3 years ago1,000+ Views
Full disclosure: Neither butter nor its evil counterpart, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, have really anything to do with the rest of this card at all. But the name is just so damn catchy and malleable, so, forgive me.
Moving on, I'm here to give some love to the original composers and performers of songs that you may not know deserve credit. Sometimes, a song gets buried for years, only to be picked up by a totally different artist (often in a different genre and style), and it's the second version that blows up. In lots of these cases, there is little mention of the original.
Let's change that.

I Can't Believe It's Not LED ZEPPELIN!

Song: "Dazed and Confused" (1969)
Original: Jake Holmes (1967)
Eerily enough, Jake Holmes actually has some real Robert Plant qualities to his voice. Or maybe Plant ripped his vocal style off of Holmes just like he did one of his best songs. I don't know. Is nothing sacred?

I Can't Believe It's Not AMY WINEHOUSE!

Song: "Valerie" (2007)
Original: The Zutons (2006)
The Zutons are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. They're a not-very-good mid-2000s Brit rock group, but something about the lead singer's voice is really appealing to me. Amy's version is damn-near perfect and is the basis of every A Capella group's top hit, but it wouldn't have been possible without The Zutons. Which is not something that you can say for many things in this world.

I Can't Believe It's Not ARETHA FRANKLIN!

Song: "Respect" (1967)
Original: Otis Redding (1965)
Ok, this one is legitimately surprising. I've heard the Otis version a million times and I didn't know that it was his song until recently. The two versions are really, really different, and each is awesome in its own right. It's hard to go wrong with Otis or Aretha. Everyone wins.

I Can't Believe It's Not THE BEATLES!

Song: "Twist and Shout" (1963)
Original: The Isley Brothers (1962)
The Isley Brothers didn't actually write this song - Phil Medley and Bert Burns did - but they were the first to chart the song, before The Beatles did a year later.
Fun fact: The Beatles recorded Please Please Me, the record that contains this hit, in just 10 hours. Their producer knew that "Twist and Shout" would totally ruin John Lennon's voice because of its demanding style, so he saved it for last, with just 15 minutes of scheduled recording time left. Indeed, it totally blew out Lennon's voice, and, while the producer wanted to do a second take, Lennon just couldn't manage it. Ended up fine, if you ask me.

I Can't Believe It's Not ELVIS PRESLEY!

Song: "Hound Dog" (1956)
Original: Big Mama Thornton (1952)
Oh man! OH MAN! Who is Big Mama Thornton, and where has she been? This woman is a force! She also recorded "Ball n' Chain" before Janis Joplin made it a hit. Give the lady some love! This version is fucking awesome!
But, yeah, Elvis's is better. Sorry Big Mama.
Which one surprises you the most?

Do you like the originals better, or the more popular covers?

Music community folks:

Reveal yourselves!

Whoa! Great and informative article! Thanks!
@jeff4122 I am extremely jealous of your proximity to Chuck Berry. Definitely check out Rosetta Tharpe, she has a lot of raw passion in her music. It's cool to see how she influenced the King!
@shannonl5 chuck berry still plays once a month at a bar near my school. I haven't been yet but really need to make that happen because....well... he's old. and I don't know Rosetta Tharpe! will investigate
The last three actually shocked me!! Elvis, the Beatles, Aretha... it's hard to outdo those dudes. But I think the originals definitely deserve a bit more credit ;D
Oh wow I had no idea about any of these! The Otis Redding one surprised me the most I think. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Chuck Berry and Rosetta Tharpe because they were such a huge influence on Elvis. Clearly I need to investigate even more!
View more comments