By Justin Myers
Every week we ask for Pop Gems, those tracks that were a big deal back in the day, but have been overshadowed and fallen off pop’s radar.
This week, we wanted cover versions, songs that were either hits for or recorded by somebody else way before the version everybody knows and loves. Which secondhand songs were your Pop Gems?
It was tough, but we finally settled on 12 of the great and the good.
|SATURDAYS||JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH||2||2009|
|KLAXONS||IT'S NOT OVER YET||13||2007|
|MARK RONSON FT LILY ALLEN||OH MY GOD||8||2007|
|FREEMASONS FT BAILEY TZUKE||UNINVITED||8||2007|
|NO DOUBT||IT'S MY LIFE||17||2004|
|KELLY LLORENNA||TELL IT TO MY HEART||9||2002|
|ALL SAINTS||UNDER THE BRIDGE||1||1998|
|PET SHOP BOYS||GO WEST||2||1993|
|SAINT ETIENNE||ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART||39||1991|
|CYNDI LAUPER||I DROVE ALL NIGHT||7||1989|
|TRACEY ULLMAN||THEY DON'T KNOW||2||1983|
It was, as ever, a toughie, but after much chin-scratching, we picked It’s My Life, No Doubt’s 2003 cover of the Talk Talk song. Watch the frankly brilliant video for It’s My Life before we explain exactly why it had to be Gwen and the gang.
American pop-rockers No Doubt – and in particular frontwoman Gwen Stefani – were credible, crazy and always worth a listen. They were one of the most unpredictable pop groups you might ever hope to hear music from. You never really knew what style they were going to try next.
It was rocky ballad Don't Speak that elevated them to stardom, but they were never afraid to try something different. There are about five tunes we could have picked from their back catalogue as Pop Gems, but it’s covers week and this is the one that was suggested! So here we go.
It’s My Life was originally recorded by slightly odd, but very cool, British group Talk Talk in 1984. On first release, it made little impression, failing to reach the Top 40. It was released again in 1985 but again didn’t manage to attract any attention. It was only a third release in 1990 that helped the song make it to Number 13.
As No Doubt were preparing to release a greatest hits package following their decision to go on hiatus – and for Gwen Stefani to go solo and release some very amazing tunes all by herself – they decided to record a new song to promote it.
The band chose to cover Talk Talk’s hit and the rest is history. As is tradition with this song, It’s My Life charted more than once – first it peaked at Number 20 in late 2003, before being repackaged with the track Bathwater and rereleased in 2004, making it a little further to Number 17. It’s sold 95,000 copies in the UK.
Watch Talk Talk’s original version. Quite something, isn’t it?
No Doubt scored 10 Top 40 hits in the UK between 1996 and 2004, including three Top 10s and that very famous Number 1, Don’t Speak. Their first hit was Just A Girl, which peaked first at Number 38. It was only after Don’t Speak spent three weeks at Number 1 that Just A Girl was rereleased and became a Number 3 hit.
Don’t Speak is their best selling single, with over 980,000 copies sold. Whoa.
Their other Top 10 hit was 2002’s Hey Baby. Over on the Official Albums Chart, they claim two Top 10s – 1997’s Tragic Kingdom (3) and hits collection The Singles 1992–2003 (5).
A comeback in 2012 didn’t spawn any hit singles, but album Push And Shove did make the Top 20. This makes the emotional It's My Life their final hit in the UK.
Gwen, of course, has had considerable solo success: seven Top 10 singles and two Top 20 albums.
We have a feeling Gwen will be bagging a Pop Gem of her very own one day, but until she does, here’s her very first proper solo effort What You Waiting For – a Number 4 hit in 2004, selling over 240,000 copies.
If you delight in songs that have that old familiar feeling, avail yourself of our delightful video playlist of the 11 other songs we could've chosen, why don’t you?
Today's Pop Gem is the latest in a long line of amazing pop songs that have been inducted into our Pop Gem Hall Of Fame. Take a look at all the tracks who've received the honour so far
Got a Pop Gem of your own? Want to suggest a theme for another week? Find out how you can get involved in the Pop Gem party.Back