It’s two years since I started this blog and I’m exactly 250 number ones in! To celebrate, I am doing a week-long special: cover versions of #1 singles! Whenever I write a post, I not only discover and enjoy the #1 singles, I also often discover and enjoy other recordings of these hit songs.
Our penultimate pair of covers are from two ladies, with two unique interpretations of two very well-known number ones…
‘Shakin’ All Over’, by Wanda Jackson (2011)
(Originally reached #1 in 1960, with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates)
A late career flourish for an artist who had been around since the fifties, when she released sparky rockabilly hits like ‘Fujiyama Mama’ and ‘Funnel of Love’. Like Mae West in yesterday’s post, Jackson was well into her seventies when she recorded this, but the voice is still there. And on guitar…? One Jack White.
‘Mack the Knife’, by Marianne Faithfull (1997)
(Originally hit #1 in 1959, with Bobby Darin)
Speaking of voices, how about Marianne Faithfull’s rasp on this version of the bloodiest #1. Bobby Darin’s version is canon, but it is quite jazzy and uplifting. This one is much more menacing, especially when Faithfull starts delivering the lines like a pantomime villain. The lyrics here are far more explicit and, apparently, much more faithful – pardon the pun – to the German original.
Last two tomorrow!