Track of the Day: 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine' by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A reader pivots from yesterday’s TotD pick, “Proud Mary”:

Speaking of Ike and Tina’s cover of a CCR tune, I nominate the CCR cover of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” It is one of the few covers where the cover is better than the original. Marvin’s version is more tortured and “whiny.” CCR took that and made it menacing by doing it in a minor key. The “oooohh” to begin the song is telling the guy who messed with his woman to better watch out.

Our reader then highlights “several other favorite covers, where I think the covers are better than the original”:

Clapton’s version of “I Shot the Sheriff.” The Wailers make the part of the original Marley version sucky; them coming in with the “but I did not kill the deputy” just kills the song.

SRV’s version of “Superstition,” where he does all the Synthesizer parts of Stevie Wonder’s original on a guitar.

Hendrix’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower.” Even crotchety old Bob agrees with this.

Aretha’s version of “Respect.” I love, love, love Otis Redding, but Ms. Franklin just kills it. She takes a whiny ass song and makes it a feminist anthem.

Just my 3 cents.

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(Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)