From the Ticket Stub Bin – One Song


Today’s Music: See Below.

A hard ticket to get...


We’ve all heard covers of songs. Sometimes it’s almost a note for note cover of the original (Rascal Flats covering Tom Cochrane’s Life Is A Highway). Sometimes it brings the song to a whole new, previously unimagined level (Jimi Hendrix on Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower).
And sometimes you get to hear three different versions of a song that you never expected to hear live in the first place.

One year, I was lucky enough to see Eric Clapton, Tony Bennett and Tori Amos in concert. Not together (Though that would probably an incredible show!).
All three of them did Somewhere Over The Rainbow. From the Wizard of Oz.
Let me refresh your memory…

She sings it with a child’s wistfulness. It’s a beautiful song of innocence and aspiration. Really, you have to be pretty jaded to not feel anything when listening to it.

Tony Bennett was a contemporary of Judy. By all accounts, they were friends.
When I saw Tony, he led into this song by describing what a wonderful person Judy was, and how much he missed her.
That version seemed laced with sadness, perhaps regret.
The version below is more fun and playful. There’s hope, but Tony’s voice makes it seem more like a fond reminiscence of someone unavoidably detained…

During an encore set, Clapton came out with his acoustic guitar and launched into the song.
I think he does a great job with it. His version is interesting to me, because (by all accounts) he’s made it over the rainbow. I think he has a very fun take on the song, not least of which is “Really? Clapton is doing that song? Live?”
But he doesn’t turn it into a Clapton tour-de-force. There is plenty of room for the rest of the band to shine and fill, and his jazzy version really does sound good to me.

Tori has a…distinct style. Many of her songs I honestly find a bit disturbing. Which I think is what Tori is going for. She writes a lot about pain, and I think that carries through well in her music.
When I saw her and recognized the song from the intro, I expected it to be a creepy, bent version of a classic.
But what she did instead, for me, is unlock some of the true meaning of the song. She sings it with such heartache, such longing, that I, as a listener, could only hope and pray that she would make it over the rainbow.

One song. Three unique perspectives. Each a highlight of their show.
But of course, just for giggles, I have to throw this one in too. Just because it’s fun.

So a question for y’all: What song cover made you think about the original in a whole different way?

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76 responses to “From the Ticket Stub Bin – One Song

  1. Oh, I don’t know… But love all of them, especially IZ, and Eric Clapton 🙂
    Peace
    xandi

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  2. It’s a great tune, xandi. I love the way Clapton kind of “jazzified” it.

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  3. I love them all. I think Tori Amos gives a more haunting and tragic version. It’s better when I don’t watch her since she’s a bit of a face maker.
    I’ll go ahead and say the same thing for IZ, as far as not watching! haha! But I actually like his version because it has a completely different feel to it, islandy, upbeat, a little sweeter and more innocent?
    Great post!

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  4. Flaming Lips do a cracking live version

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  5. Not sure. Now, I admit, I’ve not been to many concerts. But my two favorite I have seen are John Denver – and that was because of the audience participation. In general, an older crowd and everyone joined in singing. It was great. And my other favorite was the Moody Blues. And that was because of the weather. It was in an outdoor amphitheater, with the stage and lower seating covered. A magnificent lightning storm moved in and literally the lightning and thunder would coincide with the beat of the music only adding to the affect. Then the storm got so bad they had to stop the concert. Even though I was under the roof, the wind blew so hard, we were drenched. A lot of people left thinking they wouldn’t come back out. But they did. And since so many people left, we moved down to the first row of box seats which had tables and more comfy chairs and finished off the concert down there. It was great!

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  6. My vote goes to Clapton. That guy could do a remake of a commercial jingle and I would listen.

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    • Agreed, Sightsnbytes. You have to go far out of your way to find a bad song by him. (Though I’m not a huge fan of the Reptile album. May have to go re-listen to it…)

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  7. whiteladyinthehood

    Guapo, I am a hard rocker at heart so this post scared me a little bit.
    😉 – I love Eric Clapton.

    I listened to the last one because the scenery is to die for beautiful. Then, I have little one today and she said, “Play it again, Play it again!” and I did and big man serenaded her right into sweepy time (I think I played it like 4 times). It was like magic. You are fantastic!

