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Cover Art: I Got You Babe
I apologize in advance to my fan(s) who rightly expect(s) a design post from me, but I'm a bit obsessed this week about a couple of early 1980's cover versions of the 1964 Sonny and Cher mega-hit "I Got You Babe." Covering this song was something of a cottage industry in the early 1980's, with versions by UB40 with Chrissy Hynde, and by R.E.M. My Facebook and terra firma friend Jayne Michaels, of 2Michaels Design fame, uploaded a live performance from 1980 by David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull. I watched it, and agreed that it rocked, but I countered with a Youtube video of the version recorded in 1982 by Joey Ramone and Holly Beth Vincent, of Holly and the Italians, that I remembered from my college days, and that frankly kicks a$%.
So, the question I put to you is: Bowie/Faithfull or Joey/Holly? Visually, both videos are a treat. Bowie and Faithfull were cultural icons and fashion leaders from back in the 1960's, both are beautiful here, though Marianne looks a bit like the flying nun on heroin and Bowie looks a bit like Marianne Faithfull in a better dress. Holly Vincent was a punk phenom just hitting her mark in 1982 and Joey was Joey. The Holly/Joey video shows a succession of still images that present an edgier chic than Bowie/Faithfull, but one that in 1982 was probably more culturally or counter-culturally of-the-moment.
The early 1980's was a good time for all four performers. Bowie released Scary Monsters in 1980; Let's Dance would come out in '83. Faithfull recorded her comeback album, Broken English, in 1979. The Ramones were in full stride, and Holly's debut album, The Right to be Italian, came out in 1982. All four either lived or hung out in New York, and likely crossed paths regularly at CBGBs (Holly opened for Blondie and the Ramones) and in any number of bedrooms.
Sonny and Cher may not have travelled the same paths, but I Got You Babe is a pretty darn good power pop song. Bowie and Faithfull take it in a down-tempo direction, Joey and Holly in a more up-tempo direction. Befitting their temperaments and experience, Bowie and Faithfull sing somewhat elegiacally and ironically, while Joey and Holly go private parts to the wall. So, again, Bowie/Faithfull or Joey/Holly? My pick? Can you say 1-2-3-4?