joke’s 1984 song, “Eighties”. Anyone who listens to both songs will certainly hear the similarities. But is it just a coincidence? And what other songs feature a similar riff? A few in fact. There’s Garden of Delight’s “22 Faces” from 1984, the Damned’s “Life Goes On” from 1982 and the earliest version I could find, Bauhaus’ “Hollow Hills” from 1981. Which one is the “Come As You Are” original?

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Professional Widow Original

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Professional Widow: Original v Remix

Who didn’t love cutting sick to the lyrics “It’s gotta be big” in 1990s nightclubs? Tori Amos released the “Professional Widow” original in 1996. She included the “harpsichord-driven rock dirge” on her third studio album, Boys For Pele. As a single, it came with Armand’s Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix, probably one of the best remixes of all time. Even me, a 90s kid, thought Armand Van Helden’s remix was the “Professional Widow” original. But the real “Professional Widow” original is just as musically interesting as the remix. And yes, we’ll be addressing those rumours that this song is about Courtney Love.

Check out Boys For Pele

Remember Me Original

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Woman of the Ghetto – the Remember Me Original

Note: this article refers to the 1997 song by Scottish DJ Blue Boy and the “Remember Me” “original” – Marlena Shaw’s “Woman of the Ghetto”. It is not about the song of the same name from the 2017 Pixar film, Coco.

The lyrics, “Remember me? I’m the one who had your babies, I,” refer to African-American maids raising white children for barely any pay. Blue Boy took the song’s title from a line sampled from Shaw’s live performance of “Woman of the Ghetto” at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Blue Boy arranged his song around two samples from Shaw’s performance.

The “Remember Me” “original” – “Woman of the Ghetto” – is a 1969 soul song, originally recorded for Shaw’s second album The Spice of Life. The version we discuss comes from her album 1974 soul-jazz album Live At Montreux. Blue Boy’s “Remember Me” is technically a sample rather than a cover but since it’s so heavily built around Shaw’s lyrics, we wanted to explore it here. Both are very interesting songs held together by that iconic refrain “ging, gi-gi-gi-gi-ging”.

Check out the Live at Montreux album

It’s Oh So Quiet Original


In 1948, German performer Horst Winter (aka Harry Winter) recorded a song composed by Hans Lang with lyrics written by Erich Meder. The song was “Und Jetzt ist es Still”. Lyricist Bert Reisfeld translated it into English and called the song “It’s Oh So Quiet”. In 1951, American actress, comedian, dancer and singer Betty Hutton performed the first English version of “It’s Oh So Quiet”. And then in 1995, the song was further popularised by Icelandic singer Björk. Seeing it was the first version recorded, we’re considering Winter’s “Und Jetzt ist es Still” as the “It’s Oh So Quiet” original.

Check out music by Björk

It’s a Fine Day Original

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It’s a Fine Day at the Nightclub

If you went clubbing in the 90s, you’ll probably remember swaying around to Opus III’s “It’s a Fine Day”. But did you know that the “It’s a Fine Day” original was recorded a cappella in 1983 by Jane? Jane Lancaster was a friend (although some sources say girlfriend) of English poet Edward (or sometimes Owain) Barton, the writer of “It’s a Fine Day”.

Waiting for Tonight Original

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In 1997, Maria Christensen, Michael Garvin and Phil Temple wrote “Waiting for Tonight”. The song is a dance-tune about a woman eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new man. Jennifer Lopez’s 1999 version became a celebratory anthem associated with the eve of the new millennium. The “Waiting for Tonight” original was recorded two years earlier by Christensens’ girl group 3rd Party. This version had a decidedly more Europop sound to it.

Torn Original

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An Introduction to Torn

“Torn” is a song about a woman who thought she found the perfect guy but it turns out she didn’t. I’m sure many of you can relate! Anyway, she ends up “all out of faith” and “lying naked on the floor”. Considered a 90s anthem, “Torn” launched former Neighbours star Natalie Imbruglia’s singing career. In 2011, it was the most played song on Australia radio since 1990. It was also the qualifying song One Direction performed on UK X Factor in 2010. The “Torn” original was written by members of LA rock band Ednaswap back in 1993. And it was recorded three times before Imbruglia’s 1997 version.

Check out Left of the Middle by Natalie Imbruglia