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October 17, 2020 7:20 pm  #1


Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

In the last week, I've heard at least two instances of what's becoming an increasingly common practice - an oldies station or show playing an alternate version of a very well known hit record. A Saturday or two ago, I heard Roger Ashby's show play a request for "Mississippi" by John Phillips, a fantastic record. 

Except the tune they played was not the Top 40 version familiar to listeners. It was completely different, although it clearly was John Phillips. I have no idea where it came from, but it wasn't anywhere near as good as the original.

And then tonight, I was listening to Cousin Brucie's WABC show, when someone called with a request for "It Ain't Me Babe" by the Turtles, another fantastic song. But again, the one they played was not the one that made the charts so long ago. It clearly was the group but not the performance anyone remembers. 

Is it that their producers are too young to be familiar with the originals and just play whatever they find? The host never seems to notice (although I suspect in Ashby's case, he never hears the song and the whole thing is put together by voice track.) Why does this happen so often? And one more thing - where do these false versions of former hits come from? 

Not the most important issue, I know, but if I'm going to take the time to listen to an oldies show, I at least expect to hear the real thing. 

 

October 17, 2020 7:58 pm  #2


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

When you listen to what was actually the mono radio version of Steppenwolf's "Magi Carpet Ride", there is an entirely different voice track than the version everyone knows.  So there are times where different versions were played during the song's hit run.

Even in more modern times, the 45-rpm disc for Naked Eyes' "Promises" contains a completely different second verse.  Check out the radio promo and stock single release for Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again".  It's a completely different performance.
 


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October 17, 2020 8:11 pm  #3


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

I maintain if it's an oldies show, unless they're trying to make a point of it being a different version as Ashby sometimes does, then they should play the hit version.

By the way, interesting to hear The Brotherhood of Man by The Chummingbirds on Roger's show this week. Because the group name had CHUM in it and it was all CHUM jocks on the vocals, (Mike Darow, Gary Ferrier and Bob McAdorey among them) you almost never get to hear it anymore since other stations would never play it. That was an interesting blast from the past to say the least. 

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October 17, 2020 8:53 pm  #4


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

I have  the original single of Mississippi but not the album version but that version is different and perhaps that is what was played:





There is a remastered version of It Ain't Me Babe:





I'm a big Box Tops, Alex Chilton and Big Star fan and perhaps about 20 years ago I heard an alternate version of The Letter which was announced as by the Box Tops but it was in Alex's Big Star voice and not the original Box Tops version. I have to google what that was all about as I just remembered about it.

Last edited by Fitz (October 17, 2020 8:55 pm)


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October 17, 2020 8:55 pm  #5


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

New Kids on the Block 680 CFTR version, with Guitar solo (The one you heard on the radio in 1988) 



New Kids on the Block ALBUM version, organ solo:
(the version you actually got in stores when you bought the album)





 

Last edited by Radiowiz (October 17, 2020 9:11 pm)

 

October 17, 2020 9:01 pm  #6


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

I spend a good deal of my time on a forum called Top 40 Music on CD, where the members try to seek CD releases of rare radio versions and edits of songs.  Being that I'm more vinyl-centric, I just tend to read and contribute when I find out about song oddities, or else to find rare edits.

http://www.top40musiconcd.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=8&PN=1
 


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Jody Thornton
 
 

October 17, 2020 11:59 pm  #7


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

i host a weekly oldies show and original song/original artist is a must!

 

October 18, 2020 2:50 am  #8


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

=12px>> Is it that their producers are too young to be familiar with the originals and just play whatever they find?

That's my guess.


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October 18, 2020 7:42 am  #9


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

In the case of the John Phillips song I would maybe go easy on them as the album version ( if that was what was played) was also an original. BTW the album version is longer and features the famous Wrecking Crew playing. I would think they also played on the 45 version. I have the single in mono but I think there was a stereo promo of the song and a stereo version of the original 45 is probably available on a comp.

Occasionally I have heard much later versions of songs done by what's left of the original group and playing those is bad. Those are sometimes on exploitation quickie comps which involve rights issues.


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October 18, 2020 7:56 am  #10


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

If Roger Ashby or Freddy Vette (who else is left?) decides to play "Early in the Morning" they may rely on Billboard and play the version that charted there in '58 by the Rinky-Dinks which was a cover for Bobby Darin.   

