Sometimes, production and arrangements are everything to channel a song’s potential. And sometimes, compositions that did not get a chance to shine initially, or simply were not that great, find a second opportunity to become epic.
I am not talking about cover songs that, while simply maintaining strong similarity to the original, happened to be more successful in the charts; but versions that have radically changed a composition and have done so for the better. These are what I call mutant songs. What other songs do you consider mutant?
Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes
Originally by Jackie DeShannon
While recording her sixth album, Mistaken Identity, Kim Carnes planned on releasing a cover of Jackie DeShannon's track. It was her keyboard player who came up with that insane riff that made this song Carnes' biggest hit to date, and one of the most recognisable tunes from the early eighties.
Ayo Technology by Milow
Originally by 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
Belgian singer-songwriter Milow stripped 50 Cent's Hip Hop track down into a more folky and soulfoul sound that resonated all across Europe and, in fact, was more successful in this continent.
Midnight Train by Gladys Knight & the Pips
Originally Midnight Plane To Houston by Jim Weatherly
Knight's 1973 smash hit (and one of the finest soul tunes from the decade) was originally released as Midnight Plane To Houston by its creator, Jim Weatherly, who came up with the song following a conversation with Farrah Fawcett. Weatherly tried to convince Knight and the Pips about re-recording the song slightly altering their lyrics to fit them better. Weatherly asked Cissy Houston to record a demo, which was surely approved by the group. The rest is history.