Cover Versions

Gary: “Well Freddy, this is something that you never had to live through but Russ and I did.  In the very early days of Rock and Roll the larger companies with better distribution would take a successful R&B song and make it squeaky clean and white and out-distribute.  There was a Toronto group “The Crew Cuts” who sold more records than the original and the best example was “Sh-Boom” by the Chords.  The Crew Cuts became huge stars and did a lot of Ed Sullivan work.  In the early days Ed liked the clean white image.  We teenagers dug around and did eventually find the originals, but here in Toronto it was difficult.

Little Richard recorded for a small but great label called Specialty but there was another label called Dot and they specialized in cover versions.   You can be the judge:

Pat Boone, educated, devout Christian, discovered by Arthur Godfrey, good looking and had a good voice, but not for R&B.  He would eventually find his niche around ’57 with “Love Letters in the Sand“, “April Love” and so on, but not the great soul of R&B.  I bought both versions, Boone because it was the first one available, but once I found the originals I never went back.

He is supposed to be descended from the great frontiersman, Daniel Boone.

Most of the cover versions happened in the 1955/56 time frame. The first one that I ever heard, “Ain’t That A Shame” by Fats and Pat… no comparison… for me, Fats all the way!


Fats Domino – Ain’t That A Shame
Pat Boone – Ain’t That A Shame (1956)
The Flamingos – I’ll Be Home
Pat Boone – I’ll Be Home (1956)
Little Richard – Tutti Frutti
Pat Boone – Tutti Frutti
Little Richard – Long Tall Sally
Pat Boone – Long Tall Sally
The El Dorados – At My Front Door
Pat Boone – At My Front Door


One response to “Cover Versions

  1. Hi Gary
    That was all great stuff about the Covers and I entirely agree with you. I hesitate to admit it but there was a time when I was actually collecting Pat Boone records. I had not heard the originals of the songs he was “smearing” so I didn’t know any better. It was “Aint That A Shame” that I liked the most, mainly because of band background with accents in the piece; e.g. “… you made … [bomp bomp] … me cry … [bomp bomp] … when you said … [bomp bomp] … good-bye …”. Great subject matter; keep it coming.
    – Russ

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