The art of taking an already great song and making it better is one that often goes unnoticed. Why? Because few artists are willing to try. Can you imagine trying to follow Luther V. with your own version of “A House Is Not a Home“…(I know it’s a remake, but nobody in their right mind likes the original version better…for that sake, we’ll just consider LV‘s The Original)? Or trying to top Steve Perry‘s voice in Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing“?
The true art lies in being able to re-create the song in your own style, so that listeners won’t feel the need to compare the two versions. But…..on rare occasion, an artist grabs hold of a classic, and makes you forget the original. I know there are some who will disagree, but you know my motto….my opinion’s as valid as anyone else’s.
In 1966 The Beatles released the “Yesterday and Today” album. Among the popular titles on the release, was the song, “Yesterday”. One of my personal favorites, the song featured a simple melody that was highlighted by sweet, nostalgic lyrics.
In 1970 The Great Marvin Gaye collaborated with famed Motown producer, Norman Whitfield, and re-created the Beatle classic. The lyrics the same, but the emotion filled voice of the legendary singer immediately takes you to the place you know the Beatles really meant to go. It’s not a knock to the Beatles, by any means, but I must say Marvin’s version stirs a part of my soul that the other had not reached. Whether it was the purity of Gaye’s voice, the ease with which he dances accross the sound of the instruments creating a 3 and a half minute marriage of string and vocal chord, or if by the time I heard it, I truly did “long for yesterday”. Which it is, I’m not quite sure, but on early mornings when I turn the stereo up loud, and ask Marvin to sing me a song, Yesterday never disappoints.
Oh yeah, and did I mention, it has the “Great Song” trait……the louder you play it, the better it sounds. And if that’s not enough, if you crack the windows when you play it, songbirds will sing along…. no bullshittin’. Definitely, one of The Greatest Of All Time!