Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Song...Two Versions...My Take On Them

It was 1995 when I first heard the just -released song entitled "No More I Love Yous" by one of my favorite singers Annie Lennox. It was, as I have come to expect from her, a fine performance containing all the emotion, humour and out and out drama that defines Ms. Lennox's style. Huge fan here, from her time with the new wave band The Tourists where she did incredible justice to Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want To Be With You" (if you haven't heard it , by all means seek it out), through her Eurythmics period on up to her solo work. She is an uncommonly gifted performer with a facile flamboyance and sense of the dramatic few artists possess. In fact , I have always maintained that she is the only singer that should even have been considered as the late, great Freddy Mercury's successor in the band Queen. "No More More I Love Yous" was Annie in her element.

Then I found out that the song was a remake. Curious, I sought out the original which was by a group called The Lover Speaks. Turns out the song was written by group members Joseph Hughes and Dave Freeman and released in 1985. It went to #58 in the U.K. while Lennox's version won a Grammy Award for best female rock vocalist and was a huge hit in the U.S. and Europe. I finally listened to The Lover Speaks' version and my reaction was "Oi! This is the proper one!" Stripped of all the bells and whistles of the Lennox version including that giggly spoken middle eight , the original version grabs you at the outset with a beefy rock-funk bass and drum rhythm that never lets up, elegant in its simplicity, allowing the poignant lyrics about  giving up on love due to repeated pain to assume their rightful place front and center. Lennox's version is about performance art, The Lover Speaks' version is about the song.

Make no mistake, I am still a staunch Annie Lennox fan , but for this song The Lover Speaks gets the nod. It should have been a hit, not the answer to a trivia question.

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