In Da Club

Go pony! It's you're birthday!

Go pony! It’s you’re birthday! (Art Credit: Alex Makovsky, I’d assume)

It’s time to wake up and enjoy another fabulous Monday morning!  I hope you saved enough room after that big breakfast for your weekly dose of musical java that is the next blood pumping song in The Nest’s Top 30 Cover Songs of All Time countdown.  DJ Scratchy is all over anything that has a good beat and can be danced to, so for once, she’s bright horned and bushy maned to be presenting the third best song in this tribute to second chances.  Up and at ’em, Sponkies, it’s time for a little dancing calisthenics!

top30covers

#3. “Never Can Say Goodbye” – The Communards

Forty-five long years ago, a songwriter named Clifton Davis composed a little number for Diana Ross and The Supremes about how hard it is to let a lover go.  Motown decided at the last minute that it might sound better if a 12 year old prepubescent boy sang it instead.  So it was Michael Jackson and his brothers who had the honor of being the first to turn the song “Never Can Say Goodbye” into a hit in 1971.  I managed to go the majority of my life without knowing this Jackson Five abomination even existed, and sadly, forgetting about it isn’t as easy as ABC…

You got a problem with my singing, punk? Teehee! (crotch grab)

You got a problem with my singing, punk? Teehee! (crotch grab)

Three years later, Gloria Gaynor covered “Never Can Say Goodbye,” and turned it into one of the first big disco hits… literally, in a way.  When the very first Billboard Dance/Disco chart debuted in 1974, “Goodbye” was its very first number one song.  This is definitely better than what Michael and the boys did, although it’s also one half of what makes Gaynor one of those odd paradox artists… since in her other best known song, she didn’t seem to have any qualms at all about saying goodbye, boy…

And sorry, everyone. But as much as I love Cake's original hits, their covers blow.

And sorry, everyone. But as much as I love Cake’s original hits, their covers blow icing chunks.

Leave it to the 80’s to take what disco started and make it even better.  The short-lived British dance pop band The Communards made a career out of turning old disco standards into songs you could really shake a leg to, and their 1987 version of “Never Can Say Goodbye” is impossible not to get up and dance to…

The Communards seem to be the epitome of what someone I know who liked to poke fun at my musical tastes once referred to as a “fruity English club band” that the 80’s were rife with.  Lead singer Jimmy Somerville was a very vocal activist for gay rights way back before that became the cool thing to do.  Naturally, one of the most effective ways to teach people who thought Boy George was the devil that sexual orientation doesn’t matter is to shoot a video where your band is practically flaunting a completed checklist of negative gay stereotypes.

While watching the video, can you spot the most masculine member of The Communards?

Nope.

Nope.

Nuh-uh.

Nuh-uh.

Uhhhhhhhh, no.

Not. Even. Close.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Annie Lennox for the win!

Ding! Ding! Ding! Annie Lennox for the win!

Given the mass sexual identity crises that are on display in this video, I would actually nominate it as perhaps the most reverse gendered music video of the entire MTV era.  And if you lived through that time of The Eurythmics and Twisted Sister, you know that’s quite a statement indeed!

What's your point, squirrellyboi?

What’s your point, squirrellyboi?

None at all, other than if the music’s good, who cares what the performers look like or do backstage.  Just don’t expect us to turn a queer blind eye to your flamboyant ways as you bombard our television screens with limp wristed jazz hands.  You may be different, but like everyone else, you’re still mockable…

Next stop, Kim Davis' office.

Next stop, Kim Davis’ office.

The greatest cover song of all time is getting so close you can almost smell the stench emanating from it!  But we’ll have to unveil our number two first, and it doesn’t fit in with almost anything I’ve featured so far.  See you next Monday for the surprise penultimate song of the cover song countdown!

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Cover Song Countdown and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to In Da Club

  1. I liked the communards and I liked Jimmy’s band Bronski Beat, his voice was special and different from the common disco po(o)p-soup. But I was shocked as I saw Pete Burns from Dead or Alive a couple of months ago… I couldn’t believe that this was the guy whose poster gazillions of girls kissed efurry night… (bizarrely the same girls who were in love with Limahl later)

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I was going to make a joke about if this was the same Clifton Davis as the star of “That’s My Mama” and “Amen!” but then it turns out…it is the same guy.

    Things I learned today, right?

    Please tell me that one of the top two songs is by New Order, OK?

