Don Flamenco, five time lightweight champion of Dancing With the NES Characters.

Don Flamenco, five time lightweight champion of Dancing With the NES Characters.

It looks like Lunes…. er, I mean Monday is upon us again, and that means it’s time once again to open DJ Scratchy’s musical vault and pull out another muy beuno song for The Nest’s Top 30 Cover Songs countdown!  You don’t have to be Speedy Gonzalez to have noticed that there just may be a Latin flavor to this week’s post… so let’s break out the Doritos and fire up the mariachi band!  ¡Andale!


#25. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” – Santa Esmeralda

Shortly after The Beatles stormed their way into the hearts of America via The Ed Sullivan Show, numerous other UK bands began taking over our radio airwaves, and there wasn’t a thing our colonial army of disc jockeys could do to stop this British Invasion.  One of those groups that found success in the States in the mid 60’s was The Animals.

Yeah... I would say Animals was a pretty good description of the band.

Yeah… I would say Animals was a pretty good description of the band.

The Animals breakthrough hit was their version of “House of the Rising Sun,” which itself is actually a cover of an ancient folk song out of New Orleans.  Since Eric Burdon and his bunch brought that song into the spotlight in 1964, it has been one of the most covered songs in rock, with countless versions in nearly all genres to be found.  Despite me not being all that enamored with the iconic Animals version, none of the covers I’ve heard have really won me over either…

Sorry, Esteban.  You're not the Latin influence we seek.

Sorry, Esteban. You’re not the Latin influence we seek.

But The Animals had another hit that I like much better than “Rising Sun,” and that would be “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”  Of course, that would be the song that would get the awesome cover version in the disco-laden 70’s.

Everything sounds better with a disco beat!

Everything sounds better with a disco beat!

Santa Esmeralda was not one of Columbus’ ships, it was a French band that took classic songs and infused them with disco beats and Latin flavor.  Their first hit, and the only charting song they released with their original lead singer Leroy Gomez, was this awesome cover of “Misunderstood”…

Doesn’t that just want to make you get up and lambada?

On top of police cars, even!

On top of police cars, even!

In an effort to capitalize on what worked for them the first time, Santa Esmeralda followed up that hit by covering…. what else, “House of the Rising Sun.”  It sounds a lot like their previous attempt, just shittier.  Seriously, can anyone provide a take on this song without screaming like their microphone is broken?

Sing it, Howard Dean!!!

Sing it, Howard Dean!!!

Well, it’s time to go from fiesta to siesta.  Wake me up in 168 hours when it’s time to present the 24th greatest cover song of all time…

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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26 Responses to ¡Bailamos!

  1. I once covered “The House of The Rising Sun” with my friend for an audition. We thought we can sing and tried to join the band of her dad. He got tears in his eyes and I first thought, we touched his heart… but sadly we only touched his laughing muscle :o(

  2. Merbear74 says:

    La La Bamba.

  3. I liked “House of the Rising Sun” when it was a folk song and Joan Baez did it. Then everybody else did it. I never like any version of it after that because — IT’S A FOLK SONG. Never mind. Let’s not get picky picky. It’s Monday and the sun is shining. I do not need more than that. Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy … oh, wait, that’s a song too …

    • Rock and roll has hijacked a lot of components for itself, and I’m afraid it’s claimed “House of the Rising Sun” for its own now. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a fol version of it before, and there is no way it would sound right to me after hearing so many rock takes on it…

  4. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Reworking the Animals songs into disco is sacrilegious.

    Who else would be on Dancing with the NES Characters? Princess Daisy? Link? Samus? Excitebike dude?

    • Excitebike dude would totally win the slam dance competition… that guy was tough! Let’s add Simon Belmont, Pit, Dr. Wily and the White Mage from Final Fantasy to the card and make this series happen!

  5. The Cutter says:

    Of all Little Mac’s opponents, Flamenco was surely the sexiest

  6. JackieP says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. A French band, took a British group’s song and did it with a Latin flavor with a disco beat. Have I got that right? Now that’s some messed up stuff. The things I learn on this blog. 😉

  7. pishnguyen says:

    Aaaaaah! Flashback to my 70s childhood and my brother’s music collection. Good memories. I totally Lambada’d (?) with my dog. 😀

  8. markbialczak says:

    The Animals version kicks butt, Bill. But did you know the original version is by Nina Simone?

    • markbialczak says:

      Also, one of the coolest things I’ver seen in concert was the Blind Boys of Alabama singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the music of ‘House of the Rising Sun.’

    • Not bad…. certainly different from the versions I am familiar with. Funny how up until a month ago, I had never even heard of Nina Simone… then she was a clue in a crossword puzzle I worked on. I’ve already come across her names several times since then.. including when I was working on this post. And now, I have finally listened to her…

  9. Thom says:

    The Animals pulled off a pretty neat trick, covering a song that was originally sung from the point of view of a female, about her descent into despair as an employee of a “house of ill repute”, as they used to call it, and getting it played all over the 1964 airwaves and taking it to number 1.

    • While I was always aware “House of the Rising Sun” had a history prior to The Animals, I didn’t know until I researched this post that “Misunderstood” also preceded the band. Seems they were the masters of taking past songs and making them their own… so much so that they’re still the first act associated with them all these years later. If only Tiffany could have been so lucky…. 😉

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