Covering songs is nothing new in the music world. Pretty much at some point an artist will put their spin on another performer’s tune. Some artists even remake other songs for their own respective catalogs. R&B newcomer Anthony Lewis decided to come out of the gates with a remake of the 90s classic “Candy Rain” by the brotherly quartet known as Soul for Real.
When I first saw Lewis’ video and heard his take on the song, it made me remember just how awesome that song really was when it ruled the R&B charts for three weeks back in 1994. It also made me think of some great and not so great remakes. Here are seven of those great remakes.
The Jackson 5 “Who’s Lovin’ You” (The Miracles)
This Smokey Robinson tune has been covered by The Temptations and The Supremes, but even their legends couldn’t contend with the force of a then 10-year old Michael Jackson. Everything Robinson says here is the truth and nothing but the truth
Chaka Khan “I Feel For You” (Prince)
This may be hard for some to believe but there is someone who took a Prince song and made it better. But for most it won’t be too hard to digest because that someone is Chaka Khan. Khan took the legendary vocals and sprinkled a little rapping from Melle Mel and some harmonica from Stevie Wonder, and took the song all the way to number three on Billboard’s Hot 100. It reached number one on the R&B and U.S. Dance charts.
Aretha Franklin “Respect” (Otis Redding)
Very few can compete with the emotion that is Otis Redding’s voice. But then again, even fewer can stand in the same booth with Aretha Franklin. Even though the massively soulful voice of Mr. Redding was no match for the Queen of Soul on this classic.
Otis Redding “Try a Little Tenderness” (Ray Noble Orchestra with Val Rosing on vocals)
Big O may have gotten got on “Respect” by the Queen but Redding recorded this song and turned it into a masterpiece in 1966. Franklin also recorded a version of this song four years prior to Redding’s version but this time Big O’s is THE version that everyone always references.
Maxwell “This Woman’s Work” (Kate Bush)
Love and Basketball fans remember this song from the scene where Monica and Que finally gave in to their feelings after the spring dance. The actual meaning of the song deals with loss during childbirth (yeah). Maxwell first covered the song during his 1997 MTV Unplugged special. Four years later he recorded an official version for his album Now. The live version is actually better than the studio version.
Ike and Tina Turner “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Lissen, Ike Wister and Anna Mae took this song and made Mary very proud. Oh, that was a bit corny, especially since the lyrics point to a reference of a boat. There is no other way to describe Ike and Tina’s version except to say that they managed to package magic. The chemistry between Ike and Tina is unfunkabelievable.
Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (Dolly Parton)
You knew this was coming. Houston was actually the second person to cover Parton’s number one song from 1974 and 1982. Parton released the song twice and it hit number one both times on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. Linda Ronstadt took a stab at the tune in 1975. But once Houston got a hold of it in 1992 for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, it became hers. Interestingly enough, Ronstadt’s version is the one that was played for Houston. Houston’s version spent 14 weeks at number one on Billboard and helped to propel the sales of the soundtrack to 45 million copies worldwide and to the title of the best-selling soundtrack of all-time. And according to the RIAA, since Houston performed half of the songs on the album, it also gives her the title of having the best-selling album of all-time for a female artist. One week after Houston passed the song reentered Billboard’s Hot 100 and eventually peaked at number three. The single has sold over 20 million copies making it one of the best-selling songs of all-time, period.
Are there any remakes that you enjoy more than its predecessor? Do you think Anthony Lewis hit the mark with his take on an R&B classic?