Friday, May 13, 2016

Original Versus Cover - Hey Joe

Did you ever see the Neil Diamond version of The Jazz Singer where that coked-up rock singer ruins Diamond's song by playing it too fast? When Neil Diamond steps up to the mic and the band plays the song at the right tempo, it sounds great. The exact same thing happened in the story of the song Hey Joe, except backwards. When Jimi Hendrix heard the original version of Hey Joe for the first time, I have no idea how he picked a classic song out of that mess. But he did and, once again, Jimi Hendrix creates a cover that is light years better than the original song.

The only way for you to understand what I am talking about is to listen to the original version of Hey Joe as recorded by The Leaves. Here it is. Good luck:

I had known for years that Hey Joe was a cover, but I never bothered to listen to the original until recently. This is garbage. How in the world Jimi Hendrix listened to this and heard a classic tune is beyond me. I can't even understand how Jimi Hendrix could have liked this tune, much less wanted to cover it.

This is how the master turns a train wreck into a masterpiece (I gave you a live version because it is Hendrix):

This is probably one of the easiest reviews I will ever write for the Original Versus Cover column. Jimi slowed this song down and then added a ton of color to it. This was the song that introduced Jimi Hendrix to the world and it pains me to think that someone else was getting paid songwriting royalties for what Hendrix did. 

Verdict: Jimi

George N Root III is a music fiend who loves covers and originals. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at #howierules