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Showing posts from June, 2018

k.d. lang, Tegan and Sara and Ron Sexsmith

Ron (Ronald) Eldon Sexsmith

Born, 8 January 1964 (age 54), St. Catharines, Ontario. (Vocals, guitar, piano) Ron has not had some of the huge commercial success (he may have liked) shared by many other Canadian artists, but I think he has made a decent living. He has received accolades from other musicians who appreciate his work including Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Chris Martin, Elton John, Ray Davies, Steve Earle, Bob Rock, and Sheryl Crow. At least 35 of his songs have been covered and I’ve enjoyed his music for some years now, though his melancholy sound I find is best in smaller doses.
Secret Heart” written by Ron Sexsmith (1995) and cover at least 10 times https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4X_l8PIobc Rod Stewart (1998) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRXolPxTem8 Feist in 2004 and my favourite version of this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkEsJwhDzFg Trevor Exeter (2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dZzJmP0hK4
Ron Sexsmith (Feat. Chris Martin) – “Gold In Them Hills” (2…

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Born, February 20, 1941 (age 77), Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan. I was a little reluctant to include Buffy in the series of Canadian Artists being cover due to the fact that she has spent little if any time actually living in Canada. She apparently identifies with being Canadian but was adopted by an American couple at just a few months old and raised in Massachusetts. She had a son and raised him in Hawaii and as far as I can tell still lives there at age 77.  
She has certainly been well recognized in Canada for her many achievements, she really is a remarkable person, but I will stick with the music here. If she identifies with Canada (she is a dual American and Canadian citizen) I guess that gives me licence to blog about her here.
So apart from her obvious vocal talents she plays guitar, mouthbow, piano, ukulele, autoharp, harmonica and some percussion instruments. She has written some epic songs.
Up Where We Belong”, written by Will Jennings (lyrics), …

Rush

Rush


At 34 songs having been covered and some only once and just a few more than five times it seems to be very low number of covers. Also, a bit odd to me anyway that a band (now retired) that lasted for 40 years and had such a solid fan base doesn’t get covered more often. However, in a recent conversation with my best friend who self declares himself as a "Rush Tourist” he felt their unique sound is something not easily duplicated, and I tend to agree. Further to that the lyrical structure of the songs virtually all written by the drummer Neil Peart are complex and perhaps don’t lend themselves to replication, not to mention the composition and masterful playing as well.  So while not the most covered, never-the-less I would be remiss in not making mention of this iconic (Canadian) rock band.
The line-up that would guide them through a long and sometimes arduous career spanning 40 years would include just three members, the above mentioned and the last addition, Neil Peart, L…

Shania Twain

Shania Twain


Born; Eilleen Regina Edwards, August 28, 1965 (age 52), Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Most of you will know a bit of her story I’m sure, she grew up and in Timmins, Ontario and from an early age worked very hard at her singing, guitar and songwriting. She was not an overnight success but when it came it has put her into a class with very few others. Given the title of “Queen of Country Pop” because we seem to really like to label people, she has had over 100 million in record sales making her second only to Taylor Swift for a female in the Country genre and who knows, had she come on the scene when social media and streaming were popular how much better she would have done. She is the 25th best selling artist of all time (US sales) so trying to pin down what to talk about is difficult and she’s had so many #1 hits; 13 in Canada, 7 in the US and one of the most successful crossover (Country) artists showing up on the pop charts in Canada, US and around the world. Not to ment…

Bryan Adams, The Band

More Canadian Artists being covered
It’s a lengthy list for me to make my way through the rest of it but over the next few blogs I will highlight a few more covered songs written or originally performed by Canadians.
Bryan Adams

“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams, Written by; Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen, Robert John "Mutt" Lange. You likely know this song was written for and featured in the (1991) film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. To say this song was a mega hit is a bit of an understatement, it peaked at number one on every documented music chart in the world. It broke the record for most consecutive weeks at number one in the UK and was the song of the year in Canada for 1991.
An Article by Henry Yates July 27, 2016 tells the story about this song. https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-story-behind-the-song-bryan-adams-everything-i-do-i-do-it-for-you
Released in June 1991, here is Bryan Adams in 1992 (covered 68 times). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=…

Celine Dion

Celine Dion
...continuing the Canadian artists being covered theme


My Heart Will Go On” (Love Theme from 'Titanic') by Celine Dion Written (lyrics) by Will Jennings, here are some highlights of songs he has written or co-written; Steve Winwood: "Higher Love" (#1, nominated for Grammy Award for Song of the Year 1987) Eric Clapton: "Tears in Heaven" (#2, nominated for a Golden Globe award, 1993 Grammy for Song of the Year, 1993 Ivor Novello award from British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors) Barry Manilow: "Looks Like We Made It" (#1) Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes: "Up Where We Belong" (#1, American Academy Award, British Academy Award, Winner Tokyo Song Festival) Whitney Houston: "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (#1) Tim McGraw: "Please Remember Me" (#1 Country)
The other writer (composer) is the late James Horner and here is a sample of his work accomplishments: Just Grammy Awards alone; 1988: An Amer…