An Ontario-Canadian might remark "I thought that was recorded by Buddy Holly".     Indeed, the version that charted on 1050 CHUM, also in '58, was by Buddy Holly.

They sound similar.    Which is superior?    Perhaps the version with which THE LISTENER is familiar is best, eh?   

Last edited by geo (October 18, 2020 8:00 am)

 

October 18, 2020 10:28 am  #11


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

geo wrote:

If Roger Ashby or Freddy Vette (who else is left?) decides to play "Early in the Morning" they may rely on Billboard and play the version that charted there in '58 by the Rinky-Dinks which was a cover for Bobby Darin.   

An Ontario-Canadian might remark "I thought that was recorded by Buddy Holly".     Indeed, the version that charted on 1050 CHUM, also in '58, was by Buddy Holly.

They sound similar.    Which is superior?    Perhaps the version with which THE LISTENER is familiar is best, eh?   

Both Ashby and Vette are more likely to play the lesser-known version by the Rinky-Dinks, because they tend toward the lesser-played cuts. Just because it's better-known doesn't make it better.
 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (October 18, 2020 10:32 am)


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October 18, 2020 10:45 am  #12


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

Am reminded about the convoluted and confusing history behind Mercy's Top 10 hit Love Can Make You Happy. The original was recorded on the Sundi label and as that was rising on the charts a different version was recorded for Warner's Bros and I think both may have been played through the years,

This version may be different from both the above but I post it b/c of the resemblance of a gent to Mr Spock and the corny 60's trappings. Not withstanding the almost pyjama suits,




 

Last edited by Fitz (October 18, 2020 10:49 am)


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October 18, 2020 11:41 am  #13


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

Dale Patterson wrote:

   Both Ashby and Vette are more likely to play the lesser-known version    

Now that Sirius Oldies, Stingray Oldies & even AM 740's top 10 @ 10:00/11:00 evidently rely heavily on Billboard (except of course for substantial doses of CanCon) it's arguable which version from 1958 is the one oldies listeners appreciate more than another

BOTTOM LINE:    DON'T TRUST ANYONE UNDER THIRTY
 

Last edited by geo (October 18, 2020 12:18 pm)

 

October 18, 2020 1:05 pm  #14


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

I agree with RA and Dale that the relative youth of the show’s producer is probably the main reason.  Remember when Roger presold ‘A World Without Love’ by Peter and Gordon and then they played the Bobby Rydell version?
The real question may be ‘Why do record companies allow their compilation cds to be contaminated with alternate versions and outtakes?’

 

October 18, 2020 1:06 pm  #15


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

geo wrote:

Dale Patterson wrote:

   Both Ashby and Vette are more likely to play the lesser-known version    

Now that Sirius Oldies, Stingray Oldies & even AM 740's top 10 @ 10:00/11:00 evidently rely heavily on Billboard (except of course for substantial doses of CanCon) it's arguable which version from 1958 is the one oldies listeners appreciate more than another

BOTTOM LINE:    DON'T TRUST ANYONE UNDER THIRTY
 

Well Ashby as far as I know mainly uses the CHUM chart for his program, and that is great.   CHUM's chart in some ways was superior to Billboard anyway, in my opinion.  Billboard tended to be more conservative, highlighting additional MOR cuts and CHUM's often was somewhat more rock/youth oriented.    The CHUM chart was never a mirror of Billboard and also reflected regional hits in the Toronto area.  Also showcasing non cancon songs that for whatever reason were more popular in Southern Ontario.

Usually Roger will mention if he is playing another version or first version of a song.  He did this with the Supremes months ago with the first version of I think Baby Love which Motown did release but quickly put out another version that upped Diana Ross' vocals.  This second release was the song that became the hit and heard on radio.    Not everyone will appreciate or like when he does this, but he usually offers an explanation, and sometimes doesn't play the whole cut.

 

 

October 18, 2020 1:21 pm  #16


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

I don't completely disagree with you - I love hearing alternate versions of familiar songs by the same artist who made them famous. But it has to be intentional and it helps if the host notes they're doing it on purpose. Too often, it sounds like, "OK here's your request," and then they launch into a version that never made the charts. That's where I have an issue.

It quickly becomes clear that whoever is in charge either a) didn't bother listening to what they were putting on the air or b) wasn't familiar enough with the song to know the difference. 

Either way, Original Hank is correct in his earlier post - "original song/original artist is a must!"

