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May 1, 2010 7:31 PM   Subscribe

Bridge Over Troubled Water For a lot of years I've been listening to simon and garfunkle sing this song... I think I've finally found someone that does it better... Aretha...
posted by HuronBob (43 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll raise you a Quincy Jones

And, Aretha is indeed awesome
posted by the noob at 7:47 PM on May 1, 2010


I tend to like Johnny Cash's and Fiona Apples version
posted by razorian at 7:53 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Aretha does everything better.

What I wouldn't give to have a voice like hers, one that is a big sexy squall rather than a soft little alto. Sigh.
posted by orange swan at 7:54 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recently got turned on to her Live at Fillmore West album, recorded in '71, which has a fantastic take on this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:55 PM on May 1, 2010


My favorite version
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


of anything
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Cash version is interesting... thanks... I'm starting to think he's covered most everything...

Reminds me of The Man Comes Around... his later stuff had a gravel quality (even more so than his earlier music) that really draws you into the music...

Ironically I started this evening listening to a Cash video... doing a song with Michael Parks (of Bronson fame)...
posted by HuronBob at 8:03 PM on May 1, 2010


Aretha does everything better.

Quoted for truth. I mean, for example, Dionne Warwick's original version of Bacharach/David's I Say a Little Prayer for You is nice and all, if you like that vibe, but Aretha took it to that higher plane of soul. Made it soar.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:10 PM on May 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Your Saturday Nite Soul

Sunday morning for some of us, Bob.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:12 PM on May 1, 2010


It's much better as a gospel song. Anyway, Aretha could sing the phone book and it'd be nothing less than awe-inspiring.
posted by blucevalo at 8:12 PM on May 1, 2010


Surely Aretha did actually sing the phone book at some point, no?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 PM on May 1, 2010


extrapolate that timezone stuff flapjax...
posted by HuronBob at 8:21 PM on May 1, 2010


make your post titles reflect the reality that this is an international website Bob...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:23 PM on May 1, 2010


also note: it's Garfunkel.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:27 PM on May 1, 2010


duly noted flapjax....
posted by HuronBob at 8:27 PM on May 1, 2010


on both points
posted by HuronBob at 8:28 PM on May 1, 2010


Aretha previously*.

*complete with enough dead-link YT takedowns to remind everyone: if you wanna see it again, download it. YouTube clips, unlike diamonds, are not forever.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:32 PM on May 1, 2010


BTW, "Bridge..." won three Grammys in 1971, including "Song of the Year" for Paul Simon.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 8:40 PM on May 1, 2010


flapjax: but Aretha took it to that higher plane of soul. Made it soar.

Nthing that thought.
posted by timsteil at 9:00 PM on May 1, 2010


I don't like "Bridge" as a song much (although of course it's true that Aretha can sing anything and make it good) but I know that I fall in love with her every single time I watch this video.
posted by koeselitz at 9:09 PM on May 1, 2010


I remember reading that Paul Simon liked Aretha's version better. Now if I could remember where I read that.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 9:26 PM on May 1, 2010


Three Aretha Franklin concerts recorded @ Fillmore West in 1971 can be streamed -- free -- off of this page on Wolfgangs Vault page...
posted by dancestoblue at 9:39 PM on May 1, 2010


I continue to believe that any single note from any single song by Aretha outweighs the entire combined careers of the yodeling, look-how-many-different-notes-I-can-cram-into-a-single-second divas and idols that the kids are into today. Partly because I'm an old fogey, but mainly because the aforementioned Aretha would pwn them into oblivion just by clearing her throat.
posted by uosuaq at 9:42 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shit -- I'll see your Aretha-subbing-for-Simon-and-Garfunkel, and raise you an Aretha-subbing-for-Luciano-Pavaroti.

I have no idea what prompted that line of thought when the people in charge at the '98 Grammys had Pavarotti drop out at the last minute -- "Who can we get to replace him....how about Aretha?" But damned if it didn't work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aretha Franklin and Duane Allman - The Weight
posted by Sailormom at 9:44 PM on May 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thank you. I was enduring a sad day even though the sun was out. This song turned it around.
posted by emhutchinson at 10:42 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aretha Franklin and Duane Allman - The Weight

Thanks for linking to that, Sailormom. Lots of folks are unaware that Duane did session work before the Allman Brothers Band emerged. It's a shame he died so young.

Another fabulous version of The Weight, featuring The Band plus The Staple Singers. Mavis Staples just sends shivers with that deep soulful delivery.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:32 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Perhaps bearing out Simon's greatest fears, most of the cover artists are the light-entertainment crew, attracted as ever to a warm sentiment gently expressed, but also to what the song offers in the way of a work-out or challenge—the assault on Mount Garfunkel. Why do they do it? Because it's there. Tom Jones, Andy Williams, Shirley Bassey, Nana Mouskouri—each has headed for the summit, coming on all dreamy and comforting in the foothills and ascending with various degrees of smoothness to wax noisy and masterful in the third verse. It is the choirboy Aled Jones who gets closest to Garfunkel's unstrained purity (Best of Aled Jones, BBC, 1985), but as his voice hadn't broken when he made his attempt, he may have to be disqualified for cheating.

"But vocal heavyweights, too, have gone for the song. Paul Simon said, directly after its composition, that he could hear Aretha Franklin singing it and Franklin's 1971 recording (Aretha's Greatest Hits, Atlantic) makes a different kind of music altogether, hearing those gospel traces in the tune and lyrics and pursuing them hard. Itself a Top 10 American hit and a Grammy winner, her version glows like a devotional candle.

