The Worst Remakes

I was listening to my Yahoo radio and the song Cutie Pie comes on. But it wasn’t One Way singing. No, it was Boys II Men. I had no idea that Boys II Men released an album last year. The Album is called “Throwback”. Here are the title tracks on the album. In parentheses are the original artists.

1. Let It Whip (The Dazz Band)
2. Let's Stay Together (Al Green)
3. What You Won't Do For ...
(Bobby Caldwell)
4. Cutie Pie (One Way)
5. Close The Door
(Teddy Pendergrass)
6. For The Love Of You
(The Isley Brothers)
7. Sara Smile (Hall & Oats)
8. Human Nature (Michael Jackson)
9. Time Will Reveal
10. I Miss You
11. You Make Me Feel Brand…
(The Stylistics)

Now, maybe this is a good album but I listed to 30 seconds of every song and I don’t think it’s worth a damn. The only remake that is reasonably good is Sara Smile. That is sad because we know that Boys II Men can sing, but this is not something they should have released. It reminds me of the time when New Edition put out an album called Blue Moon full of doo-wop songs.

Over the years I’ve heard a few groups make decent remakes. Intro did a very nice job to Stevie Wonder’s A Ribbon in the Sky. But mostly I’ve heard blunder after blunder. So let’s take a look at some of the worst remakes I’ve ever heard.

The Offender: Dru Hill
The Song: The Love We Had Stays On My Mind
The Original Artist: The Dells

This was a colossal failure. I know Sisqo has a decent voice but the earth-shattering vocals of Marvin Junior have not been duplicated to this day. Listen to the original. The intensity of the song is amazing. Dru Hill tried but they just fell way short. This is a song that folks should just leave alone.

The Offender: George Michael f/Mary J. Blige
The Song: As
The Original Artist: Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder songs are written in a way that if you are a good singer, you should be able to pull off a remake. There are several Stevie Wonder songs that folks should simply leave along and “As” is one of them. I could not believe how badly Mary J. Blige sounded on this song. She fell flat on every note and George Michael didn’t add anything to the mix. In the last verse Stevie Wonder turns his voice into a gritty preaching sounding way. Lawd if Mary didn’t sound like she was choking on a gecko. It is definitely one of the worst remakes I’ve ever heard. Note to all singers: Do not attempt to remake “As”, “I Wish” and “Living For the Love of the City”. They require a passion that only Stevie Wonder can bring.

The Offender: The Fugees
The Song: No Woman No Cry
The Original Artist: Bob Marley

I have to give it to the Fugees on this, at least they changed the lyrics to the song before the dragged it through a hot, smoking pile of feces. However, the result is still an onslaught on the cerebral cortex. I have the CD and I’ve listened to the song several times, but I can only appreciate it after I’ve listened to Bob Marley’s version a couple of hundred times. You would think they would have learned their lesson but then they turn around and trash Roberta Flak’s classic, Killing Me Softly. Ok, it wasn’t one of the worst remakes but they should stick to doing original music.

The Offender: Mint Condition
The Song: Make Me Say It Again Girl (Soundtrack Single)
The Original Artist: The Isley Brothers

This is another group (Isley Brothers) that should be left alone if you lack the vocal ability to do their songs any justice. Mint Condition is a great band but Stokley’s singing was suspect before they released this remake and was well pronounced afterwards. This has to go down as one of the worst remakes of a song in the history of music. And I’m going all the way back to the time when cavemen tapped sticks together to communicate. If the CIA is interested in torture then what they should do is play the original song to the detainees every day for a month. Then one day switch to Mint Condition’s version. Tell them that they will hear this song every hour on the hour until they reveal some Al Qaeda secrets. By the end of the second verse I’m sure we will have a better of idea of the location of Bin Laden.

The Offender: Mary J. Blige
The Song: I’m Going Down
The Original Artist: Rose Royce

This song isn’t that bad unless you are familiar with the original. I’m a big fan of Rose Royce and this is one of their biggest songs. So I’m biased towards the original. However, Mary’s vocal skills, while not bad, did fall short and the song lacks the soul of the original. I could add a couple more of Mary’s songs to the list since she has a fascination with Chaka Khan, but she is on the list twice and I think that is enough.