     Thread Starter
 

October 18, 2020 4:04 pm  #17


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

paterson1 wrote:

geo wrote:

Dale Patterson wrote:

   Both Ashby and Vette are more likely to play the lesser-known version    

Now that Sirius Oldies, Stingray Oldies & even AM 740's top 10 @ 10:00/11:00 evidently rely heavily on Billboard (except of course for substantial doses of CanCon) it's arguable which version from 1958 is the one oldies listeners appreciate more than another

BOTTOM LINE:    DON'T TRUST ANYONE UNDER THIRTY
 

Well Ashby as far as I know mainly uses the CHUM chart for his program, and that is great.   CHUM's chart in some ways was superior to Billboard anyway, in my opinion.  Billboard tended to be more conservative, highlighting additional MOR cuts and CHUM's often was somewhat more rock/youth oriented.    The CHUM chart was never a mirror of Billboard and also reflected regional hits in the Toronto area.  Also showcasing non cancon songs that for whatever reason were more popular in Southern Ontario.

Usually Roger will mention if he is playing another version or first version of a song.  He did this with the Supremes months ago with the first version of I think Baby Love which Motown did release but quickly put out another version that upped Diana Ross' vocals.  This second release was the song that became the hit and heard on radio.    Not everyone will appreciate or like when he does this, but he usually offers an explanation, and sometimes doesn't play the whole cut.

 

He also played a track from the mostly demo quality Stones comp Metamorphosis. I think it might have been Heart of Stone and kudos to him for that as I don't believe that track would have aired on any other area commercial station.


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October 18, 2020 4:37 pm  #18


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

Interesting that SOWNY participants REALLY listen to Ashby's offerings (not just "have it on" as background noize)

 

October 18, 2020 4:47 pm  #19


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

Actually, I sometimes wish I could just hear a scoped version of the show. The stuff that Ashby says is often far more interesting to me than listening to the same oldies over and over. Unless he's playing something obscure, then it gets my attention.

Still a great show, but almost more because of when the music ISN'T playing than when it is. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 18, 2020 4:54 pm  #20


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

Damian wrote:

I agree with RA and Dale that the relative youth of the show’s producer is probably the main reason.  Remember when Roger presold ‘A World Without Love’ by Peter and Gordon and then they played the Bobby Rydell version?
The real question may be ‘Why do record companies allow their compilation cds to be contaminated with alternate versions and outtakes?’

The answer to your question is fan interest. While 12 song comps covering just the original hits will concentrate on those. There are many expanded editions. The Sundazed label specializes in releasing Mono and Stereo editions of the same album on one set with many extra cuts and outtakes. There is a demand for such among the hardcore fan base. There has been great demand for alternate takes of the Beatles and Apple has obliged.

In fact well before any of that there was the "One World" version of "Across the Universe" by the Beatles. The one with the chirping birds at the beginning and that was played regularly by CHUM FM and others. Different version than the one which appeared on Let it be and some say the better one.
 

Last edited by Fitz (October 18, 2020 4:57 pm)


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October 18, 2020 5:14 pm  #21


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

RadioActive wrote:

Actually, I sometimes wish I could just hear a scoped version of the show. The stuff that Ashby says is often far more interesting to me than listening to the same oldies over and over. Unless he's playing something obscure, then it gets my attention.

Still a great show, but almost more because of when the music ISN'T playing than when it is. 

That's interesting, I like both the information and music.  I enjoy some of the more secondary hits that I haven't heard in years and some of the older cancon that never gets played.  What I have noticed is that quite a few of the requests on the show are B hits as well, which is interesting.

Some requests from listeners wouldn't normally see the light of day but Ashby to his credit will play it if he has it.   I am sure some people just would prefer to hear the hits and not the other stuff.  If Bell ever cancels his show, Ashby could find a home on CBC Radio or 740 with the program.  It's different and a little quirky,  and wouldn't sound out of place on CBC radio or Zoomer. 

 

October 19, 2020 1:49 am  #22


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

Damian wrote:

I agree with RA and Dale that the relative youth of the show’s producer is probably the main reason.  Remember when Roger presold ‘A World Without Love’ by Peter and Gordon and then they played the Bobby Rydell version?
The real question may be ‘Why do record companies allow their compilation cds to be contaminated with alternate versions and outtakes?’

Good question. Could be a rights thing, maybe they couldn't get the rights to the original or the original cost too much. I don't know, that's just a guess.
 


