By Chris Moore:
When Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (2010) was released, I instantly enjoyed the former Beach Boy’s interpretations of what I have read about as being classic tunes. However, I had no way to really judge them, as I had never heard any of the originals, save for the bonus track “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”
The more I listened to these cover versions, and despite how much I enjoy Brian Wilson’s current sound with his formidable bandmates, the more I became curious about the original versions. Thus, I embarked on a full afternoon of internet research and listening to samples via the iTunes store. My mission: to compile a playlist of the best original versions of these songs that Wilson chose to cover.
And that is exactly what follows below.
In each case, I determined which version is considered the earliest, best recording of the song. Of course, as I soon discovered, the Gershwin brothers didn’t record the songs themselves. In the custom of the time, they were the songwriters and there were others, performers, that would translate their writing to record.
Most of the performers below are people I have heard of, legendary performers in their time. However, I didn’t have music from any of them on my iPod. So, I downloaded these tracks from iTunes and have been listening to them as I prepare to write my review of Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin.
After all, it is difficult to comment on the reimagined cover versions when you haven’t heard the original imaginings of such musical greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Etta James.
So, for those who are interested, these are the songs that I would recommend you pick up if you’d like some insight into the mind of Brian Wilson. These are, most likely, some of the many versions that Wilson had heard before he added his touch to them. So, enjoy them, and tune in soon for my review of the covers, to be posted appropriately here on the best acoustic cover song music video blog in the universe.
1) “Summertime” – Billy Stewart (1989)
2) “I Loves You, Porgy” – Billie Holiday (1967)
3) “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” – Frank Sinatra (1957)
4) “It Ain’t Necessarily So” – Bobby Darin (1959)
5) “‘S Wonderful” – Gene Kelly (1951)
6) “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” – Fred Astaire (1937)
7) “Love Is Here to Stay” – Gene Kelly (1951)
8) “I’ve Got a Crush on You” – Ella Fitzgerald (1950)
9) “I Got Rhythm” – The Happenings (1969)
10) “Someone to Watch Over Me” – Etta James (1962)
11) “Rhapsody in Blue” – George Gershwin