Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: Cover Version Hall of Fame

Van Morrison’s 1969 Pop Reggae

All these years I’ve naively assumed “I Shall Sing” to be a Judy Mowatt early reggae original (and 1974 Jamaican chart-topper, according to this Los Angeles Times piece from 1986).  And yet that same Times piece makes clear, Judy Mowatt was taking her musical inspiration from Miriam Makeba (not Art

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(Please Not) “Steel Guitar Rag”

Just when you thought you couldn’t take another version of “Steel Guitar Rag,” this 1959 version by The Dynatones, surprisingly (despite the absence of a steel guitar) swaggers: “Steel Guitar Rag”     The Dynatones     1959 Here’s a great swing boogie version by Rudi Wairata & His Hawaiian Boys that brings to

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Subverting Depression in Song

NoBullying.com, in their April, 2015 piece entitled “Songs About Depression,” reminds us Beatles fans that the song “Every Night” from Paul McCartney’s debut solo album — recorded while still legally a Beatle — was created while the bassist was battling depression. How nice to see Richie Havens take this song

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"Soul Serenade"
Zeroto180

“Soul Serenade”: Beau Dollar + Coins

Seems like everyone’s covered “Soul Serenade” – so why does no one play it on the radio?  Don’t you think it’s about time for this tune to be rediscovered? “Soul Serenade”     Beau Dollar & the Coins     1966 This irresistible instrumental was produced by Lonnie Mack, one-time musical compatriot of Roger

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It’s French – and Very Catchy

Thanks to Whole Foods for nourishing my soul with its affordably-priced (no, seriously) 3-disc set of French pop, Café Paris:  42 Classic Songs from France.  This past week, I have found myself particularly taken with one song by a French singer-songwriter whose name, Michel Polnareff, was new to me —

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Not Your Father’s “Purple Haze”

I just stumbled upon another freaky coincidence that is not unlike Germany’s 1966 one-off single by The Dead-Heads:  In the year 1968, two artists – The Jimi Hendrix Experience and singer, Robert Ray Whitley – would both release original songs entitled “1983”!   Am I the only one who finds that

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“Witchi Tai To”: Pop Chant

How did I only just learn of “Witchi Tai To“?  This morning I heard this song for the first time, and it immediately occupied the empty spaces in my soul and refused to leave: “Witchi Tai To”     Topo D. Bill     1969 I am hardly the first person to react this

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"Think"
Zeroto180

“Think”: Squeezing Soul From a Stone

I had assumed lots of people were already familiar with Chris Farlowe‘s kicking mod soul version of Jagger & Richard’s “Think” – but viewership numbers on YouTube tell otherwise: “Think” wisely enjoyed release in India, Finland, France, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, as well as its native UK, where

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“You Don’t Love Me”: Where Blues and Reggae Intersect

Thanks to Steve Hoffman‘s blues show on WPFW, today I was able to make the connection (as many others have done before me) that the inspiration for Dawn Penn‘s massive 1967 rocksteady hit, “No No No,” came directly from Willie Cobbs‘ hugely influential 1960 blues single, “You Don’t Love Me”

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“Dr. Robert”: Cover Version Hall of Fame?

It is the mark of a true artist when he or she can take someone else’s song and transform it into something else entirely, to the point of making the new version almost unrecognizable.  Stevie Wonder’s 1973 version of “We Can Work It Out,” for example, begins with a funky

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