The Kingsmen

Portland’s finest, The Kingsmen, recorded their version of the oft-covered ‘Louie Louie’ on this day in 1963.

Have a look at them performing it, on Shindig, in October 1965.

If you’re in need of some feel-good cheer, it might do the trick, what with the fancy footwork and all.

But if it reminds anyone of that Luis Garcia goal against Chelsea in the 2005 Champions League semi-final, that’s not my fault.

So, the topic? Take your pick from:

1. Memorable TV moments from bands whose names begin with ‘The’.
2. Most imaginative cover versions (whether you approved or not).

I’ll go for The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, specifically the epic ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, which made it onto television screens thirty years later than it should have.

As for covers, there are many obvious ones, but how about Robert Wyatt’s ‘I’m a Believer’? If you’re able to track down footage of this performance on Top of the Pops, you might just recognise the drummer.

The chatroom will be open tomorrow from 10:00 (UK).

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

96 thoughts on “The Kingsmen”

  1. Rolf Harris’ cover of Stairway to Heaven was pretty poor. He didn’t even know what that song was about!! :))

    I’m not the biggest of Zep fans to find it funny. Zep fanatics must have been furious though. Baaaaad cover.

  2. I’d have to agree with Wyatt’s “I’m a Believer”. He really is a fantastic artist, you should also hear his song “Shipbuilding” written for him by Elvis Costello, not quite a cover, but almost!

    As for imaginative covers how about Travis playing Baby One More Time? Listen to it here.

    Stretching it a bit again I’d have to go for The Pink Floyd’s appearance at Live8 (I was there but taped it, so I think that counts as a TV moment).

    1. I like that. Definitely an improvement on the original.

      They also do a pretty decent version of ‘The Weight (Take a Load Off, Fannie)’.

    2. Can’t stand that version of The Weight. BLAND BLAND BLAND!!! But hey ho. 😀

  3. My favorite bad cover of all time was recorded by William Shatner. Yes, he of “Star Trek” fame. He did the most awful version of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” that has ever existed.

    Leonard Nimoy (also of “Star Trek” fame) did a fantastically bad cover of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind.” Howling housecats sound better!

    There was a novelty record by Frankie Vallie, recording as “The Wonder Who?” that was bone-chillingly bad. But I think he was TRYING to be really bad.

    And speaking of really bad, The Kingsmen were what I call “Lovably bad.” There is no musicianship in them at all, but they knew how to have fun. And there is something to be said for that.

    1. I think the best of the Shat would be his version of “Rocket Man” from the Sci-fi awards from 1978.

    2. There was an album realeased with all those gems, called “Golden Throats”, it did so well that they released a second one. Get yours today boys and girls, and don’t miss out on Sammy Davis Jr’s version of “Shaft”… can ya dig it?

    3. The Kate Bush version of Rocket Man is, in my humble opinion, one of the weakest contributions to the “Two Rooms” album. This is an album of tributes to Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

      I actually like Kate Bush a lot more than some of her music. She is a very talented singer with an amazing voice, but her music is not always for me. That said, the video was interesting to watch. Thanks for the link.

      I simply cannot imagine Shat attempting to sing this song. THAT has GOT to be funny!

  4. Over the weekend there was a massive murder-suicide in the city of Binghamton, some 150 miles from my residence here in Schenectady NY. He locked the back doors of a center for the education of immigrants, then went in through the front door and started shooting. He killed 13 people and injured lots of others, before turning the gun on himself.

    It hits close to home, because I’ve been to Binghamton and have friends who live and work there. One friend, a lawyer, has his office just 4 blocks from where the shooting occurred.

    You expect these things to happen in my hometown of New York City. You don’t expect it in smaller cities like Binghamton. These mass murder-suicides are becoming all too common and familiar, and they leave me wondering just how we can make it stop.

    What can be done about this? I want to be able to do something, but what?

  5. Shindig, I remember that well.

    I’ll have to think about the above question with someone called The… 8|

  6. I’ll go for The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, specifically the epic ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, which made it onto television screens thirty years later than it should have.

    I think it was shown at exactly the right time, just before I stopped watching television, which is about 12 years ago. It is also a good example of why people should ignore what celebrities say because of their use of the word Lucifer in that song.

    Not many people know this, but, the part in Isiah 14:12 in the Bible where it says (in the King James version):

    “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

    That is the only time the word “Lucifer” is used in the Bible, and it is a mistranslation for “Morning Star”. If you also read the previous chapters it becomes obvious that this actually relates to the King of Babylon, NOT some mythical “fallen Angel”.

