Saturday, June 11, 2005

Rock Swings

Paul Anka singing swing versions of songs by the likes of Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Soundgarden, Oasis, and REM? I was so ready to rip on this when I heard about it. But then I cued it up on Real Rhapsody and started to listen and...who'da'thunk it?...I couldn't. Damn, if it doesn't work.

The old pro didn't goof on the songs (as I imagined he might) but he treated them with respect and the new swing charts are tastefully arranged and played. It might not be everybody's cup of tea but, for my part, it's fun, entertaining, and even illuminating (as an old school pop singer, Anka takes special care of the lyrics of a song.)

Anka's seasoned croon is well matched with ballads like REM's "Everybody Hurts", Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven", Lionel Richie's "Hello", and Spandau Ballet's "True", of course, but the revelation is how well rockers like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun", and Van Halen's "Jump" adapt to the sweetly swinging arrangements and Anka's nuanced vocals.

Wow. What a delightful surprise.


Doug said...

I wouldn't have thunk it.

Pikkel Weezel said...

It doesn't work, not at all. He took someone elses lyrics and made an entirely new song out of them. To say he is performing a Nirvana song isn't true. Another thing that doesn't work are the reviews that keep writing as if this is the first time it's been done. Pat Boone, Lounge Against The Machine, Johnny Cash. It's been done and Johnny Cash's version kicked ass, the others were just awful.

Le laquet said...

I liked it anyway!! To quote Doug "I wouldn't have thunk it!" Thanks for the tip - Amazon here I come!

Anonymous said...

i wouldn't have thunk it either, but i heard a couple of samples while in the car the other day and it was't bad! (i'll admit that on paper, it looked like a dead on abomination.) visiting via michele and wishing i lived in san diego, my favorite city in the world.

Elbot said...

What a concept! There's an anthology cd collecting tracks by celebrities who, on the other hand, should not have been singing. I found a track list:

Proud Mary - Leonard Nimoy
It Ain't Me Babe - Sebastian Cabot
Blowin' In The Wind - Eddie Albert
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - William Shatner
A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Noel Harrison
I Can See For Miles - Frankie Randall
Try A Little Tenderness - Jack Webb
Twist And Shout - Mae West
House Of The Rising Sun - Andy Griffith
Mr. Tambourine Man - William Shatner
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Jim Nabors
White Room - Joel Grey
Like A Rolling Stone - Sebastian Cabot
If I Had A Hammer - Leonard Nimoy

(actually, I have the original LP of Andy Griffith from 1959, and it's quite cool).