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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

There are many classic songs that have been covered over the years.  It’s pretty well known that the Supremes performed “You Can’t Hurry Love” in 1966 on the Motown label.  Written and produced by Motown production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, the song topped the U.S. Billboard pop singles chart, made the U.K. top five and went top 10.  Sixteen years later, it would become a #1 in the U.K when Phil Collins covered the song.  It reached #1 on the U.K. singles charts for 2 weeks in January of 1983 and #10 in the U.S. singles charts that same month.

“The Way You Do The Things You Do” is a 1964 hit single for the Temptations for the Motown label.  Written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers, the single was the Temptations’ first charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #11.  The song has been an American Top 40 hit in an astounding 4 consecutive decades! A version by Hall & Oates featuring Temptations members Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin was nominated for a Grammy in 1986.  A cover version by British reggae band UB40 hit #6 in the U.S. in 1990.

George Jones recorded “The Race Is On” in June 1963 but it wasn’t released until September 1964 for the album I Get Lonely In A Hurry.  The single reached #3 on the Billboard country chart.  It also climbed to #96 on the pop charts, a rarity for a Jones single.  United Artist capitalized on its success by making it the title of his 1965 LP.  According to the Bob Allen book George Jones: Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, Don Rollins wrote the song one day after visiting Turf Paradise Race Course in Phoenix, Arizona.  Quite a few have covered the song but none more famously than Sawyer Brown.  Their cover peaked at #5 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs(Billboard) and #3 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart. That’s not the only country classic SB has covered.

“Six Days On The Road” was written by Earl Green and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio songwriter Carl Montgomery.  The song was made famous by Dave Dudley.  Dudley took the song to #2.  Sawyer Brown covered the song in 1997 for their Greatest Hits album that year.  Their version reached #9 in Canada Country Tracks and #13 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs(Billboard). 

“You Really Got Me” is a song written by Ray Davies of the English rock band The Kinks.  The song, originally performed in a more blues oriented style, was inspired by artists such as Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy.  Two versions of the song were recorded, with the second being used as a single.  It was rumored future Led Zepplin guitarist Jimmy Page performed the songs guitar solo.  That myth has since been debunked by Page himself.  The song reached #7 on the U.S. Billboard chart, #4 in Canada, #2 in Australia and #1 in the U.K.  Van Halen released a cover for their 1978 self-titled debut album.  As the band’s first single, it was a popular radio hit that jumpstarted the bands career, as it had done for the Kinks 14 years earlier.  The Kinks version reached #7 in the U.S, #2 in Australia and #1 in the U.K.  Van Helen’s reached #36 U.S, #49 Canada and #12 Australia.  Hope you enjoyed this edition of my covers journey!


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