Rock Chain # 5: Cover versions and influences


This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it every first Friday of the month here at the blog.

All of us who are huge Rock fans recently regretted the retirement of singer Dan McCafferty. Dan is often quoted as a huge influence on Axl Rose and was the lead singer for Scottish rockers Nazareth.

Nazareth once recorded a killer version of Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight”. Joni is an enormous influence on the Wilson sisters from Heart, who even included a version of her song “River” in their The Road Home unplugged album.

The Road Home was all arranged by John Paul Jones, former Led Zeppelin bassist and close friend of both sisters. John Paul Jones, whose real name is John Baldwin, was also part of Them Crooked Vultures with Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters.

Dave Grohl, who is an enormous Beatles fan, performed a brilliant version of the Fab Four’s “Hey Bulldog” at the ceremony honoring 50 years of the boys from Liverpool first visit to the US.

“Hey Bulldog” had also one of the coolest versions in an album called Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute. In this album it was played by Alice Cooper.

Alice Cooper is hilariously depicted as an extremely educated person – which he actually is – in that priceless “We are not worth it” scene in Wayne’s World.

Wayne’s World also shows actress Tia Carrere as a Rock singer doing a great version of the immortal “Ballroom Blitz” from Sweet in the end.

Sweet who also had “Ballroom Blitz” covered by Swiss band Krokus and “Action” and “Blockbuster” covered by British countrymen Def Leppard.

Def Leppard who couldn’t be part of Rock In Rio in ’85 due to drummer Rick Allen’s accident that amputated his arm. Their spot was taken by Whitesnake.

Whitesnake whose singer David Coverdale recorded (unfortunately) only one album with the project Coverdale/Page alongside Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page, as we all know, formed Led Zeppelin from The Yardbirds who have an album called “Little Games” in a recently released collection called Original Album Series: Psychedelia.

This collection also features a band called Tomorrow which is the first band from Yes’ Steve Howe and in their album featured here there’s a song called “My White Bicycle”.

Do you know who also recorded “My White Bicycle”? Scottish rockers Nazareth.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

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