"Elvis Presley, meanwhile, was in a position to go either way with the song: much to Simon's disappointment, what the King delivered on Magic Moments was more Andy Williams than Aretha Franklin. 'It was in his Las Vegas period and done with conventional thinking: it kind of imitated the Simon and Garfunkel record. He sang it well, but it would have been nice to hear him do it gospel because he did so many gospel albums and was a good white gospel singer. It would have been nice to hear him do it that way, take it back - as opposed to the big ending; he seemed to end everything with a karate chop and an explosion. So he didn't really add anything to the song. It's not nearly as significant as the Aretha Franklin recording. It's just a pleasure for me that Elvis Presley recorded one of my songs before he died.'"
From The Independent's "Lives of the Great Songs." I am partial to the versions by Roy Orbison and this fantastic Japanese cover duo.

posted by ecmendenhall at 12:29 AM on May 2, 2010 [2 favorites]




Paul Simon said, directly after its composition, that he could hear Aretha Franklin singing it

The chord progression at the phrase "When tears are in..." is the same that opens (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. It's very much her style, and she sure as hell showed what style that was in her version. A good cover artist takes the material and makes it their own. Aretha could do that like no other. Plus watching her play piano is a special treat.

Her version of The Weight just proves that more songs need the Atlantic R&B treatment. There's drama at the end of the chorus. While I love The Band's way of building the harmonies and holding it, as well as their slower hymn style, Aretha's drama is no less powerful or moving.

This is awesome MetaFilter.
posted by Spatch at 2:16 AM on May 2, 2010


On that number, give me The Band...but then we all have our likes and prefers and that is why we are what we are even without Rush Limburger or Glenn Beckerhead to tell us what to do, be, like.
posted by Postroad at 4:33 AM on May 2, 2010


I cannot find it, but I'm sure I've heard an oddly appalling cover by Sinatra - as if no one told him to pay attention to the mood.

I recall him turning the line "...Sail on Silver Girl" into a jaunty, almost finger-snapping croon - like a comment on a cute older dame leaving a bar!

The (then only just released) Simon & Garfunkel version was played at my father's funeral in 1971 (car accident) when I was a kid. So for years - though I cherished the song - I had to leave the room when I heard the opening bars.

God - now I'm remembering. I was later told that the lyrics were - sub rosa -really about heroin addiction. I didn't question this, but listened very carefully & was convinced that was indeed the case. Oddly, it freed me to start hearing the song again without choking up about my dad.

(That's quite enough random thoughts, I think!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:40 AM on May 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not drug addiction Jody; it's Jesus. Bridge over troubled water is a common play on John chapter 14 and 16. It is the one believers in the apocatastasis have to sneak around--nobody gets to the father but by me & everybody else burns in hell.

The sentiment behind the lyric is trouble indeed.
posted by bukvich at 6:11 AM on May 2, 2010


Aretha Franklin and Duane Allman - The Weight

Never realized that was Duane -- thanks. How come everyone who covers that song skips the "Wait a minute Chester" verse? I love singing that line!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:13 AM on May 2, 2010


It's not drug addiction Jody; it's Jesus...

Thanks (& great comment, bukvich!) I should have said that I know I was terminally gullible back then.
(Still am, but I try to keep quieter about it.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:12 AM on May 2, 2010


I'm exactly at the right age that I heard Aretha sing it before I heard Simon and Garfunkle sing it.
posted by acrasis at 7:57 AM on May 2, 2010


Buck Owens cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:06 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's great! Gawl danged good piano playing too. I didn't know that about her.

But I do have to say that Dion Warwick's performances on all those early Bacharach songs left nothing to be desired. They were great. Tons of soul without taking liberties with the melodies and phrasing.
posted by Trochanter at 8:27 AM on May 2, 2010


Sorry, I guess it's Dionne. She's added and dropped so many letters over the years...
posted by Trochanter at 8:29 AM on May 2, 2010


Aretha does indeed have a marvelous voice. However, it saddens me that she thinks so little of her fans and her, y'know, JOB, that she would cancel her appearance at Jazz Fest (again!) fewer than 12 hours before she was scheduled. She was probably the artist I was most looking forward to.
posted by Night_owl at 9:34 AM on May 2, 2010


Well Jody and Bukvich, the simple elegance of this song lends itself to infinite interpretation. If there were more than the 150 or so words, it might be less ambiguous in its meaning.
posted by ambulocetus at 9:58 AM on May 2, 2010


> Mavis Staples just sends shivers with that deep soulful delivery

Indeed -- I literally got shivers down my neck hearing her sing that. Thanks.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2010


Aretha does indeed have a marvelous voice. However, it saddens me that she thinks so little of her fans and her, y'know, JOB, that she would cancel her appearance at Jazz Fest (again!) fewer than 12 hours before she was scheduled. She was probably the artist I was most looking forward to.

Night_owl, Aretha may be only 68, but she's gone way beyond "mere" morbid obesity at this point, and not doing too well in health. I saw her in concert 2-3 years ago - her backup singers had to finish her notes (skillfully done), she was only on-stage for about 20-30 minutes of the "hour" she performed, and, frankly, I'm amazed to find out she's only 68.

I'm betting she didn't know until 12 hours before showtime that she couldn't perform. I have no proof, of course, but that's my guess.

Sadly, I wouldn't give her another 3 years, if I were a betting man. Now, where's my daily stock-pick guide...
posted by IAmBroom at 3:06 PM on May 2, 2010


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