THE ORIGINAL: Gloria Gaynor (1978)
You know this song.
You’ve danced to it in bars, at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and funerals. You’ve sung along to it in your car, while walking down the street, and in the gym when you’re about to pass out.
You’ve seen it on Sex and The City, The Simpsons, Glee, and I think a lost episode of The Andy Griffith Show. My point is, you know it cold. It’s probably the biggest disco anthem ever recorded, right next to “I’m Coming Out.”
From the opening piano part, to Gloria’s opening line that goes from sadness to triumph, you can’t help but be uplifted! Horns! Strings! Thumping bass line! It’s disco! It takes me right back to Studio 54 in all its glory.
THE COVER: Cake (1996)
I dig this version because it follows my rules of what makes a great cover. You’re not sure about the opening guitar riff because it seems familiar, but you’re thinking “Oh no way… is this what I think it is?”
And it is!
It follows the same arrangement, just a smidge slower and with guitars, drums and a fantastic Al Hirt style trumpet that replaces the sweeping strings in the middle of the song. Glorious stuff! And the stiff, jerky, staccato, white boy vocal really seals the deal here because it’s the polar opposite of the fun, soulful original.
WHO DOES IT BETTER?
I will say that the original is a big part of the soundtrack of my life, because of my age and the things I do for a living. Have I gotten sick of hearing it? Sure. But give me 10 minutes and I will listen again.
The cover really hits my switch, with just the right touch. It’s so strikingly different, I’m wondering where they got the genius idea to cover this song.
SO, IT’S A TIE!
Listen to them back-to-back a few times and then leave a comment. I think you’ll agree with me.
NOW YOU DECIDE!