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    • I wonder if this song will inspire the little one to listen to more music, whiteladyinthehood!
      I went to see Tony Bennett because, well, he’s Tony Bennett. I got Tori tickets to take my wife, because she’s come to waaay too many shows that I wanted to see, but I really enjoyed it.
      People can say what they will about Tori, but she is very gifted and has a very strong point of view that she believes in.
      And Clapton I think I’ve seen 4 times now, last with Steve Winwood. That was unbelievable.

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  8. Personally, I liked both the Clapton and the Hawaiian version the best. Amos’ version seemed too bad for me …. yet Bennett is a classic.

    Nonetheless, each artist captures an aspect of the song that is important to them – which is one of the great beauties of music. So in that spirit, here’s a post from an interesting post from one who stops by my site. http://composerinthegarden.com/2012/01/20/my-brain-on-jazz/

    Enjoy … and good post! …. and congrats to those in NY on the Super Bowl win …. even the Jets fans who simply enjoyed seeing the Pats lose.

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    • Thanks, aFrankAngle. I’ve read the post and will listen to the soundtracks later, but I totally agree with him – music does definitely stretch the brain!
      And really, the Pats losing just sweetens the victory!

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  9. Oh! I think I’m in love! IZ won me over….Clapton melted me, but he ALWAYS does! As for which cover has made me think of the original in a different light…the, arguably, most covered song in history comes to mind, My Way….and Sid Vicious’ cover definitely made me see the Sinatra version in a new light. I’m also reminded of Christina Aguilera’s cover of At Last….a song I thought NO ONE could touch but Etta James, but Aguilera nails it beautifully.

    Cool post Guapo!

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    • Chrisitna Aguilera always surprises me with her vocal range. I’m looking forward to her stuff as she continues to mature.
      And now I’m on my way to check out the My Way cover.
      Thanks Alex!

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  10. Yes! One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies. I have always been partial to the Ukulele version.
    You know what Guap? You’re an Ok kinda guy! (sometimes).

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    • Ginger, I have to ask – which movie? The song has over 20 film/tv credits!
      I first heard it in the ok Finding Forrester flick with Sean Connery.

      “Ok kinda guy! (sometimes)”
      Thank you! I’m reveling in my occasional mediocrity!

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  11. Really enjoyed that Tori Amos rendition… god, she is captivating. What cover do I like? I love Ana Free’s version of Here is Gone by the Goo Goo Dolls (even better than the original): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igE3PUZ_DL4

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    • Nice. thanks, Asplenia. Never heard of Anna Free before, but that’s a great cover! (and now I know the chords to that song!)
      I’ll check out more of her, thanks for the turn on!

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  12. Oh how music has changed…..
    Andrea

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  13. Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole is one big dude with an even bigger name.

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  14. Hi,
    I would definitely have to go with the Hawaiian version of the song, totally different, but I like the way it was done. 🙂

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  15. Remember when those eBay commercials played the IZ version 500 times a day?

    I kind of like Tony’s version because it seems to be sung from the optimistic, confident belief that that place exists, all the others hope it does.

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  16. Love all three versions, and all three artists. Not to mention the haunting and neck-prickly Hawaiian version which is an of the charts favorite of mine.

    Going with Tori on this one, to answer your question. Her voice, and piano work, really did make me think. Had never heard this cover by Tori prior to your posting, and she’s somewhat of a heroine of mine.
    Have you ever seen her play live? For years I’ve been trying to figure out how she performs while sitting at the piano at an almost straddle stance. Glen Gould is the only other pianist I can think of who performs in such an unusual way, physically. Different pose but just as impossible to grasp.

    Loved all the vids and versions. Great way to spend some much needed free time this afternoon.
    Thanks EG!

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    • I took my girl to see her several years ago, where I heard her do this, Rachael. I know what you mean about the way she sits on her bench. It’s like she’s draped across it, but still sharp, like a soft luxurious curtain studded with broken glass.
      She is a great show, and aside form seeing three acts do the same song, her version stuck in my head the most,.
      I think it;s the most…passionate of the 4 above.

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  17. I’ll vote for not Clapton.

