yin yang

Two posts ago (the post prior to my nod to the life of James Garner) I proposed a series of posts where two (or more) disparate artists have chosen to record the same song.  I suppose it demonstrates that, beyond the bones of the song, there is the fleshing out of the song… what we often would call interpretation.  I suspect the best way to explain myself is to offer my first unexpected pairing.

In 1984 the band Van Halen released an album aptly titled 1984.  The big single from that album (reaching #1) was Jump.  Sung by lead singer David Lee Roth, backed by the the guitar work of Eddie Van Halen and the featuring the now iconic synth opening, the song represents both the engaging and the excessive in 80’s music.  Here it is…

Fast forward twenty years.  I was listening to CBC radio (a frequent practice) when I heard this song… but as recorded in 2004 by Canadian Paul Anka for his Rock Swings album.  You will recognize it as the same song… but with a decidedly different vibe.

anka rock swings

Let’s go the other way.  Anka took a 1967 French pop song ( Claude François and Jacques Revaux), tweaked the melody and added his own lyrics… and My Way was born!  It became the signature song of both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Here’s Elvis doing it “his way”…

The latter seventies saw the rise of the punk movement.  One band which embodied the unvarnished anarchic sound of punk music was Sid Vicious (1957-1979) and the Sex Pistols.  Surprisingly (or perhaps not) Sid decided to do this song his way…

In an interview in 2007 Anka spoke extensively about his famous song and noted he was “somewhat destabilized” by the Vicious interpretation but felt, in the end, Vicious was “sincere about it“.  Hmmm…



Well… that hopefully gives you some idea of my notion of The Unexpected.  Once you’ve heard a particular version of a song, you tend to compare any other interpretation with your “original” and sometimes the result is unexpected (something other than what you might have expected).  In my collection you might prefer one interpretation over another, embrace both versions or find them equally repugnant.     Other than expressing some bemusement at the obvious disparity, I hope to remain (overtly) neutral in my own preferences.  More to come…


p.s.  Happy birthday, Peter…





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