    Lucifer was the name given by the ancient Romans for the planet Venus, which is why in our modern dictionaries the word “Lucifer” is said to mean “light-bearer” (and also in the book of Revelations chapter 22 Christ says, “I am the bright and morning star” – which is Venus). Some have used this to try and tortuously argue that the Satan of the Old Testament is Lucifer and that It is a fallen angel.

    Even a cursory glance at the facts disproves such superstitious nonsense. The word we now use as “Lucifer” was a mistranslation by those who wrote the King James Bible. Previously, the word “Lucifer” represented a female goddess of light… the planet Venus.

  7. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1964 which is pretty obvious. From the Anthology, it is said that no crimes were reported during their first performance. “Even the criminals wanted a break” says George Harrison.

    This is off track but I think it’s worth mentioning. George is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next Tuesday. So I must ask, when is David getting his?

    Back to the topic:

    The Crickets. I forgot what show they were on. The name escapes me at the moment being 2.15am.

    …hmmm, that’s all I got.

  8. THE… Jimi Hendrix Experience live on THE Lulu Show. I vaguely remember the show at the time, my parents hated Hendrix (probably making him more attractive to me). I have seen the footage many times since though, was he not the reason acts were not permitted to perform live on Top Of The Pops?

    Scissor Sisters. GGGRRRRRR, need I say more?

    1. That sums it up nicely.

      Speaking of Jimi, his ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ deserves special mention. How about that?

  9. the standells “doing the ringo” at the munsters’ home! and herman munster is bringing his stand up poem:

    “wuzzy wuzzy was a bear
    wuzzy wuzzy lost his hair…”

    great!!!

  10. For TV moments from bands beginning with The, seeing the video for Infected by The The for the first time absolutely blew me away. At the time it seemed a completely different way of showcasing a song, and at the same time made me a big fan of the band, very under-rated. One of the best concerts I have ever seen was the Takes On The World tour, just raw, sweaty, dirty music. Giant at the end is up there as a musical highlight of my life.

    Louie, Louie is one of those tracks that you wish would go on for another 15 minutes. It always seems to be too short.

  11. 1. The Eagles, unplugged.
    2. Placebo – Running Up That Hill, Johnny Cash – Hurt, Gary Jules – Mad World.

    1. Did Johnny Cash do a cover version of Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’?

      When I have more time I will have to try and investigate. If I remember, that is.

    2. Hi Julie,

      your question made me curious, so I searched the internet and I found this website.

      I couldn’t find the cover of “Ace of Spades”, but there are lots of other interseting ones. 🙂

  12. Louie, Louie was covered quite good by Lemmy. I actually first heard this song from him before ever hearing the original!

    Best regards,
    Taki

  13. I listen to a band called Me First and The Gimme Gimmes who cover all types of songs in a punk style but the notes are all correct. Check them out, they do a wicked version of Jolene/Uptown Girl/Rocket Man.

  14. I think I’ll go for Sir Paul McCartney’s rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

    Although, Stevie Ray Vaughan had a damn good go at it too.

  15. As for covers by recognised artistes, the list is endless.

    Most imaginative recently is Scissor Sisters’ version of Comfortably Numb (that’ll put the cat amongst the pigeons). 😀

    Oh, and Marilyn Manson’s version of Sweet Dreams.

  16. 1. Memorable TV moments from bands whose names begin with ‘The’.

    The Beatles ~ Ed Sullivan

    2. Most imaginative cover versions (whether you approved or not).

    Pat Boone ~ Judas Priest’s “You Got Another Thing Comin'”

    I did not approve…

  17. The one that keeps coming to my mind is when Elvis Costello and the Attractions appeared on Saturday Night Live but then that doesn’t start with “The.” So I thought some more and here is one that many here have probably never seen.

    There was a local show in the New York area called the Uncle Floyd Show. Hard to describe exactly what kind of show this was other than entertainment with a comedic twist and full of innuendo. But each show typically had some kind of musical act. If the song was a parody, then it was performed live however whenever a band appeared it was typically lip-synched. So The Ramones appeared a number of times on this show and in their goofy nature it was always entertaining.

    Not sure if any footage exists of their performances online but certainly worth a search and a look.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

    1. It’s worth watching that for the bit, 27 seconds in, where Frank sings “woooooooos me” alone.

    1. One of the best voices in modern music, that.

      Ever hear him do ‘Heart of Gold’? The B-side to the Stereophonics’ ‘Have a Nice Day’ single, I think it was.

