The art of making cover is extremely widespread in the world of pop and rock music. The cover is the reinterpretation or the remaking of a melodic composition, performed in the beginning by other artists. Often in the cover, music and text are modified or translated in other languages. On the basis of the extent of the rehandling the royalties are shared in percentage between the first composer and who brought the modification.
In the course of her career Pat Benatar often drew from musical patrimony of artists more or less famous. The research for the compilation of this page provided unexpected outcomes producing the discovery of singers or bands unknown or forgotten, or famous in a continent and known by few people in the rest of the world.
The list of songs here picked up doesn’t want to be complete. Where it was possible, the Pat Benatar cover was brought near the video of the original song. From this work springs a little trip into the history of modern music, certainly fascinating for the passionate pat fans.
SMOKIE If you think you know how to love me
In the fall of 1975 the Smokie, a band of britannic rock born 9 years before in the english Yorkshire, released the album that soon led the group to the success. Thank’s to the single “If you think you know how to love me” Smokie reached number three in the Top 10 in Great Britain.
The psichedelic pop distinctive of the band received strength also by songwriters as Micky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Chapman was exactly the ring of junction between Smokie and Pat Benatar.
Born in Australia Mike became in seventies a basic character in the world of the britannic and american pop industry. Chapman was exactly the man who induced Neil Giraldo to create a band for Pat Benatar, and who produced in 1979 together with Peter Coleman the first album of Pat “In the Heat of the Night”, where there is the cover of “If you think you know how to love me”.
KATE BUSH Wuthering Heights
Kate Bush reached the international success in 1978 with her debut with the single “Wuthering Heights”, born by the inspiration from the homonymous Emily Bronte novel. Introduced in the record environment by David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) , the english singer expressed a kind of music that many critics define surreal, characterized from a voice able to reach four octaves in extension, a comparable capacity with the Pat Benatar power.
The cover of Wuthering Heights appears in “Crimes of Passion” in 1980. Here is the short story found on “Synchronistic Wanderings” about the idea to insert the song in the album:
NEIL: While having dinner in Paris on our first tour to Europe in the early spring of 1980, we heard this Kate Bush song playing in the local restaurant. Right then I thought it wouldbe a great song to hear Pat sing and I knew I could find some kind of arrengement that would work to compliment the vocal. This was the only song off Crimes of Passion that we recorded two versions of. This version is the same as on Crimes of Passion. Maybe someday we will bring the other one out of the cave.
PAT: Oh how I loved this song. Kate Bush was and still is one of my favorite songwriters and singers. I loved the visual references and her quirky delivery on her original version of the song. I was always disappointed with my performance on our version. In my overzealousness I think I missed the target. I’ve always wanted to re-cut it, maybe one day I will.
THE BEATLES Helter Skelter
“Helter Skelter”is the last track of the album “Precious Time”(1981). It’s a cover of a hit of the Beatles released in 1968 with the “White Album”. The song, written by Paul McCartney, shows remarkable features (shouted voices, guitars with distorted sound) that will find in the next decades further development in the circle of rock, as the heavymetal and the hard rock.
The following video is the elegant performance of Paul McCartney on 48th Grammy Awards Ceremony, that took place on February 8, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
You will find Helter Skelter in the second half of this video.
FOUR TOPS Seven Rooms of Goom
Four Tops are a vocal quartet by this time busy for 4 decades. The band was born in Detroit and with it’s style helped to breed the Motown Sound of the sixties, marked by a soul music strongly countersigned with the use of the bass.
In 1967 Four Tops, dragged by the baritone strength of the singer Levi Stubbs, reached the top of popularity with many hits: one of those is “Seven Rooms of Gloom” that achieved number 12 on the UK chart.
18 years later the cover of this song will open the B side of the Pat Benatar album “Seven The Hard Way”.
In this video we find Pat at the top of her success in the performance on the stage of the Music Hall Radio City in New York, exactly with “Seven Rooms of Gloom”.
RATTLING SABRES All Fired Up
1988 was the year of “Wide Awake in Dreamland”with the hit “All Fired Up” that reached the Top 20 in United States. In 1987 the australian band Rattling Sabres released with Mighty Boy label the single “All Fired Up”, a version certainly less elaborated than the song retouched by the Giraldos and Myron Grombacher, but endowed with an uncommon genuineness.
Rattling Sabres was a five members band with Robert Price (vocals) and Kerryn Tolhurst (lead guitar), who originally wrote the song. Tolhurst was the founder and the principal songwriter of the Dingoes, a band that in seventeenth did the best bit to the australian country-rock.
After many years spent in New York City, Tolhurts came back in Australia in 1989, continuing his career as songwriter, musician and producer.
Here is the Kerryn’s evidence about the birth of the song: “I was in Melbourne, Australia in 1988 where I had a band called Rattling Sabres. I bought myself a new amp - a vintage Marshall combo - and when I got it home I plugged in my beloved Gretsch Nashville and out came this riff and chord progression. I had some lyrics kicking around with a working title "Working Against The Clock"... they fit perfectly.
It stayed that way for a few weeks but I felt there was more to be done with the song. One day sitting in traffic it came to me and when I inserted 'All Fired Up' in the chorus it all came together. The band then recorded the song and it came out as a single on the Mighty Boy label. On a trip to Los Angeles someone from Mighty Boy was playing the song to an A&R person at Chrysalis Records when Pat Benatar's manager happened to pass by. She needed a single for her new album and after changing some lyrics to suit her female point of view it was recorded and released. I still like my original version better.”
HARRY CHAPIN Shooting Star
The discovery of this video with Harry Chapin kindled in me a deep emotion. It’s one of the last apparitions on stage of this extraordinary man.The recording happened at the Hamilton Place, Hamilton, ONT. in August 19, 1980.
Thank’s to Pat Benatar I had the chance to know his music.
After, you can see the touching Pat interpretation of “Shooting Star”, released before on vinyl in 1990 with the album “Harry Chapin Tribute” and then on cd with “Synchronistic Wanderings” in 1999.
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