Sep 042008

Here’s a challenge with a less-involved set of criteria than meets the eye: examples of two or more officially released versions of the same song by an artist, not including live, orchestral, or simply remixed versions. As a final condition, you must state your favorite version.

I’ll start us off: Elvis Costello, “Black and White World” (Get Happy!! version and country-style alternate take, which was released on Taking Liberties). I prefer the alternate take.


  63 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Two or More Officially Released Versions of Same Song by Artist, Not Including Live, Orchestral, or Simply Remixed Versions”

  1. putting out fire with gasoline,by bowie.i prefer the single with stevie ray.

  2. She’s My Best Friend by The Velvet Underground from the awesome VU Album.
    Lou later re-records this tune rather suckily on Coney Island Baby.

  3. halloween by danzig 1 w/misfits 1 w/samhain.i prefer that cheating

  4. “Here Comes the Night” by the Beach Boys

    1st on Wild Honey

    and then the gloriously bizarre 11 minute disco version on M.I.U.

  5. dbuskirk

    “Revolution” by the Beatles.



  6. beatles revolution,i like the slow version

  7. how low will a punk get,bad brains.rock for light,or black dot sessions.i prefer bds.

  8. sorry bout the repeat

  9. mockcarr

    Does One After 909 from the Beatles count since the first better take has been released in the Anthology series? The 1963 version is so much better than the Let It Be one.

  10. mockcarr

    The single version of Honky Tonk Women beat the hell out of Country Honk on Let It Bleed, obviously.

  11. How about “Do Ya”? Jeff Lynne did it first with The Move, then again with ELO. I can;t pick a favorite there. Maybe The Move? On a given day I’ll take ELO.


  12. Mr. Moderator

    “Do Ya” by two different bands with Lynne does NOT count. Same for the Misfits/Danzig entry. For some reason, though, I’ll allow a band leader to re-do his or her own song as a solo artist, as in the case of Velvet Underground and Lou Reed.

    “One After 909” does count. The rocking single version of “Revolution” is my favorite. You guys who prefer the White Album version are “wrong,” but that’s OK. There’s no right and wrong in this regard.

    As for VU/Lou versions, I prefer Berlin’s “Caroline Says” to the sprightly “Stephanie Says” that the VU first recorded.

  13. alexmagic

    Pixies – Wave of Mutilation. I like the slower “UK Surf” one better.

    I honestly don’t know which Revolution I like better. I do love the false start on the White Album version.

  14. Richard Thompson, “Withered and Died,” and Elvis Costello, “Withered and Died.” Thompson by a wide margin.

  15. 2000 Man

    David Bowie released a single as a band called Arnold Corns that had Moonage Daydream and Hang on to Yourself on it. It’s on Rykodisc’s version of The Man Who Sold the World. The versions from Ziggy Stardust are much better.

  16. 2000 Man reminds me. Bowie released “The Prettiest Star” twice. First as a single in the early ’70s with Marc Bolan on guitar; then a re-recording with the Spiders from Mars on Alladin Sane. I veer back and forth, but I think I prefer the more melancholy Bolan version.

  17. Mr. Moderator

    Mwall: maybe it’s not clear, but it must be the same song by the same artist. Thompson and Costello do not meet those criteria as one artist.

    Elvis Costello, “Clowntime Is Over”. Although I think the mellow alternate take from Taking Liberties is cool, the Get Happy!! version gets the job done without all the gimmicks.

  18. Modern English – I melt with you. The remake is only distinguishable to me in that the drummer isn’t hitting the cymbal every four bars (which, actually, is a notable improvement).

  19. True Confessions by the Undertones – on their 1st EP as well as their 1st Album. I prefer the album version.

  20. BigSteve

    R.E.M. re-recorded Radio Free Europe for Murmur.

  21. I’m not going to list every song, but every song on Gang of Four’s “Return The Gift” is a new version of one of their older songs.

  22. BigSteve

    The Pogues covered Eric Bogle’s And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda twice. An early version is included as a bonus track on the re-issue of Red Roses For Me, but the version that closes Rum Sodomy & the Lash beats it hands down.

  23. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve and Mac, please choose your definitive versions of the REM track and the Go4 album. Good additions to the pile.

    Carry on!

  24. BigSteve

    I used to actually have the Hibtone single of Radio Free Europe, but it’s been ages since I heard it. The hipster choice would obviously be the indie single, so I’ll be contrary and say the album version is better.

  25. Bowie again: three versions of “John I’m Only Dancing”; one each recorded during the Ziggy, Alladin Sane and Young Americans sessions. I like the meaty production of the Alladin version best.

  26. The Kinks did a surprisingly good studio recording of “Days” for their ’91 EP Did Ya.

  27. Little Feat recorded “Willin'” for both their first and third albums. The version on the third album is definitely superior, although the first album version has a rickety charm.

  28. dbuskirk

    Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. It’s hard not to side with the concise power of “Slight Return” but last time I pulled out ELECTRIC LADYLAND I appreciated the long jam more than ever.