    2. Yep, he also does a mean Positively 4th Street and Last Resort too. Oh and Don’t Let Me Down, Who Are You, Substitute, Nothing Compares to You, and Sunny Afternoon, too.

      That man can sing – he’s my second favourite musician. 😉

  18. Actually Fed, it was Sid Vicious solo who slaughtered “My Way” in a very funny over the top performance. It was meant to be bad and because it was, it was great!

    1. Gary Oldman who played Syd in “Nancy and Me” reproduced the stint in the movie.

  19. Most imaginative cover versions?

    An awful one, I think, (not sure it needed much ‘imagination’): ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Scissors Sisters. You can listen to it here.

    A nice one, even if I know you won’t agree with me, FEd: ‘Hallelujah’ (Leonard Cohen) by Jeff Buckley. 😛

    A – maybe not imaginative but – beautiful one, even better than the original, I think: ‘Elle m’appartient’ (= ‘She belongs to me’ – Bob Dylan) by Francis Cabrel. You can listen to it here.

    Michèle

    1. Well, I’ll agree with you about the Scissor Sisters’s version of ‘Comfortably Numb’ being awful (although it was different, at least) and about ‘Elle m’appartient’ being beautiful.

    2. That was Comfortably Numbnuts Michele. Remind me to never listen to that one again. 😛

  20. And… hmm… ‘High Hopes’ by Nightwish. Of course, not as subtle, as moving, as beautiful as the original, some will think it’s sacrilege, but I like it for its energy and it’s funny to hear a Pink Floyd song played by a metal band with such passion, at least they didn’t try to do a ‘copy’. Listen to it here.

    Speaking of ‘High Hopes’, the French ‘Guitarist & Bass’ magazine (celebrating its 20th anniversary) has a special issue this month about the last 20 years of music.

    On their Top 20 best guitar solos between 1989 and 2009: #1= ‘High Hopes’.

    On their Top 20 best guitarists between 1989 and 2009: #1 = David Gilmour.

    Wow, Bravo Mr Gilmour!

    Michèle

    1. Michele,

      I was at a David Gilmour concert about 3 years ago. He did a cover of High Hopes by this little Pink Floyd band you mention. It would have left you breathless. Perhaps you were there and know what I’m talking about. The difference being that he ended it with “THE” most beautiful acoustic guitar passage, that demanded a tear or two or more from the listener. It would have made the original guitar player proud!

      (I hope you know I’m just kidding around, but there’s kind of some truth to it.)

    2. Oh yes, I was there, John… and I will remember forever the sublime acoustic outro…

  21. OK, a two parter – double header question… FEd is feeling frisky, I see! Very well.

    1) “The” groups and memorable TV moments:

    The Who – Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (9-15-1967) – less a cheesy, in your face obnoxious and sexual innuendo charged comedy hour and more a satirical, highly intelligent, and well crafted political statement to the establishment. Well ahead of their time, the Smothers Brothers had some of the BEST groups the 60s had to offer. After their smashing debut (pun intended) at the Monterey Pop Festival, the Who were invited to mime I Can See For Miles, and then after some comedic back talk to the hapless Tom Smothers, My Generation and explosive finale. Legend has it that Moon, bribing the stage hands with a bottle of his favorite liquor, managed to get more explosive munitions for the latter songs finale… a WHOLE LOT more! At the end, just as Townshend is chipping away at his makeshift ES-335, Moon lets loose with his mini-A bomb literally blowing a cymbal to shrapnel (embedded in his arm!) and near permanently damaging Townshend’s hearing, singeing his hair in the process.

    2) Most imaginative cover versions: there are 2.

    1) Song wise: With a Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

    2) Album wise: Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out – Petra (upon insistence from Mike Watt) recreates the entire LP – utilizing no instruments, just voice only. Vocals acting as the instruments, as well as the lyrical engine. Fascinating to hear, if but once!

    1. Joe Cocker’s ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’: a rare example of a cover version being better than the original.

      Thanks for mentioning that one.

  22. What, nobody saw fit to mention David’s beautiful cover of “Dimming of the Day”? The most beautiful voice, the most poignant lyrics, such a moving piece of work.

    As for “THE” bands, I’m coming up blank. I know loads of great bands, and lots of television appearances, but I can’t think of any instances of both that haven’t already been mentioned.

    Cheers FEd! I’ve lurked here for ages, but hadn’t posted before. You run a pretty nice place here!

