Andy Sullivan; Against The Grain
Most of us are familiar with the classic song “She’s Not There”. Did you know that songwriter Rod Argent built the lyrics from a John Lee Hooker song, whose title of “No One Told Me” became a part of the opening of “She’s Not There”. Following the April 29, 1964 performance by The Zombies at St Albans Market Hall, Argent played the one verse he’d written for Ken Jones, who was set to produce the bands first recording session. It was released three months later in the UK. It was released two months later in the U.S. It peaked at #12 in the U.K and #2 in the U.S. Santana’s cover peaked at #12 in the U.K and #27 on the U.S. Billboard chart, #20 on Cash Box.
“Polk Salad Annie” is a 1968 song written and originally performed by Tony Joe White. The song was produced by Billy Swan, who. Six years later, would have a #1 hit with the song he wrote called “I Can Help”. Back to “Polk”. The song, also recorded by Elvis and Jerry Reed, has had plenty of chart success. White took the song to #8. Elvis covered the song and made it a staple of his performances in the early ‘70’s. His version became the only version of the song to chart in the U.K.(#23) and Ireland(#16).
“Nothing Compares 2 U” was done pretty much perfectly by Sinead O’Conner in 1990. Most, including myself at one point, probably assume she wrote the song. It was, in fact, written by Prince. The late Purple One wrote the song in 1985 for his side project, funk band The Family. The version wasn’t released and received little recognition. Five years later, the song was released by Sinead O’Conner, who would become more infamous for ripping up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live than she would for her music. She took the song to #1 in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Europe, Finland, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States.
Erma Franklin, Aretha’s sister, originally recorded the song “Piece Of My Heart” in 1967. The song came to greater mainstream attention when Big Brother and The Holding Company(featuring Janis Joplin on lead vocals) covered the song in 1968 and had a much bigger hit with it. The song was covered by Dusty Springfield that same year. It was Faith Hill’s debut single in 1994. Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone duetted on the song in 2005. The original recording peaked at #62 in the U.S. Janis’ version was certified Gold and Faith Hill took the song to #1.
Our final cover has a NASCAR connection. You have probably heard “Runnin’ Down a Dream” before most races on NBC. The artist performing that version is ZZ Ward. Yes, it is a cover. One of my all-time favorites, the late, great Tom Petty wrote it along with Jeff Lynn and fellow Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. The song appeared on Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 1989 album Full Moon Fever. It was a #1 for Tom and the guys. There is no record of Wards’ version charting. Petty’s version has been used for NBA Finals multiple years as well as Ward’s cover for NASCAR, showcasing its cultural appeal.
That’s all of my song deep dive for this week. There’s plenty more where that came from!