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October 19, 2020 6:14 am  #23


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

There's dodgy exploitation comps featuring inferior versions of hits recorded by later versions of a band for sure but to expand on a point I had made earlier. In large part it comes down to a fan base that is looking for alternative or single mixes. Jody had pointed out that the original single mix of Magic Carpet Ride was different from the stereo album track that everyone is now used to and may think of as the original but it's not the original hit version. 

There's a literally thousands of comps highlighting the lost or alternate versions for good reason. Picture below is part of a Byrds comp on Sundazed that features more than 12 alternate or single mixes and in the case of one song the liner notes point out that the single mix is the superior one but most comps have included the inferior album version. In a sense what one may think of as the hit single version actually may not be.

https://lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Byrds-comp.jpg


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October 19, 2020 8:09 am  #24


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

geo wrote:

If Roger Ashby or Freddy Vette (who else is left?) decides to play "Early in the Morning" they may rely on Billboard and play the version that charted there in '58 by the Rinky-Dinks which was a cover for Bobby Darin.   

An Ontario-Canadian might remark "I thought that was recorded by Buddy Holly".     Indeed, the version that charted on 1050 CHUM, also in '58, was by Buddy Holly.

They sound similar.    Which is superior?    Perhaps the version with which THE LISTENER is familiar is best, eh?   

>> Roger Ashby or Freddy Vette (who else is left?)

Pat St. John on Sirius '60s on 6 of course!
 


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

October 19, 2020 7:36 pm  #25


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

This thread got me to thinking that the list from the 1970's/80's of single versions that were the same as the album  is probably shorter than the one with differences, Aside from the ones already mentioned others include Green Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf, Space Oddity by Bowie, Safety Dance and on and on and on............

and to confuse matters more, there was sometimes a third version or radio edit/promo which was featured on radio stations. They probably continued to play these for a long time. Also with the advent of FM stereo  rock and FM top 40, many FM stations opted for the stereo  album versions

Here's an illustration. Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young which charted on CHUM.

The single version has a completely different vocal, a duet between NY and Danny Whitten from Crazy Horse. The album version is longer and of course has a different vocal track and that's the one which is heard everywhere now and thought of as the original. I tacked on a third version, to the You Tube clips below, by the Gentrys which also charted in Toronto and was in fact the first version I remember.

Single Version:





Album Version:





Gentry's Version:



 

Last edited by Fitz (October 19, 2020 7:51 pm)


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October 19, 2020 8:21 pm  #26


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

And therein lies some of the problem, IMHO.

If I'm a teenager and like the single, and I buy the album, I want the song I heard on the radio. Not some elongated different version that isn't the one I heard.

I was just listening back to Cousin Brucie's first show on his return to WABC and there was another one. He played Let's Twist Again by Chubby Checker. It was the original artist, alright. But it wasn't the original song. Where did the much poorer version come from and how did it get into their rotation?

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October 19, 2020 8:36 pm  #27


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

I really like the single version of Cinnamon Girl by NY mainly b/c of Danny Whitten's vocals. I have both the album and single. I think I bought the single after the album  because it had Sugar Mountain on the B side and that was not available on an album for a long time. The radio has only played the album version for a long time and I think they sometimes cut out the guitar part at the end.

Here's a suggestion for Roger Ashby's double play. Play the single version by NY and the Gentry's version as both charted and I think the Gentry's version peaked before NY.


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October 19, 2020 8:43 pm  #28


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

It's possible he may see your suggestion. Though he's never posted here, a few months ago Ashby became a SOWNY member. So I have to assume he occasionally visits. It's an honour to have him here and I hope he posts a message someday. 

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October 19, 2020 9:51 pm  #29


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

re: cinnamon girl ... i remember hearing the gentry's version (played often) on a certain u.s. station i'd listen to.... back in the day.
 

Last edited by the original hank (October 19, 2020 9:54 pm)

 

October 19, 2020 10:20 pm  #30


Re: Where Do These Alternate Versions Of Hit Records Come From?

The Gentrys version of Cinnamon Girl charted first on Billboard and got to #52, vs. #55 for Neil Young's. However, according to the CHUM Chart Book, only Neil Young's version charted on CHUM where it reached #7. Still, based on both versions charting on Billboard it might be possible to get Ashby to play them together, especially given that they would both qualify as Cancon.