  29. alexmagic

    “25 Or 6 To 4” – Chicago re-made it in 1986 with their Cetera Replacement. Whatever you think of the original, the remake is terrible. It did have an amusingly bad video, though.

  30. Again, I’m not going over all of the songs on the “Return the Gift” album. I generally think the rerecorded songs sound like decent remasters of the originals, but somehow some “old man” was accidentally mixed in. So for the most part I would go with the original versions.

    The exception I think for me is “Anthrax.” I think I prefer the “Return the Gift” version.

    But Kudos to them for finding a creative way for making money off of old songs they weren’t really going to get royalties for with a normal greatest hits album.

    And I’ll add Brian Wilson’s “Good Vibration” originally a single (and then put on Smiley Smile), and the new version off of Smile.

    Sound wise, the original is the definitive, but I prefer the newer version lyrically.

    I wanted to add “I Know There’s an Answer” and “Hold on to Your Ego,” but I think “Hold on to Your Ego” qualifies more as a B-side really, “Hold on to Your Ego” being the definitive version.

  31. I suppose my ace in the hole was going to be Michael Nesmith. He rerecorded several of his songs as a solo artist after he left The Monkees. But, I might argue that they were solo efforts while he was still technically a Monkee, they are still credited to “The Monkees”, therefore, they don’t count here. I’ll list them anyway, because I’m a nerd (just not the last nerd standing):

    “Carlisle Wheeling” became “Conversations”
    “Nine Times Blue”
    “Listen To The Band”
    “Some Of Shelley’s Blues”
    “The Crippled Lion”

    It’s apples and oranges as to which versions I prefer.


  32. Pink Floyd recorded “Money” twice; there’s the famous Dark Side rendition. Then, in the early ’80s, they recorded an almost identical version for a best-of. Well, maybe not “they.” Wikipedia says:

    “Money” was re-recorded for the 1981 Pink Floyd album A Collection of Great Dance Songs because Capitol Records refused to license the track to Columbia Records in the US. As a result, David Gilmour re-recorded the track himself playing all of the drums, guitars, keyboards, bass guitar and vocals and co-producing the song with James Guthrie. Dick Parry played tenor saxophone on the track like he did the original.

  33. 2000 Man

    Eric Clapton went and lounged up After Midnight for a Michelob commercial and it actually seems to have some fans.

  34. Strutter and Strutter ’78 by KISS

  35. I have a feeling others may have this in the hole:

    Re-make/Re-model – 1st Roxy Album and Bryan Ferry’s “Let’s Stick Together”

    I got to go with the Roxy version though I do like the Ferry solo version

  36. Mr. Moderator

    Good one, Andyr. I’ll follow that up with the two versions of “2HB”, also from the same two albums involving Ferry. I prefer the former, although the solo version has its merits.

    Does anyone know the story behind Ferry choosing to re-record those two songs?

  37. Okay. I’ve got one! Or several.

    The Everlys rerecorded their hits for Warner Brothers in 64 (?). While technically superior, the songs themselves suffer from glossy modern production.


  38. alexmagic

    Do the two versions of “Candle in the Wind” count? If so, uhh…the original, I guess.

  39. 2000 Man

    I’ll toss in Roxy Music’s Angel Eyes, which we were talking about a week or two ago.

  40. 2000Man: I honestly prefer the Micheloeb After Midnight to the Derreck and the Dominoes version

    What about Elton’s reworking of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, the excellent, Goodbye Anna Nichole?
    Does that count?
    If so, I totally prefer the newer one.

  41. The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” The remake for their greatest hits collection adds a bloated keyboard part that drags the song down.

  42. Didn’t Roy Orbison remake “In Dreams” for an eighties record? I’m not sure and haven’t heard it, but I seem to recall something to that effect.

  43. dbuskirk

    Yeah, Orbison (badly) re-recorded his hits for ‘Virgin in ’87, to cash in on David Lynch using “In Dreams” in BLUE VELVET. I think his Monument Recordings were out-of -print at the time.

    Most of the early stars of rock and roll did this at some time, The Everlys did it for Warner Brothers, Chuck Berry did it for Mercury and Jerry Lee Lewis did it for Smash (probably the best of the lot).

  44. 2000 Man

    The Psychedelic Furs redid Pretty In Pink for that John Hughes movie.

  45. BigSteve

    I don’t know the story behind the remakes on Let’s Stick Together, but there were a total of FIVE Roxy songs on that album:

    Chance Meeting
    Sea Breezes (all from the 1st album)
    and Casanova (from Country Life)

    I have to go with the originals, but the remakes are not at all bad; they just seem to have some of the edges knocked off.

  46. Have all you Strummer fans left me with a two foot gimmie of Keys to Your Heart by the 101ers. Single and album versions. I pick the album version only because I know it better.

