Coming after Sunday’s Cover Story about The Knocks’ mostly-Motown covers EP, I thought it would be fun to look back at how the ’80s treated some Motor City classics, ranking my fave singles from five to number one.
5. Sheena Easton – “Jimmy Mack” (1986, #65 peak), originally recorded by Martha and the Vandellas
Easton included this cover on her seventh studio album, Do You, which was produced by Nile Rogers (Chic, David Bowie, Madonna). Apols for the video quality. Apparently I’m in the minority that this one should be preserved for the ages.
4. Cyndi Lauper – “What’s Going On” (1987, #12 peak), originally recorded by Marvin Gaye
I actually didn’t come around to appreciating this one until many years had passed. The video features Lauper sporting her true tie-dye colors as she masterfully tackles Gaye’s classic lament:
3. David Bowie & Mick Jagger – “Dancing In The Street” (1985, #7 peak), originally recorded by Martha and the Vandellas
Originally concepted as a two-continent duet for 1985′s massive Live Aid charity concert, the duo instead hit the studio to quickly record this Motown classic together (and the music video below) once it was clear that satellite technology wouldn’t sync up correctly for a live performance.
2. Phil Collins – “You Can’t Hurry Love” (1982, #10 peak), originally recorded by The Supremes
Six years later, Collins hooked up with one of the song’s writers, Lamont Dozier, crafting “Two Hearts” for the soundtrack to Buster , in which Collins played a petty thief. “Two Hearts” spent two weeks at #1 in January 1989.
1. Kim Wilde – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (1987, #1 peak), originally recorded by The Supremes
Assisted by her brother Ricki, Kim Wilde transformed “You Keep Me Hanging On” into an oh-so-’80s synthpop classic that became the biggest hit of her career (a little over 24 years ago this week, it turns out).
Wanna fight over my five? In compiling my list, I crossed off Soft Cell’s “Where Did Our Love Go?” (famously combined with Gloria Jones’ “Tainted Love”), Love and Rockets’ “Ball Of Confusion,” Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s cover of Edwin Starr’s “War,” and Hall & Oates’ “The Way You Do The Things You Do/My Girl,” which featured David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick of The Temptations. I expect there are others, so let me know what I may have missed and how you’d rank your faves.