    It does bring up a good point, though: Kermit was wrong. There aren’t so many songs about rainbows. There’s just two. That one and this one.

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  18. Wow, great collection. Clapton’s version was the most different from the original, as in a guitar version. The ukulele was cool, Tony was way cool, and Tori, well I want to make her an honorary Canadian after that one. I’llm go with the Tori Amos version.

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  19. I loved Tori’s version of this one. Oz and I go way back musically, and I have always loved this song. Tori brings to it a different sort of wistfulness to which I can more closely identify.

    Although I have never truly been a fan of covers, mainly because I have a hard enough time with original artists, this was entertaining and Reducational.

    Red.

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  20. EG, all great, true – but only Tony Bennett, who really respects the writer, and the great set-up to the refrain, sings that amazing intro which adds oh so much to the meaning of this great yip Harburg lyric. love this post…continue…

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  21. I am going with the Hawaiian one – Wizard of Oz and anything related – creeps me out does that make me horrible? I wouldn’t let my kids watch it…
    Very cool post and I won’t hold the song against ya :and yeah no I too am wondering if Kermit was wrong – I mean are there so many songs – like 2 or so many versions of 2 songs….huh…..a lot to think about …
    Cool Beans!

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    • Why don’t you like the Wizard of Oz, lizziecracked?
      Is it the flying monkeys or Tot? Because that dog is just wrong…

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      • the flying monkeys – as a concept are no big deal. Toto – yeah something off but the real problem was – the sky. Yeah – the color and the non limitlessness of the sky – and the wicked witch….apparently my brother slept with a pail of water by his bed for a month – I wish he had told me… I wonder if they did it with a real sky if I would like it…I was so uncomfortable…. weird I know

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  22. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie of all time. The song is awesome as is and people try to cover it in their own original way…all great…I don’t think it’s possible to do a bad cover of this song. Classic…

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  23. I love this. I hope you do more. I loved all the different takes on Somewhere Over the Rainbow. My favorite is the Hawaiian one because that was what was played at my daughter’s wedding! Judy Garland does another rendition later in her life that is very moving where she’s dressed up like a clown. It’s probably on you tube. I’d embed it here, but whenever I try to do that I always do it wrong.

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  24. Coltrane’s version of My Favorite Things and the Husker Du version of Eight Miles High both recontextualize the originals to the point of almost being moot…

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    • Absolutely on the Coltrane tune. It is it’s own living, breathing, unique creation. More like a distant cousin of the original.
      I’ll have to check out the Husker Du cover.

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  25. And yes, same for the Crue’s version of Helter Skelter…

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    • Yes, it’s a brand new version, but, while it is a rockin’ number, I don’t think that highly of it, Brian. It didn’t make me reconsider the original, except maybe to appreciate it more…

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  26. I love that song! I liked Tori’s version best.

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    • Thanks Hobbler – another vote for Tori.
      I’m impressed by how many people like her version best.

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      • I think it’s the emotion. I have cried at that song before (possibly hormone related). To see it done with all the emotion of a PMSy woman is just heartbreaking and lovely at the same time…of course my opinions might be hormone related too. 😉

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        • I wouldn’t write it off as hormonal, Hobbler. Music can definitely be that powerful. And this song can be fuel to the fire of any emotional state – joy, pain, anger, sorrow…

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  27. Nothing hormonal at all. The right chord progression or melody can hit me just the right way and make me all meepy as well. Happens all the time, in fact.

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    • You boys have no right to talk about hormones…you hear me? NO RIGHT! Everyone thinks they know what its like…sniff. I guess it’s kind of okay if you’re in touch with your feminine side…no, I take that back…you should know better!

      I need some chocolate… 😉

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  28. i love the music choices in this post!

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  29. Hobbler, Guapola told me he was wearing panties when he wrote the above, if that helps. ;P

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  30. …runs out the door…

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  31. IZ and then Clapton.

    It is strange for Clapton to sing something like that, as I could not imagine him doing that back in the days of the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Blues Breakers, Cream etc., etc.

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  32. The last one has always been my favorite since I first heard it in Adam Sandler’s movie 50 First Dates.

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  33. Johnny Cash’s version of NIN’s “Hurt” made me reappraise the original.

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Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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