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Song of the Day: “You’re No Good”

It’s not that hard to see why there’s been a simmering level of dissatisfaction with and criticism of the appropriation of black music by white musicians in the United States…

You’re No Good” is a song written by Clint Ballard, Jr. which first charted for Betty Everett in 1963 and in 1975 was a #1 hit for Linda Ronstadt. (via Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Betty Everett, “You’re No Good” – from Beg, Scream & Shout!: The Big Ol’ Box Of 60’s Soul

Compare Everett’s soulful original with Linda Ronstadt’s version—a big hit when I was a kid and which I still remember vividly (listen here or here). Ronstadt is great and she tears it up—you can see why it was a huge hit for her, and it makes a great rock ballad. But I’ll take Everett’s version over it any day. That horn section and then that twangy guitar coming in, Everett’s soulful phrasing—it’s just more striking and original, for me, than the Ronstadt version.

So why is it Ronstadt’s version that was such a huge hit, and has stuck, while Everett has largely dropped off the radar?

Here’s Everett’s biggest hit, just to give you a sense of how great she was:“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in his Kiss)”. Girl groups—those were the days.

There is, at least, a little justice: Cher‘s cover of this Everett song was not a hit for her. I do appreciate the old school backup singers, but Cher just does it too big—she’s such a drama queen—and loses what is great about the song (and whose idea were those strings?).

For more…

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The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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