Joan Jett’s status as a rock icon is due in part to her 1981 recording of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll,’ which spent seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains her biggest hit. However, though the song will always be associated with the groundbreaking rocker, it did not originate with her.
Jett first heard the song five years earlier, while touring the United Kingdom with the Runaways. It appeared in a show called Arrows, a weekly series aimed at teens which featured music by a band called The Arrows as well as guest musicians.
Here’s an interesting case of a band kinda sorta covering itself.
Before the iconic, wistful pop song ‘California Dreamin” was a top five hit for the Mamas and the Papas, it was recorded by singer-songwriter Barry McGuire for a 1966 album titled This Precious Time. The song was written by John and Michelle Phillips in 1963 while they were in a band called The New Journeymen, a precursor to the Mamas and the Papas.
Today’s Random Weekend track is a cut from the bonus disc of Elvis Costello’s 2002 reissue of his 1979 album Armed Forces.
‘Big Boys’ is the fourth song on Side One of the original album, and it’s a tight, angry song about sexual immaturity and corrosive infatuation. It’s pretty much perfect as is.
This “alternate version” is similar to the album track structurally, but nowhere near as successful.
Daryl Hall & John Oates’ ‘Adult Education’ was released in 1984 as one of two new songs appearing on a greatest hits collection titled Rock ‘n Soul Part 1. The other new track was ‘Say It Isn’t So.’ ‘Say It Isn’t So’ made it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, while today’s SOTD peaked at #8.
Calling that collection a “greatest hits” was the opposite of false advertising. Every song on that record was a smash of one degree or another, with four tracks making it to #1. When even the two bonus tracks on your compilation become top ten hits, you know you’re on a roll.
In 1980, Blondie’s ‘The Tide is High‘ reached #1 on the British, Canadian, New Zealand and American charts, giving the band its third chart-topper in the United States. The reggae treatment was a new sound for Blondie, whose previous hits ‘Call Me’ and ‘Heart of Glass’ were very synth-heavy.
It turns out that stylistic departure was in keeping with the song’s origins. ‘The Tide is High’ was first recorded by a Jamaican ska band called The Paragons, who included the track on their debut album, 1967’s On the Beach.