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Spooky Original

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The Spooky original was an instrumental

Thanks to Guy Richie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I discovered the groovy song “Spooky” by Dusty Springfield. Written by Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr, Springfield’s “Spooky” came out in 1970. American band, Classics IV, performed another well-known version of “Spooky” in 1967. However, the “Spooky” original was a saxophone instrumental performed by Shapiro, as Mike Sharpe, released earlier that year.

Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone Original

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Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone Originally About a Bad Dad

Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in 1971. In the words of Stereogum editor, Tom Breihan, “It’s a song about a piece of shit.” The song is a conversation, sung in alternating lines by siblings asking their mother about their dead father. He wasn’t a great man. Motown recording act the Undisputed Truth released the “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” original in May 1973. The Temptation’s more well-known version came out four months later. However, the song is more about its writer, Whitfield, than either of those bands. His psychedelic soul classic was the forerunner to the extended single and to disco and house music.

Gloria Original

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A Gloria Original in Italian

In the 1970s, Italian musicians Umberto Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi wrote a love song called “Gloria”. In 1979, Tozzi recorded the original version of “Gloria”, a song where the protagonist longs for a woman named Gloria. A few years later, New Yorker Laura Branigan recorded an English cover. Unlike the “Gloria” original, Branigan addresses Gloria, who’s all messed up over some guy, directly. Tozzi’s version was very popular, especially in Europe. But Branigan’s 1982 single sold over two million copies in the United States alone.

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.

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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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His Latest Flame Original

His Latest Flame Original & Cover Released Within Months

Songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman wrote “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame”, a “light-hearted story song with a Latin-influenced Bo Diddley beat”. Rock ‘n’ roll musician Del Shannon released the “His Latest Flame” original in June 1961 on his debut album Runaway With Del Shannon. And then a couple months later, Elvis Presley released a more successful and well-known cover in August 1961. A likable tune, “His Latest Flame” performed well on both pop and easy listening radio stations.

Check out His Latest Flame by Elvis

Manic Monday Original

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Two Manic Monday Originals

In 1984, Prince wrote “Manic Monday”, anthem of beleaguered office workers everywhere. The song became a breakout hit for American pop group, the Bangles, in 1986. However in 1984, an American trio called Apollonia 6 recorded the “Manic Monday” original. And prior to that, Prince himself recorded an impressive demo that could be considered another “Manic Monday” original.

Check out the Bangles Greatest Hits

Baby Face Original

A 1920s Baby Face Original

In the 1920s, songwriter Harry Akst wrote the music for “Baby Face” and vaudeville performer and songwriter Benny Davis wrote the lyrics. They published the song in 1926. In 1958, Little Richard, one of the most influential people in popular music and culture for seven decades, released a rock ‘n’ roll version of “Baby Face” that became his highest charting single in the UK. However Jan Garber and his orchestra recorded the “Baby Face” original back in 1926. Since that time, the song has been a standard, with versions that range from vaudeville to disco, released by a variety of artists.

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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.

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A Touch of Paradise Original

Mondo Rock’s Touch of Paradise Original

“A Touch Of Paradise” is about an unknown place that is … well, paradise. Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock frontman), Gulliver Smith (Australian prog rock band Company Caine’s frontman) and Roger McLachlan (Little River Band bass player) wrote the song in the late 1970s. “A Touch Of Paradise” appeared on John Farnham’s iconic 12th studio album, 1986’s Whispering Jack, released during his splendiferous mullet heyday. Rock band Mondo Rock released the “A Touch Of Paradise” original in 1982. It appeared on their third studio album Nuovo Mondo.

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