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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

Back Under the Covers

Artists have been covering and sampling songs for years.  I usually wonder how much the artists must pay to sample a certain song.  “Early in the Morning” is a song originally performed by The Gap Band and written by member Charlie Wilson and producers Lonnie Simmons and Rudy Taylor.  It was released in 1982 and went onto become their biggest hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #24, and topped Billboard’s R&B chart for three weeks.  The single also peaked at #13 on the dance charts.  The song was a hit again when the late Robert Palmer covered it in 1988.  This version peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is, to date, the highest charting version of the song on that chart. Fun fact: Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters lead Dave Grohl credits the song for inspiring the drum intro to Nirvana’s hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

“She Said Yeah” is the opening track on the Rolling Stones 1965 UK album Out of Our Heads.  They actually cover quite a few songs on this album: Solomon Burke’s “Cry To Me”, They covered Otis Redding’s 1965 hit “That’s How Strong My Love Is” They covered Sam Cooke’s 1964 hit “Good Times as well.

Steppenwolf had a massive hit with “Born To Be Wild” in 1968.  Unbeknownst to me, Wilson Pickett covered it a year later.  It was the third single on their 1968 self-titled debut album.  It became their most successful single, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It was kept out of the top spot by “People Got to Be Free” by the Rascals.  In 2004, “Born To Be Wild” was placed by Rolling Stone magazine at #129 on their Top 500 greatest songs of all-time list.  The song reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.  The song has been covered from artists such as INXS and Kim Wilde.  None charted as well as the original.

“I Don’t Know Why” is a song by Stevie Wonder from his 1968 album For Once In My Life.  It was released as a single on January 28, 1969 with My Cherie Amour on the B-Side.  A few months later, the song was re-issued with sides reversed because of the growing popularity of “My Cherie Amour”, which became a top 10 hit.  “Don’t Know Why” peaked at #39 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.  The song was recorded when Wonder was 18 years old.  The Rolling Stones covered the song for their 1975 album Metamorphosis.  It was recorded on July 3, 1969.  The song was also a B-side for their 1975 single “Try a Little Harder” and peaked at #42 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

I close with this: rapper Warren G sampled Michael McDonald’s 1982 hit “I Keep Forgetting” for his 1994 song “Regulate” .  McDonald’s “I Keep Forgetting” reached #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Regulate” reached #2 on Billboard Hot 100 in 1994.  (

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