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Don’t Cha Original

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Hot Like Me

In 2004, Anthony Ray (Sir Mix-a-Lot), Thomas Callaway (CeeLo Green) and Trevor Smith (Busta Rhymes) collaborated on a song called “Don’t Cha”. With its questionable lyrics yet admittedly catchy chorus, the song taunts a man for not having a girlfriend “hot like me”. Former burlesque group, the Pussycat Dolls, released “Don’t Cha” in 2005. The tune reached number one in over 15 countries. But it was former OutKast backing vocalist, Tori Alamaze, who sung the “Don’t Cha” original. And frankly, her version is much better than the Pussycat Dolls cover. The song that was meant to launch Alamaze’s music career instead launched the Pussycat Dolls as a global musical enterprise.

Check out Don’t Cha on CD

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

When the Levee Breaks Original

Origins of the When the Levee Breaks Original

“When the Levee Breaks” tells the story of the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927. In 1971, English rock group Led Zeppelin included a reworked version of the song as the last track on their untitled fourth studio album. Featuring John Bonham’s iconic drumming, “When the Levee Breaks” is considered on par with Led Zeppelin’s seminal rock anthem, “Stairway to Heaven”, which appeared on the same album. The “When the Levee Breaks” original was recorded back in 1929 by country blues artists Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy.

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It’s Oh So Quiet Original

Introduction

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

What’s Love Got to Do With It Original

Introduction

1984’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is a song about a woman who enjoys sexy times without emotional attachment. Written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, the song is synonymous with Tina Turner. So much so that the 1993 movie about her life was given the same title. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” revived Turner’s music career and established her as an 80s icon. However, before Turner’s version, British pop group Bucks Fizz recorded the “What’s Love Got to Do With It” original.

Check out Tina Turner music and merch

Hey Joe Original

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Where Did the Hey Joe Original Originate?

“Hey Joe” became a rock standard in the 1960s. It’s a song about a man on the run to Mexico after shooting his unfaithful wife. It was also the song that turned guitarist Jimi Hendrix into a star. Some claim that “Hey Joe” is a traditional song. However, no documentary evidence backs this up, and folk singer Billy Roberts is generally credited with authorship. In late 1965, Los Angeles garage band the Leaves recorded and released the “Hey Joe” original version.

If I Were a Boy Original

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What is the If I Were a Girl Original Version?

Inspired by a difficult break up, singer-songwriter BC Jean and producer-songwriter Toby Gad wrote “If I Were a Boy”. Like Bonnie Tyler’s “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)“, the song explores society’s double standards for women and men when it comes to relationships (and everything else). Jean recorded the “If I Were a Boy” original but her record label rejected the song. Gad went on to produce a version with Beyoncé that reached the top ten on twenty-five different singles charts.

Although Jean recorded the “If I Were a Boy” original, Spanish musician Francisco Andión González (known as Patxi Andión) released a song in 1986 called “Si Yo Fuera Mujer” (If I Were a Woman). With the same theme and similar melodies, could Andión’s song be the true “If I Were a Boy” original or is this just a coincidence?

Ring My Bell Original

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Introduction

Who can forget Collette and her bike pants? Well, a lot of people, I suppose. But her version of “Ring My Bell” came out when I was 14 so it will be forever part of my teenage memories, as perplexing as I found the bike pants. At the time, I didn’t realise that in 1979 Anita Ward performed the “Ring My Bell” original version. I guess this is because of the age I was when Collette’s version came out. Is that as bad as thinking Gwyneth Paltrow performed the original “Bette Davis Eyes“?

There were quite a few covers of “Ring My Bell”. In Australia and New Zealand, at least, Collette’s would be the most well-known version. However, a fantastic dub version by Blood Sisters came out the same year as Ward’s version. Also, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince released a rap version in 1991.

You Give Love a Bad Name Original

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Introduction

In 1986, American songwriter and producer Desmond Child wrote “You Give Love a Bad Name”. It was a song about a woman who jilted her lover. “You Give Love a Bad Name” became Bon Jovi’s first hit. It propelled the band to stardom and gave rise to the “hair metal” scene. However, Child write the “You Give Love a Bad Name” original for Bonnie Tyler. It had different lyrics and a different title, “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)”. Rather than being a song about a woman leading on a man, this unknown original was about Tyler wanting to swap gender roles with her male lover. Less than three months after the release of “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” came the release of “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

Driva Man Original

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Introduction

“Driva Man” tells the story of slavery through its devastating lyrics, instrumental accompaniment and powerful vocals. Written by Max Roach and Oscar Brown Jr, “Driva Man” blends jazz with American civil rights politics. You might remember Alabama Shakes’ version from the 2013 album 12 Years A Slave (Music from and Inspired by). If you’re an English mod, you might remember Manfred Mann’s 1966 version. Or if you’re an Aussie rocker, you might recall the Beasts of Bourbon 1988 song named “Driver Man”. But the “Driva Man” original, released in 1960, is an avant-garde jazz classic performed by Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln and Coleman Hawkins.