When It Comes To Being Lucky She's Cursed: Version V. Version
OH HELL YES.
Version v. Version (v. Version v. Version) RETURNS with a track that -- just like "The Tracks Of My Tears" -- is just, essentially, such an amazingly good song that it can sustain the interpretations of many different artists.
(Of course it should be noted that unquestionably the best version of this song is any sung with deep feeling on any karaoke stage anywhere.)
but for today, get ready
THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST.
The song: P.P. Arnold, "The First Cut is the Deepest"; 1967
It was first a minor hit for major cutie P.P. Arnold in this pretty full (and to be honest, somewhat typical) arrangement. But those drum hits in the beginning are, seriously, AWESOME.
At the same time there were The Koobas with this psych-pop-rock take on it:
Norma Fraser takes the distortion and adds some islandy zest (the first of many to do so, the amount of reggae covers of this song is truly astonishing):
Then Cat Stevens was like, hey, you know what, this song that I wrote is actually a pretty good song, maybe I should sing it myself and really get this tambourine going:
(Let me just pause here to note that these four versions were ALL released in 1967. I don't have anything in particular to say about that, but I sure do think it's notable.)
Then, in 1973, this version by Keith Hampshire reached number one in Canada (and as Wikipedia, with its never-failing tact, notes: "it also charted in the U.S., but outside the top 40"). I am going to try to maintain Wikipedia-style neutrality in presenting this Version v. Version, but MAN, can you not just SEE the crazy fireworks show that could accompany this recording??
Rod Stewart slowed it way down in 1977:
And then, in 2003, Sheryl Crow released the version that Amy Wilson would loudly sing along to whilst driving probably too fast down curvy suburban-Portland roads in her mom's Toyota minivan (that memory is so weirdly vivid):
If I had the audio skillz I would splice together a version of all of these where it highlighted each artists' delivery of the line "baby, I'll try to love again but I know:" because I think that's really where it all hinges.
But I don't have those audio skillz, and maybe that would not be as cool as I think it would be, but damn, who would NOT try to love again after hearing these songs?
If you will tell me which version you liked by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, I will very much appreciate it. And then maybe I can set you up with other people who like the same version. And then we can all dance at your wedding (metaphorically speaking).
(As to which version is my favorite: Would it give it away to say that there are few things I love more in this world than a really great tambourine line?)