15 Responses to The Worst Remakes

  1. bold as love Says:
    Most of the artists you mention would have not passed Berry Gordy's cut- It's all studio work now- The music industry seeks out a certain look, or image and work their electronic magic on the weak-assed voices of the so-called artists they parade in front of the public- on the occaision some real talent shows up, there just isn't the strong songwriters out there like there used to be-

    When it comes to remakes, when done properly, the song becomes the song of the person who remade it- example: Jimi Hendrix-all along the Watch Tower- a Bob Dylan song that Jimi worked into his own personal masterpiece- Stevie Ray Vaughn- he took Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing and paid Jimi the ultimate compliment by making it his own thang.Al Green took a song that was a hit for the Bee Gees and made a hell of a song out of it- How do you mend a broken heart. The main thing is there has to be some talent to start with.
    Great post Peace.
  2. James Manning Says:
    When it comes to remakes, when done properly, the song becomes the song of the person who remade it

    Exactly... Luther Vadross remade Stevie Wonder's "Creepin". But Luther's version stood apart and became Luther's classic. There are other good remakes out there. Into did "A Ribbon In The Sky" and Aaliya did a decent job with "At Your Best". I think Dru Hill has the talent to do some good remakes but they have to pick the right song. "Love We Had" was not a good choice.
  3. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 21 05

    Yep great post James:) Bold as Love and you and me all agree. These jerks nowadays ain't gotta bone of talent in thier bodies. Although I love some of MJB's old stuff cuz of her grittiness, actual singing has never been her strong suit. I guess she is like a lesser version of Bessie Smith IMHO. Hey James liberal :) I gotta liberal topic on now and I think you may enjoy it! If you aren't around later, Happy Thxgiving:)
  4. Jaimie Says:
    "I could not believe how badly Mary J. Blige sounded on this song. She fell flat on every note and George Michael didn’t add anything to the mix. In the last verse Stevie Wonder turns his voice into a gritty preaching sounding way. Lawd if Mary didn’t sound like she was choking on a gecko."

    That was funny!
  5. Neil Says:
    Frankly, when something stands on it's own as a classic, why even bother re-making it? Did someone really think that they were going to sing a Stevie Wonder song better than Stevie Wonder -- even if it is Luther Vadross? I'm not a big fan of re-makes in any artform. I think I'm one of the few people out there not exciting about seeing King Kong for the third time.
  6. NotCarrie Says:
    It sucks when someone crappy remakes a song you love.
  7. James Manning Says:
    @ neil, Luther Vandross' remake of Creepin' is excellent. There are a few others that he remade that not many people know about. I may get a list together for the best remakes.

    @ notcarrie,

    welcome to the blog. And it is true, Dru Hill hurt my soul when they trashed that Dells' classic.
  8. Rell Says:
    I thought the mary joint was very good.

    On my personal list has to go Donnel Jones remake of "Knocks me off my feet."
  9. nikki Says:
    i actually liked mint condition's version of the isley classic. mind you, i don't think it's as good as the original, but it had its moments.

    i agree with you on the rest of 'em, though.
  10. James Manning Says:
    @ Rell,

    I forgot about that "Knocks Me Off My Feet" remake. That is worthy of the list.

    @ Nikki,

    Mint Condition is a good band so when Stokley isn't singing they sound like a classic group - it's his voice that killed it.
  11. nikki Says:
    james...after listening to it this morning, i have to admit i got irritated at the high-pitched quality of stokley's voice. i listened to the isley version again and realized just how soft and mellow and sexy the song is SUPPOSED to be, not high and whiney and screaming. if stokley could have been even a little bit more throaty or something...but then, he don't have that kind of voice.
  12. Anonymous Says:
    Who did the remake for Steve Wonders song You and I (We can conquer the world)?
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  15. Anonymous Says:
    it was Micheal Bublé.:)