Cover version of the month #65
The Fall cover Sister Sledge
I recently read Renegade, Mark E Smith's autobiography. I'm not a huge fan of the band by any means, but I did take some time to try a little bit more of their back catalogue as a result of reading the book.
And I discovered a number of cover versions that they have recorded, including an outrageous version of Lost In Music by Sister Sledge from their monumental 1979 album We Are Family.
Written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic, this sublime slice of disco house heaven was produced during a period where the duo could literally do no wrong. Everything they touched turned to gold. Check what they were involved with in the late 70's with Chic and Sister Sledge, it is just insane, then through to working with Bowie, Diana Ross and Madonna (among others) in the 80's.
Lost In Music is utterly stunning pop music. The song stretches out to 4 minutes 40 seconds, allowing Rodgers and Edwards to pull every kind of trick they have learned to create something magical.
What are their tricks? Well there is a teasing 30-second intro, then we're straight into a double chorus that you can sing after only one listen. And there are plenty of other opportunities through the rest of the song to do just that.
The vocals and production are crystal clear, the stabbing piano/keys sounds instantly familiar and Rodgers just grooves along in his unique style, somehow playing lead and rhythm guitar simultaneously.
I've been in a club when this song has come on, if played at the precise moment, then there is nothing better, the crowd are lost in music and singing-a-long, meaning and believing every sing word they sing. It is absolutely perfect for a club.
We're lost in music, feel so alive
I quit my nine to five
We're lost in music
Rodgers & Edwards captured the NYC disco and club scene perfectly in so many of their finely crafted songs. No wonder, if you read Rodgers autobiography it sounds like he pretty much lived in some of the clubs! He certainly lived for clubbing, lived for music. He still lives for music. I've caught his Nile Rodgers and Chic shows a couple of times and I think they may well be the most uplifting shows I have ever experienced.
In 1993 The Fall decided to cover Lost In Music. They rip through it, with Mark E Smith adding his own little twist by declaring I'm Lost In Music. That simple shift from we're to I'm just personalises the song.
I'm no expert on Smith and The Fall, but I know how prolific he was and from what I have heard and read, he was lost in his own world, his own music, his own vision and dreams for The Fall.
Smith snaps, snarls and drawls his way through the song. When he half sings, half shouts I'm so alive, he actually sounds like he couldn't give a flying f**k. When he sings caught in a trap, no looking back it sounds like he is resigned to recording the cover version, rather than enjoying it.
Yet I'm strangely drawn to it. It's got a raw punk edge, it is a strange and brave song to cover. Why did they cover it? I haven't been able to track that down.
Anyway, I enjoy it and it is cover version of the month #65. Check the original, a sublime re-edit by Dimtri From Paris, the cover by The Fall and also a live version.
And after posting this blog Duglas T Stewart of the BMX Bandits kindly tipped me off on this very atmospheric version by Anita Lane.
Click (or search for) Everything Flows cool cover versions on Spotify for a playlist of the covers I have blogged about and read on for a full list and links to previous cover of the month blogs.
Previous covers of the month
40. Jumpin' Jack Flash
44. Witchi Tai To
45. Our Lips Are Sealed
46. Sunshine Of Your Love
47. Here Comes The Sun
48. I Think We're Alone Now
49. Don't Let Me Down
50. It's Oh So Quiet
52. Summer Holiday
53. Who Do You Think You Are?
54. Head On
55. Nothing Compares 2 U