Here’s the thing. We’ve loved our music for generations and generations, and we can sing all the lyrics to our favorite tracks. We know every word.
Or do we?
See, in some instances, our favorite classic tracks have undergone – shall we say – alternate versions, depending on previously unforeseen situations. Some songs have lyrics that might confuse people in other countries, while some songs have recorded different versions for a regional effect.
On today’s K-Chuck Radio, I have a few examples of songs that were customized – sometimes by the artist, sometimes by the record company – for various reasons. Let’s start with
DR. HOOK AND FRIENDS
The Cover of Radio Times
Wait, what? Hold up, wasn’t this song about getting on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? Yep, the UK version of this song has a slight lyric change, referring instead to a popular British magazine that – at the time – didn’t even have a reason to put a pop music star on its cover. Did Dr. Hook go in and record an entirely new version of this song? Not really… they simply shouted “On the cover of the Radio Times” over the master track. Listen carefully, and you might still hear someone saying “Rolling Stone” under all the cacophany.
McFADDEN AND WHITEHEAD with the LIBERTY BELLES
Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now (Philadelphia Eagles version)
McFadden and Whitehead’s awesome 1979 track “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” was re-written and re-performed with the Philadelphia Eagles’ cheerleaders (the Liberty Belles) as a pro-Eagles track. It’s okay, I guess … I mean, a year later the Eagles did make it to the Super Bowl, right?
McFADDEN AND WHITEHEAD
Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now (Philadelphia Phillies version)
Yep, McFadden and Whitehead also recorded a version of “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” as a tribute track to the Philadelphia Phillies on their way to the World Series. Of course, whoever did the background vocals on the original rhythm track are still singing, “They won’t let nothing, nothing stand in our way,” while McFadden and Whitehead are screaming, “They won’t let Kansas City stand in their way…”
THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN
Squeaky vs. the Black Knight
The Royal Guardsmen made a career out of novelty songs involving the Peanuts dog Snoopy and his imaginary aerial battles with the Red Baron. Except in Canada … where this alternate version was recorded and released. This version features the same backing track, but brand new lyrics. Cue Artie Johnson … very interesting… dumbkopf…
THE PEPPERMINT RAINBOW
No, I didn’t mix this up. I know dang well that “Green Tambourine” was recorded by the Lemon Pipers in the late 1960’s and was a #1 hit. The Peppermint Rainbow were a sunshine pop group that had a medium-sized hit called “Will You Be Staying After Sunday,” and the people involved with the Lemon Pipers hit thought that “Green Tambourine” would be a great track for the Peppermint Rainbow – so much so that they allowed the Peppermint Rainbow to use the Lemon Pipers’ musical track for their own version.
You know this song, right? Billy Ocean’s worldwide hit “Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run),” right? Except … in some countries, Billy Ocean changed the lyrics slightly, to make the song more palatable to the local audiences. Which explains this version of “European Queen (No More Love On The Run).”
Oh yeah, and he also recorded a version called “African Queen,” just in case you were curious.
Life Is A Rock (WRC Rolled Me)
A great way to get your song on the radio is to insert the radio station’s call letters into your song lyrics. For the novelty track “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me),” Reunion lead singer Joey Levine recorded customized versions for various radio stations, including Washington DC’s WRC (above) and Chicago’s WCFL (below).
I wonder if there were ever customized versions of this song for our local Capital Region radio Top 40 stations like WPTR or WTRY or even 3WD… guess I’ll never know…
So I hope you enjoy this special customized version of K-Chuck Radio, and just remember … the lyrics you know may not be the lyrics you completely know. Hee hee hee…