    • Well, I’ll tell you that if it will make you happy. I’m afraid you might be in for a couple of Blue Mondays, though… 😦

      Actually, I am only aware of three New Order songs, and none of them so far as I know was a cover.

      • NotAPunkRocker says:

        Ah, but one was covered by another band, so…

        Well, I guess there is next time.

      • Oh, on the other side. I think I remember hearing a cover version of Blue Monday once, but don’t remember who did it….

        I am already contemplating my next countdown I’ll probably begin sometime next year. No, it will not the “The Top 30 Most Annoying Earworms Of All Time”… though it will include plenty of truly terrible songs! 😀

  3. Trisha says:

    Never heard of the Communards before. But I guess if I had to listen to disco, I would choose their covers of it. That had to be much better than the versions that came before it.

    • I had never heard of them until VH1 Classic came on the air in 2002 and they showed nonstop older videos. Their other well known disco cover is of Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, which is good, but not as epic as “Never Can Say Goodbye”…

  4. Ohhh a nice walk down memory lane. And speaking of walking down something…
    The nice thing about squirrels, unlike Kim Davis, is that they do their jobs. They earn their nuts, but Ms Davis is nuts.

    • I would love to see the look on her face if ES and Buster walked in looking for a license. Same sex AND interspecies… she would probably end up meeting her Maker, who might not be who she thinks it is…

  5. Ladybuggz says:

    I was a child (legal) of the Annie Lennox and Boy George phase, I worked with, hung out and lived with a few of those limp wristed sexes, (why I don’t know, I am straight as an arrow) I think it was the music, they had all this cool underground stuff, I fell in love with the music. My fav was ” Upstairs at Eric’s” , ever heard of it? check it out! Oh, and I agree about that worker who refused to do her job should meet her maker( the grey ones with black almond eye’s!) lmao!!

    • I love a lot of the music from those “fruity English club bands!” “Upstairs at Eric’s” is Yaz, I believe. While I’m not into albums, I do love hearing the singles on the radio and watching the videos (back when MTV was MTV!), and I love both “Situation” and “Don’t Go” from Yaz!

  6. Definitely the best version. Love the dancing! 😀

  7. Up here in the Adirondacks, this all seems blessedly meaningless … and the quiet is sooooo nice. Miss you. Home in a week or so.

  8. markbialczak says:

    Since you didn’t put Gloria’s big-balled version up for the vote, Bill, I’ll go with … The Communards! You betcha I like Jimmy’s grown-up feminine voice in a more appropriate love-song take than Michael’s on this one. And I was going to say before your big reveal that the most masuline member of the band is the woman in the string section. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all. Finally, for the awesomeness of the video, I’d have loved to see a cut to the dancing scene with Kevin Bacon and the fatter Penn brother (RIP) from “Footloose.” That would have been awesome! They have the same moves anyway.

    • Surprise, surprise, surprise! I do admit, I wasn’t sure you’d be a fan of either of the previous two versions, but I’m still shocked you sided with the club band! Kevin Bacon would be right at home dancing with all of those extras… plus, it would make the Six Degrees of Separation game even easier…

  9. lol The Communards version was by far the best. I was lucky enough to see them in concert in Belfast in the Opera House, everyone was on their feet and dancing, so much so that they had to stop the concert and ask everyone to move back or the orchestra pit was going to collapse lol
    By far and away the best opening to any song guaranteed to always put a smile on my face is their ‘You are my world’. Soo umm yeah, thanks to you also for putting a smile on my face, ahhh the memories 🙂

  10. draliman says:

    The Communards and Bronski Beat were awesome back in the day! We used to play their songs in the Sixth Form common room.

    • I had to consult a US/UK translator (Probably the same one Clark Griswold used on European Vacation!) to figure out where Sixth Form places on the educational timeline. Your comment struck me as funny at first since my sixth grade class had a stereo that contributed to my love of the earworms of that day, but I see sixth form is way past where our sixth grade is!

      Neither band was well known on this side of the Atlantic for some reason. Were it not for VH1-Classic, I wouldn’t be familiar with either of Jimmy Somerville’s bands…

      • draliman says:

        Sorry, I should have explained! In fact I’m not sure it’s even called “Sixth Form” any more. We switched to a “Year n” designation some time ago.
        If you can find them, the Communards songs “So Cold the Night” and “Don’t Leave Me This Way” are well worth a listen.

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