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Original Versions of Famous Tracks

A funny thing happens sometimes in music, where the original version of a song as recorded by the artist(s) who wrote it, is not the most popular or well-known version. In fact, if a cover or remake of a song is successful enough, the original version is supplanted in popular imagination.

In this episode, we give a listen to eight terrific songs, each in two versions: the famous one and the original one, and the contrasts within each pair are sometimes striking. We also discuss some recent musical finds you’ll enjoy, from all over the world.

Playlist for this episode:

  1. LP - Lost On You [Live Session] 
  2. Rei - Cocoa
  3. Jeanine De Bique - “Rejoice Greatly” from Messiah
  4. Toni Basil - Hey Mickey
  5. Racey - Kitty
  6. Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  7. Robert Hazard - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  8. Soft Cell - Tainted Love
  9. Gloria Jones - Tainted Love
  10. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock ’n’ Roll
  11. The Arrows - I Love Rock ’n’ Roll
  12. Bananarama - Venus
  13. Shocking Blue - Venus
  14. Quiet Riot - Cum on Feel the Noize
  15. Slade - Cum on Feel the Noize
  16. Beyonce - If I Were A Boy
  17. BC Jean - If I Were A Boy
  18. Santana - Black Magic Woman
  19. Fleetwood Mac - Black Magic Woman

Does awareness of musical structure change a listener’s experience?

In this episode, we explore an interesting question: does awareness of structure and process in music have any impact on the experience of listening to that music?

Given that music occurs in time, the ways that we choose to organize and develop musical ideas are critically important for musicians, but may not be apparent to a listener. Here we take several examples from widely different kinds of music with some before-and-after listening, so that you may explore the answer to our title’s question.

Playlist for this episode:

  1. "Dear Theodosia," from Hamilton - Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr.
  2. I Believe I'll Dust My Broom - Robert Johnson
  3. Hound Dog - Big Mama Thornton
  4. Mercy - Duffy
  5. Cherokee - Clifford Brown and the Max Roach Quartet
  6. Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 ("Little") - J.S. Bach
  7. It's Gonna Rain, Pt. 1 - Steve Reich
  8. Piano Phase - Steve Reich
  9. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 (IV) - Ludwig van Beethoven
  10. Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection Symphony" (III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung) - Gustav Mahler
  11. Sinfonia (III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung) - Luciano Berio

The Glory of Outsider Music

On this episode of the podcast, we take a look at Outsider Music, recordings by iconoclastic and unique creative voices whose naive craft channels passionate music-making. Using Songs in the Key of Z: the Curious Universe of Outsider Music by Irwin Chusid as starting point, this episode features some of the most unexpected and distinct music you'll ever hear. 

Playlist for this episode:

  1. Florence Foster Jenkins - Aria, ‘Queen of the Night’ (1944)
  2. Conlon Nancarrow - Study for Player Piano No. 21 (1961)
  3. Elva (Mrs.) Miller - A Hard Day’s Night (1966)
  4. Wild Man Fischer - Merry Go Round (1968)
  5. Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Paralyzed (1968) & Standing in a Trash Can (Thinking About You) (1989)
  6. The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World & My Pal Foot Foot (1969)
  7. Shooby Taylor - Stout Hearted Men (1972)
  8. Luie Luie - El Touchy (1974)
  9. Gary Wilson - 6.4 = Make Out & Loneliness (1977)
  10. Jandek - They Told Me I Was a Fool (1978)
  11. Daniel Johnston - Walking the Cow (1983)
  12. The Frogs - I Don’t Care If U Disrespect Me (Just So You Love Me) (1988)
  13. Wesley Willis - Rock n Roll McDonald’s (1995)
  14. Bingo Gazingo - Up Your Jurassic Park (1997)
  15. Eilert Pilarm - Jailhouse Rock (1998)