Friday, January 18, 2013

A couple of Pat Benatar covers

As has already been made clear, I enjoy listening to cover versions of songs.  I'll often spend time on YouTube just finding as many different versions of some song as I can and listening to them all.  I also like listening to the Coverville podcast.  Last Thursday it was a Pat Benatar podcast in honor of her 60th birthday.  That's where I heard this jazzy version of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Isabel Rose that I really like.  That picture of her is terrible; her legs are obviously photoshopped, and badly.  She does lots of jazzy big-band covers of pop songs as well as more traditional jazz standards.  For example, you can find videos of her doing "Aquarius" which is kind of goofy but shows you lots of shots of her legs, and a live performance of her doing "I Need a New Drug" by Huey Lewis.  Anyway, I now prefer this one to Benatar's version.

And as long as I'm on the topic, Benatar's big hit "Shadows of the Night" was itself a cover. Here's the original.

So that was from 1980. Quite different from the Benatar cover, since Byron was a more Dylanesque singer-songwriter who punctuated his instrumental breaks with a harmonica. Benatar's 1982 version was actually an almost carbon-copy of a 1981 version by Rachel Sweet.

I think the big difference here is the record label. Pat Benatar was signed to a real label (Chrysalis), with a real budget, who could produce an album cover that made her look crazy-yet-sexy (an always killer combination), and who could produce a real video with actual actors in it (Judge Reinhold and Bill Paxton). Rachel Sweet's album cover (from Stiff Records, whoever they were), on the other hand, made her look like a homeless heroin junkie. Too bad. Google her or check Wikipedia to see much better photos of her (the mugshot isn't her, it's someone with the same name). Sweet's version of the song has a tenor sax solo for the instrumental break, instead of a guitar. She gets extra points for that in my book.

Trivia: Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night" was the second video to ever be played on MTV.

P.S.  This isn't meant to be a bash against Pat Benatar.  I still like her, and a few of her hits are on my big playlist.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. First, thanks for the link to Coverville - I'm subscribing. Second, though I genuinely love different arrangements of songs, the Isabel Rose version of Hit Me just didn't do it for me. I also did not care for the original version of Shadows, but that Rachel Sweet version was quite listenable. And, the lady is a year older than me but she looks a heck of a lot better than I do!