THE ORIGINAL: Doris Day (1956)
You may remember this song from the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, or the theme from The Doris Day Show. It’s essentially an upbeat punk rock waltz that clocks in at 2:05, brightly sung by Doris with a cheeky Italian/Spanish feel to it, due to the mandolins that blend nicely with the sweeping strings and the breathy male backing vocals.
The song is three little verses with a short bridge that sounds like pure sunshine. You can just picture Doris prancing around in a field of daisies with that huge smile on her face, freckles sparkling, blonde hair shimmering. You can’t help but be happy when you hear this, and because it’s so damned short, it won’t work your nerves or give you cavities from the sugary sweetness! I love it!
THE COVER: Sly and the Family Stone (1973)
This is classic Sly, taking an uplifting, bouncy waltz and turning it into a Church groove. The verses are sung by his sister Rose and he wails during the chorus. I’m really glad he let her sing the verses, because it sticks with the original intent of the song, which is a woman asking questions about three distinct phases of her life. At one point you can even hear Sly shout, “Sang Rose!” just like someone would in Church.
The arrangement follows the original, but it just oooooozes soul. It’s much slower and more waltz-like at 5:22 long, andinstead of the strings it has prominent Hammond B3, drums, guitar and bass. This is a great cover because it keeps the integrity of the original, but changes the whole vibe.
WHO DOES IT BETTER?
As much as I enjoy the sunshine of Doris Day’s original, I really dig the Sly cover better because of its stone groove. Listen to them back to back and you’ll feel them both and appreciate the differences.
NOW YOU DECIDE!