Instances where re-recording a hit actually pays off and inproves the song.

Blazer

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"When I look back on recording it, I wonder 'Why did we do it?' the original is the best version."
- Paul Stanley on when Kiss re-recorded "Strutter" for their "Double Platinum" album


So, yeah it's an unwritten rule that you shouldn't re-record old hits in an effort to improve upon them because it NEVER works.

Well maybe not never.

The Selecter are a Ska band from Conventry and part of the famous Two-Tone label. "On my radio" being their biggest hit.

But it's also very clear that the Two Tone label was very much a DIY affair as the recording itself sounds rather ramschackle.

The band quickly went back into the studio and did another version.

Which sounds slicker but it lost that raw edge of the original.

Fast forward to 1991, the Selecter got back together, signed a deal with Chrysalis records and decided to re-record "on my radio" for the third time, but this time making full use of the improvements in technology that the early nineties provided.

And yeah, the song sounds tighter, it has the energy of the live version, it improved on the original.
 
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0SubSeanik0

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Funny that you mention this topic, because I went down a rabbit hole of sorts this weekend.

I was watching Yola on Austin City Limits... She was pretty good. I enjoyed her music, liked her presence, but was only casually listening while wandering the internet on my phone. Then she did a version of Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road that really got my attention. Loved it... So much so that I paused ACL so I could listen to EJ's original on YouTube to compare (was her version better, or do I just like that song more than I realized?). I think her version was outstanding in comparison.

The YouTube results list also showed a live version by Sara Bareilles, who I've often thought is either massively under-rated, or at least her level of notoriety is disproportionate to her talents. I watched this and was completely blown away. She took it to another universe altogether. Later I read that many have copied her version since, and that EJ himself says she made it better.

None of this is the type of music I'm particularly drawn to, but it's great music. I shared this discovery with a good friend of mine who is a Sara B fan (she actually models a lot of her writing and singing on her style) and just basically rolled her eyes at me like, well yeah of course (lol).

Enjoy!



 

loopfinding

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not really a "hit" (they didn't release a single-single until sweetness and light) but the redo of thoughtforms by lush on mad love i think is better, and fits in more with the "powerful wash" aesthetic of the other tracks on scar. the original is really flat, sounds like a demo, and sticks out like a sore thumb on that record.



 
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kuch

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I don't know if it's an improvement or just as good but one of my favorites is:

Stormy: Atlanta Rhythm Section/Classics IV

I'm sure I'll think of others.....
 

Tall-Fir

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I just want to mention the recording of “Someday Soon“ by Suzy Bogguss. The song was recorded several times previously by artists such as Ian Tyson who wrote the song, Judy Collins who had a major pop hit with it, and even Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley of country fame. Suzy’s version was a major country hit and an impeccable performance. It launched her very successful solo career which is still rolling along. Great recording.
 

tery

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I like the Whitney Houston version of I will Always Love You better than the Dolly Parton version.

 




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