One of the latest releases from Sublime Frequencies (previously mentioned on NoiseNarcs here) is a compilation of music recorded between 1966 and 1968 by Indonesian a-go-go band, Dara Puspita (Flower Girls), whom the writers at Sublime Frequencies somewhat audaciously declare to be “arguably the world’s greatest all-female garage rock band.” Feel free to argue in the comments.
Anyway, I was thinking about doing a post about them, but while doing some quick research on the group I came across their version of The BeeGees 1967 super-hit, “To Love Somebody.” So I decided instead to do a brief (and by no means exhaustive) round-up of some of my favorite remakes of that pop masterpiece.
In a sense, the song has no original version. Barry Gibb wrote the song for Otis Redding, who unfortunately died in a plane crash before it could be recorded. But take a moment to imagine what that would have sounded like. It sounds awesome in my imagination. Quite frankly, no other version could ever live up to it.
Nevertheless, we’ll commence with the song as recorded by the inimitable Brother’s Gibb:
The Bee Gees, “To Love Somebody”
Pretty excellent, but not really my favorite version. With the exception of the opening verse, gently sung by Robin Gibbs (I believe), something about it seems a bit too precise, perhaps a bit overproduced with the soaring strings, French horns and fade-out.
Next, from what is probably her most commercial album, 1969’s To Love Somebody, here’s Nina Simone:
Nina Simone, “To Love Somebody”
In my view, there’s little wrong that Nina Simone can do. This track and the rest of the popular covers on that album, while far from her best work, are no exception.
Now the much rougher Dara Puspita cut:
Dara Puspita, “To Love Somebody”
That is a lot of reverb, but it’s pretty sweet, don’t you think? Imagine 9-year-old Barry Obama on the playground in Jakarta wallowing in the heartbreak of his 4th grade crush with the help of this song. If you like it, then I highly recommend that you support Sublime Frequencies by paying them for an album. This track happens not to be on their Dara Puspita compilation, unfortunately, but they’re a solid outfit that collects really awesome music from all over the place.
Last but not least, Janis Joplin slows it down. Here’s a rendition where the horns really work. From I Got Dem Ol’ Kosmic Blues Again, Mama! (1969).
Janis Joplin, “To Love Somebody”
Have I left your favorite version out? Let me know in the comments.