Track of the Day: 'If I Were a Carpenter' by The Four Tops

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

Reader Steve picks a song were covered several months with a gospel-tinged cover from Bob Seger:

A true classic is The Four Tops’ interpretation of Tim Hardin’s “If I Were a Carpenter.” The Motown arrangement of instruments seems like a precursor to Philip Glass, overlaid with the Tops’ wonderful “ooooHHHHs” and Levi Stubbs contrasting lead vocal.

Two other notable versions are from Johnny Cash and Bobby Darin, and the latter’s reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Hardin, the song’s creator, would go on to perform it at Woodstock three years later.

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