Another in a series of random posts on the different ways artists re-interpret songs.
“Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five” is how this band was billed when they first hit the scene. They had been her opening act for some time so I guess somebody at Motown decided, “Hey if we slap her name it, it’ll sell.” And sell it did. Not because the Divine Miss Ross’ name was on it but simply because it’s a great song. This song was released in late 1969, just before my friends and I decided we were too cool for this stuff. Thank God.
Anyway, “I Want You Back” has been recorded a number of times by several different artists. But, for my money, never better than this. From the initial sweep down the piano keys to the first bomp! to that great, funky bass line to Michael’s voice the message was this – Pay attention! This is exciting!
The first cover of this song I personally ever remember hearing was by British rocker Graham Parker back in the late ’70’s. That’s a good cover but for me a little too close to the Jacksons. And so, what’s the point? I’m looking for a little radical reinvention here.
Lake Street Dive is a Boston-based ensemble that Wikipedia characterizes as “Southern rock, indie pop, blue-eyed soul, jazz, folk-rock.” So, there’s that. I cannot imagine this song being played any more soulfully. These guys are touring next year. I’ve never seen them live but they are now on the short list:
One of the great joys of doing this blog is the surprises I sometimes stumble on. Did you know that there is a Japanese singer named Shione Yukawa? And that she does covers of, among other things, rock songs such as Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger?” She is apparently a very popular singer/actress in Japan. I love, love, love the sweet purity in her voice. Of course I’ll take her back. :-0
“I Want You Back” is also on my list of great songs that didn’t quite make the top ten. Check it out here.)