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell


Born Roberta Joan Anderson, November 7, 1943 (age 74) Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada I have included some covers of Joni’s songs in previous posts but there is more to be said about her amazing talent and song writing ability. Firstly, her guitar playing is superb and what makes it all the more remarkable is the fact she had polio as a child (age 9) and as a result has weakness in her left hand in particular. Despite this she learned ukulele, piano and then guitar creating her own tunings to compensate, resulting in a very unique sound. While standard tunings (determining the string pitch) were then commonly used, Joni turned to open tunings which reduced the dependency on her left hand. If you research guitar tunings Joni Mitchell comes up frequently and remains a guide and influencer in this area. Rolling Stone ranks her at #75 of the world's best guitarists and she (along with fellow Canadians Sue Foley and Liona Boyd) ranks in the top female guitarists on just a…

Paul Anka

Paul Anka


Paul Anka has written and recorded some monster songs. A total of 52 of his songs have been covered. He wrote the theme song for Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show”, there is a link at the end to the story about it. He wrote the English words to “Comme d'habitude” (written by Claude François, Jacques Revaux, Gilles Thibault) sung by Claude François (1967), titled “My Way” for Frank Sinatra, recorded in 1968. This song of course you may know went on to be his (Sinatra’s) signature song. Paul himself would record “My Way” in 1969 one of 75 versions of the song.
Here is Claude François https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GME3fMeK5ts Paul and Frank together https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP_tMa7VliY
Paul Anka wrote and recorded the chauvinistic yet catchy tune “She's a Lady” in 1969, Tom Jones would have a smash #1 hit with this song in 1971. This song has been covered 30 times, including a re-written version by Anka cutting out some of the more chauvinistic lyrics. Paul Anka, …

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot

It does not surprise me that this song has been covered 85 times, a finer piece of music mastery you’ll rarely find. Few artists have had the international reach that Lightfoot has obtained.
“Early Morning Rain” written by Gordon Lightfoot, recorded December 1964, released in 1966 on “Lightfoot”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhFP5l71PRE Pavel Bobek from the Czech Republic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZi62jbgTm8 Here is an out take version from some guy named Elvis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY2tUC8OPsg And if you like Bluegrass here are New Shades of Bluegrass from 1980 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr6irYHEXLU As he had a job as a songwriter before he had much success as a singer many may have thought he covered Peter, Paul and Mary (1965). Other notable versions are; Bob Dylan (1970), Paul Weller (2004), very few female artists did this one but Judy Collins did in 1965 and Julie Felix (1969).
If You Could Read My Mind” written by Gordon Lightfoot and reco…

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen
What can one say about the late and great Leonard Cohen that hasn’t already been said. If you didn’t know who Cohen was and you are under the age of 30, someone need only say “Hallelujah” (250 cover versions) and the Shrek movie (a much-sanitized version of the song) takes over from there. If ever there was a song that’s been co-opted, then this one in my mind comes first. Although Cohen himself has changed up the lyrics when performing the song and has written many different verses.


Here’s my take on Leonard Cohen. I had the good fortune to see him perform here in London in December 2012. My dear departed brother-in-law Mark had come by tickets at the last minute and called me, not sure if I was first on his list but I’m forever grateful nonetheless. I (unlike another of my Brothers-in-law, Jim a big Cohen fan) was as one might say a “passing Cohen fan” I had some of his music and was aware his songs had been covered many times, and as with any Canadian artist, we got a…

Canadian songwriters and artists being covered

Canadian songwriters and artists being covered
Leading up to Canada’s 151st Birthday this July 1, I will be talking about Canadian music and of course artists who have had their songs covered. I already posted some from the most covered Canadian, that being Neil Young at 132 times. 
Other’s on the most covered list for the most individual songs covered (I admit I may have made some omissions and focused on english language ‘pop music'). Also, these are not necessarily written by the artist.
2. Joni Mitchell covered 97 times
3. Gordon Lightfoot covered 94 times
4. Leonard Cohen – 73
5. Paul Anka - 52
6. Howard Shore -46 (an original member of the Canadian band ‘Lighthouse’, I mention him here not for his work with them but the outstanding career, Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy wins he has had scoring films, in particular my favorite LOTR!!!!)
7. Celine Dion - 45
8. The Band - 42 (written in whole or in part by a Canadian) and add solo efforts by Robbie Robertson+6 Rick Danko+2, however th…