  47. Thanks for the unpleasant memory, Dbuskirk. I selected Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits as one of my 11 free Columbia House record selections. Man, was I disappointed to hear they were all re-recordings. There was no internet support group to warn me back then.

  48. BigSteve

    I think it’s contrary to the spirit of Last Man Standing to hold onto entries for later in the game, so I won’t string these out one by one, even though I believe the original rules dictate one entry per post.

    Bob Marley re-recorded many of his early tracks later when he was on Island:

    Duppy Conqueror
    Small Axe
    One Love
    Put It On
    Bend Down Low
    Lively Up Yourself
    Concrete Jungle
    Sun Is Shining
    Trenchtown Rock

    I may have missed one or more. In general I prefer the earlier recordings, basically because I prefer the way reggae was played earlier in its development, but the later version of Kaya on the album of that name is really … herbal.

  49. BigSteve

    Similarly Charlie Rich re-recorded his best Sun material periodically throughout his career, notably Everything I Do Is Wrong redone for Smash and Sittin’ and Thinkin’ when he was on Epic. I thought sure he had recut Who Will the Next Fool Be?, but maybe he thought after Bobby Bland recorded it he should leave well enough alone. Lonely Weekends was re-recorded a couple of times.

  50. BigSteve

    The Dead recorded New Minglewood Blues twice in the studio (many times on live recordings). On the eponymous debut album it’s called New New Minglewood Blues, and on Shakedown Street it’s called All New Minglewood Blues.

  51. BigSteve

    As with Chuck Berry, you have to be very careful when buying Little Richard. Always make sure it says Specialty (his original label) somewhere prominent on the package.

  52. Mr. Moderator

    I prefer the single verson of “Keys to Your Heart” and the later, album version “Small Axe”. Both versions of each song are good though.

  53. “Jilted John” by same. The single version absolutely shreds the album remake.

    Same with “Shot By Both Sides” by Magazine — the single is way the hell better.

    One that’s basically not different at all: Slow Children’s one good song, “President Am I,” appears on both of their albums in almost identical versions.

  54. I may not be the last man standing, but I may win the “lamest contribution” award: Howard Jones re-recorded “no one is to blame” and had a hit with it with Phil Collins’ production.

  55. Mr. Moderator

    The Jam, “Smithers Jones”: I prefer the album version to the one that came out on some odds and sods record, in which the full band played along on their standard instruments.

  56. alexmagic

    I read that as “Jan Smithers Jones” when I scrolled down the page.

    Radiohead put out two different versions (as a b-side and on an EP) of the non-album track “Killer Cars”. I really like them both, but in this case, I like the faster one better than the aptly named “Mogadon” version.

  57. mockcarr

    The Shins released two versions of Gone For Good, one on Chutes Too Narrow, the other as an extra b-track sort of on the So Says I single. I like both, but come down on the album version’s side.

  58. general slocum

    Steve, I would figure the remake of Casanova has some of that Ferry groove that you’d appreciate. I really like that remake, of the ones on that record.

    Also, Johnny Cash has great bookends from either end of his career doing Give My Love to Rose. Both fine recordings.

  59. mockcarr

    Yo La Tengo has at least two versions of Did I Tell You, on New Wave Hot Dogs, and again on Fakebook. The Fakebook version is sung a little better, and is well served by a more acoustic/folky sound.

  60. BigSteve

    Btw, fans of Yo La Tengo’s Fakebook might want to head over to the groovy Setting the Woods on Fire blog, where the intrepid blogger Paul has gathered together mp3’s of the originals of all the songs covered on Fakebook. Very handy.

    This is an irregular regular feature there. He’s done the Almost Blue originals, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, etc. Lots of other good stuff too. Check it out.

  61. BigSteve

    At the general’s prompting I just went back and checked out the version of Casanova on Let’s Stick Together. Doing it with Al Green-style drums is an interesting idea, but the rhythm guitar is just not up to the task. I guess it’s harder to reproduce Teenie Hodges than Al Jackson. I do like the snake charmer oboe solo though.

    The version on Country Life just really brings the thunder, especially Paul Thompson’s drums. Add that prominent Rickenbacker bass and clavinet as the main rhythm instrument, and it’s just funkier. Plus it’s got that weird synth break and psyched out Manzanera leads. I just really like the hard-edged sound the band had on Country Life.

    If I hadn’t heard the original, I’d probably like the remake better, and that goes for the others on that album too. I love the covers, especially The Price Of Love.

    As usual I can’t make much of the lyrics. “Casanova, is that your name, or do you live there?” Casanova would translate as ‘new house’ right? Where’s saturn when we need him? Anyway it just struck me that Ferry was from Newcastle, and that would be more or less analogous to Casanova.

  62. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve, you and Saturnismine may have to have an RTH Brainiac showdown someday. Who else around here has ever thought about “Casanova” in terms of Ferry’s hometown. Oats?

  63. I’m actually not a huge “Casanova” fan. The groove and freak-out instrumental breaks are great, but finger-pointing lyrics are not Ferry’s strong suit.

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