    1. Thank you very much, good to hear from you.

      Funnily enough, it was one of the first songs that came to mind, so I’m glad that you mentioned it.

  23. Oooooh, I’d forgotten about Joe Cocker!!

    Loved his cover of The Letter. Not better or worse than the Boxtops original. Just different.

    Prime example of a cover being more famous than the original has to be Hey Joe!

  24. The Mamas and Papas; “Twist and Shout”… wooooof~*!

    Twist and Shout is obviously an upbeat high energy feel good song, but not for The Mamas and Papas. The version they did sounds like it was recorded from someone in jail with a hangover.

  25. Sorry – I’m being a thread-hog. 😀

    Had to mention the Derek & the Dominos version of Little Wing. Awesome.

  26. I’ve got 2 most imaginative cover versions on my mind:

    1. A perfect Circle’s cover of John Lennon’s Imagine (very dark and sulky, in response to 9/11, I think).

    2. Joss Stone, Fell In Love With a Boy (original by The White Stripes, I prefer the cover over the original version).

    1. I thought Roxy Music did a fine job on ‘Jealous Guy’. Another example, perhaps, of a cover surpassing the original?

      (That’s not easy to suggest, speaking as a big fan of John Lennon, but I do prefer Roxy Music’s version.)

  27. I recently came across a live acoustic cover of ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Staind, which I thought was rather interesting. I had no idea they’d included it on one of their albums, which I think was a bit much, but it is a pretty decent cover, although lacking in a huge Gilmourian solo sorta way.

    I certainly enjoy Staind’s music, my favorites being: ‘Secret Song’, ‘It’s Been A While’, ‘Outside’ and ‘Tangled Up In You’.

    Maybe David could cover ‘Tangled Up In You’, and show em how it’s done. 😀

    You’re my world
    The shelter from the rain
    You’re the pills
    That take away my pain
    You’re the light
    That helps me find my way
    You’re the words
    When I have nothing to say

    And in this world
    Where nothing else is true
    Here I am
    Still tangled up in you
    I’m still tangled up in you
    Still tangled up in you

    You’re the fire
    That warms me when I’m cold
    You’re the hand
    I have to hold as I grow old
    You’re the shore
    When I am lost at sea
    You’re the only thing
    That I like about me

    And in this world
    Where nothing else is true
    Here I am
    Still tangled up in you
    I’m still tangled up in you

    How long has it been
    Since this storyline began
    And I hope it never ends
    And goes like this forever

    In this world
    Where nothing else is true
    Here I am
    Still tangled up in you
    Tangled up in you
    I’m still tangled up in you
    Still tangled up in you

  28. Van Halen’s cover of the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ is great.

    Eddie Vedder’s cover of Wayne Cochran’s ‘The Last Kiss’ is pathetic. Embarrassing actually. I have to switch radio stations when it comes on as I feel so bad for him.

    Jim Morrison of ‘The Doors’ deliberately screaming out and emphasizing “…girl, we couldn’t get much higher…”, during a performance of ‘Light My Fire’ on The Ed Sullivan Show, when he was told that he would have to change the lyrics because they were not proper, was kind of cool.

    I prefer The Beatles ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ version over Joe Cocker’s FEd. I think he got a little over dramatic with it. The Beatles made it light and whimsical.

  29. I forgot about my most favourite cover version, Ryan Adams cover of Wonderwall – here.

    Truly amazing and miles better than the original (and I liked the original!).

    1. Good shout, Lewis.

      Do you remember the Mike Flowers Pops version? (George Maciver, maybe this will do it for you instead.)

  30. Jimi Hendrix on Lulu – great call Graham.

    However I must go for The Beatles singing ‘All You Need is Love’ to a live audience. We only had a black and white telly then but it was fantastic.

    David singing ‘Dimming of the Day’ is a good one Misty. I must admit to enjoying ‘My Way’ by Sid and ‘Eloise’ by The Damned but Stan Webbs Chicken Shack doing ‘The Thrill is Gone’ gets my vote.

    P.S. Motorhead did a great version of ‘Louie Louie’.

    1. Wow, I just popped back in here after an extended absence from the internet…

      The SAME day you posted this, Pete, I heard that version of “My Way” for the first time! It popped up in a program I was watching, and I fell hard for it. Amazing coincidence to find that you’d mentioned it! 8|

  31. Imaginative covers:

    Aerosmith’s “Helter Skelter”, Annie Lennox’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (I like it much more than the original one), Ramones version of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages” and of Tom Waits’ “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up”.

