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Songs where we're more familiar with covers than the originals

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by minor muppetz, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Yesterday, Tough Pigs posted this article: http://www.toughpigs.com/the-muppets-taught-me-every-popular-song-ive-ever-heard-of/

    It's about how most of the songs the writer knows are because of the Muppets performance (and at the end adds that every song after 1981 is because Weird Al Yankovic did a parody or included it in one of his polka medleys).

    In thinking more about this, I thought it'd be fun to start a thread about songs where we're more familiar with a cover or perhaps "niche" performance than of the original. Of course I'm sure most of us know the majority of popular songs we do because of the Muppets, and it's okay to mention that here, but I'd like to talk about particular songs where we know about them from sources other than the original source or because the Muppets did a cover (there are several popular songs that the Muppets never did).

    It's interesting how few songs have both been covered by the Muppets and parodied/included in a medley by Weird Al Yankovic. When I first heard of Weird Al Yankovic, I knew he did parodies - his first song I knew of was "Eat It", and I already knew about "Beat It", and the person who first told me about him told me that he did parodies of songs (actually, I think he worded it as "making fun of songs" - I don't think I knew the word "parody" back then). When it comes to the majority of Weird Al songs, there's a higher percentage of me hearing the parodies/polka medleys before I first heard the original (I think Running with Scissors, and to a lesser extent Bad Hair Day and Poodle Hat, is the biggest exception, with me already being familiar with many of the original songs). Even with recent parodies I'm not familiar with the original (I prefer to listen to oldies/'80s music stations on the radio, but I do still hear a lot of modern music thanks to other people). In fact when his last album came out, I hadn't known ANY of the songs that were parodied and actually checked out most of the parody targets the day before the album came out (and then it turns out 2014 was a year full of songs I really like, not just the songs from Mandatory Fun).

    TV Tropes has the "Weird Al Effect" page, showcasing examples of people being more familiar with parodies (especially his songs) than the original, and I think Yankovic sometimes says in interviews that fans often hear his parodies first, and I especially recall an interview where he says Madonna did a cover of "American Pie" one year after "The Saga Begins" and fans asked why Madonna did an unfunny parody of a Weird Al song, but I think everybody knows that half his songs are parodies (and I've often dealt with or heard about casual fans who think all of his songs are parodies), even if they don't know what the song's a parody of I'd expect them to expect it to be a parody (also, I feel "American Pie" is one of those really famous old hits that modern audiences know).

    Additionally, I'd say a large portion of my knowledge of songs from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s come from their usage on The Wonder Years (though to be fair, many of them were the original recordings). I remember getting into The Wonder Years and then hearing certain songs I remember from the show on the radio or somewhere and I'd say, "I heard that on The Wonder Years!" I also grew up frequently seeing commercials for albums of old songs (some compilations of older singers/music groups my parents or grandparents grew up with, some decade or genre compilations) and would pay attention and recall many of the songs sampled in the commercials. That really familiarized me with certain songs.

    One odd case of me being familiar with a parody before the original was the Dr. Mario commercial featuring a variation of "Witch Doctor". I often think of the song with lyrics relating to playing a video game (and the witch doctor shrinking the singers head in retaliation) a bit more than the Chipmunks version. This commercial came shortly before Homeward Bound, and when I saw that movie and they sung a bit of the song, I just thought it was funny because I'd heard it in a commercial.
  2. Old Thunder

    Old Thunder Well-Known Member

    Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” is the biggest cover no one knows is a cover.
    minor muppetz likes this.
  3. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I definitely didn't know that.
  4. Old Thunder

    Old Thunder Well-Known Member

    I didn’t either until Slacker ranked it #1 on their greatest covers list.
  5. snichols1973

    snichols1973 Well-Known Member

    If anyone ever mistakenly said that "Twist and Shout" was the greatest Lennon-McCartney composition that the Beatles ever wrote, they'd be in error, because "Twist and Shout" was written by Phil Medley & Bert Russell (not Lennon & McCartney), and originally recorded by the Isley Brothers in 1961; the Beatles covered it 2 years later in 1963 when it was released on Please Please Me, their UK debut album, and released in the U.S. as a hit single.
  6. Froggy Fool

    Froggy Fool Well-Known Member

    I learned recently that "I Will Always Love You" was originally recorded by Dolly Parton - I was more familiar with Whitney Houston's cover of the song.
  7. Old Thunder

    Old Thunder Well-Known Member

    You may be more familiar with these but I learned almost right away that they were covers.....
  8. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Another surprising one is Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, which is actually Robert Hazard's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
    That's right, teh song was sung by a man!!! :eek:
  9. Old Thunder

    Old Thunder Well-Known Member

    That wasn’t a very big surprise, I found it out shortly after I first heard the song. But talk about a much better cover and you’re absolutely right.

    Another great (arguably better) cover from her is “Money Changes Everything.” Great stuff.
  10. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    bowling for soup's 1985 is a cover

    its arguably better than the original
  11. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, definitely Polly Darton's "I Will Always Love You." Same with Sinnead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2U."
  12. ConsummateVs

    ConsummateVs Well-Known Member

    I think we're all much more familiar with the Muppet version of Mahna Mahna than the original version.
  13. Hayley B

    Hayley B Well-Known Member

    How about "With a Little Help from My Friends" from The Beatles. I'm more use to the cover version from Joe Cocker.
  14. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    Even as a teenager, I thought that was an original muppet song. Wasn't until I was 17 that I figured out it wasn't.

    Honestly, being a big Beatles fan, I'm more used to Ringo's version. But Joe Cocker's was certainly bad***!
  15. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    OMG, that song was such a huge part of my childhood! I can't believe it's a cover. What's next, you gonna tell me that Michael Jackson wasn't the first to record Beat It.

    I didn't realize until recently that The Wishing Song was a cover because it fit so well with Gonzo's character
  16. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

  17. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Hmm, this song is pretty depressing now that I think about it, lol. But the band sounds almost exactly like Bowling For Soup but with slightly higher voices.
  18. MikaelaMuppet

    MikaelaMuppet Well-Known Member

    How about? Year 3000 and About You Now?
  19. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    The Beatles version of Twist and Shout is by far the most well known, most people think it was originally done by The Isley Brothers, but actually...
  20. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    I always thought that "Blinded by the Light" was originally done by Manfred Mann's Earth Band in 1977, but I learned that the song was written by Bruce Springsteen for his 1973 album Greetings from Asbury Park. Bruce IS the boss, but the Earth Band's version is 10 times better in my opinion.

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