Musical Monday: Cover songs #16

I’ve kicked off 2023 with a series of my favourite cover songs. It’s quite amazing how many artists cover one another’s songs. How about Al Green’s cover of the Bee Gees How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

The American soul singer Al Green turned a sad ballad I’ve previously featured by the brothers Gibb, taking the raw material of the original song and transforming it into something far more moving and searing. The key to his success is in the arrangement.

Working with longtime collaborator Willie Mitchell, Green pours on the soul with haunting strings – who doesn’t love that moment when they try to match the feeling of a light wind just after he sings, “I can still feel the breeze”? – a roiling organ line, and perfectly-used background singers. Through it all, Green sounds like he’s on his last legs, near defeat but with that small sliver of hope in his soul that’s keeping him crawling forward.

Which version do you prefer? Let me know below.

8 Comments on “Musical Monday: Cover songs #16

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