    I’ve just watched again the crazy original video. It always makes me laugh. :))

    1. Yes! I agree RE: “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

      I love Annie Lennox. Best ever female vocalist, IMO.

  32. Here are Korn playing “Another Brick in the Wall”. 8|

    Did you ever listen to Pearl Jam’s version? Or Dream Theater playing The Dark Side of the Moon?

    1. I’ve seen the Dream Theater performance. Thought it was alright, but the singer over-does it a bit (well, a lot).

    2. And who knows ‘Dub Side of the Moon’, dub reggae tribute to ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by the Easy Star All-Stars? Watch ‘Money’ here.

      I love the way the singer in a green T-shirt is dancing and enjoying himself. :))

    3. I agree, FEd. Dream Theater were good enough, but their singer’s voice is not very suitable.

      I didn’t know Dub Side of The Moon. I couldn’t imagine a reggae version of Money before watching that video, but I liked it. 😀

    4. Dub’s good and don’t overlook “Radiodread” – their equally loving take on “OK Computer”.

      My two favourite albums covered by one reggae outfit… that’s got to be more than a coincidence.

  33. Dunno FEd, at least the guys had a good feel for a groove.

    What about this for an excellent cover? Santana doing Fleetwood Mac’s Black Magic Woman?

  34. I always liked the Beatles version of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’. John Lennon’s voice is really good on that song.

    1. The Animals were such an amazing band. I’ve always loved Eric Burdon’s voice and wish that I could sing like him.

      Interesting fact: The Animals also covered Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.

      FEd, I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned a certain cover by Gerry & The Pacemakers. Will you be singing it tonight?

      I think Liverpool can do it tonight. Chelsea will always let in goals, just ask my team – Bolton Wanderers.

    2. I hope you’re right, Dunc. I did dream last night that Torres would score two and that Dossena would come on as a substitute and grab the crucial third, but it’s undoubtedly a very steep mountain to climb. That said, win or lose, a certain Gerry & The Pacemakers number will certainly be heard a lot over the next two days…

      Justice for the 96.

      That was some comeback, by the way. I thought you were going to earn a point. What an exciting season it’s proving to be, eh?

    3. Yes, what a tragedy on this 15 April, I hope you had no friends/relatives among these 96, FEd and I hope it will never happen again on any football stadium, this is just so stupid.

  35. This 35 minute cover version of Atom Heart Mother performed by a large group of French students from 2003 is absolutely THE best and most imaginative performance of any of their pieces. This must have taken an age to perfect to this degree of accuracy.

    The choreography, the technique, the production – everything makes this marvellous to watch. Don’t miss it, as it has disappeared in the past.

    And my suggestion for most memorable TV moment from a band beginning with ‘THE’ is The E Street Band with Springsteen when they performed the coveted 12 minute American NFL Half-Time slot a couple of months ago. Never a big fan of some of his studio albums but his live performances over the last few years have been excellent. The 4 songs they crammed into the 12 minutes made for great viewing.

    Still enjoying the daily blogs but first contribution for a while.

    Dave Carlin

  36. Sorry F’ed this topic is toooooooo big. I’m recognising every cover mentioned and there’s just so many it seems invidious to pick a few out.

    That said, Jimi Hendrix covers of Wild Thing and Johnny B Goode are classics and didn’t he famously play Sgt Pepper on stage (in his own inimitable style) within a few days (like 3) of the groundbreaking album hitting the streets? That must have been some gig.

  37. FEd,

    Ever see this cover of The Ramones doing The Who Substitute. The intro is a bit long but quite interesting.

    Or maybe you prefer this one.

    Just keep in mind that that was during the time of Bush senior.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

    1. :)) Thanks for those.

      I haven’t seen or heard much of The Ramones, actually. All that crash-bang-shout punk rock gives me a headache, but that was pretty interesting.

  38. Hi FEd, I thought we could include URLs in our posts now but I notice you deleted the link to the AHM cover version in my above post No.40.

    There were a couple of links to other PF cover songs on post No.36 so where have I gone wrong?

    Dave

    1. You haven’t, you can and I didn’t. Your very first word acts as the link – and here it is again, if anyone missed it.

      I’ll try to remember to make all your links bold from now on so that they stand out, just in case it’s not obvious from the sentence that there’s something to click (I know that the underline and mouse-over effect isn’t always clear in certain browsers).

    2. I think that what it is is if the person has already seen the link, it is no longer underlined, making it look missing. 😉

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