Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cover Me Impressed: 'Different Drum'

One of my favorite (and most popular) series of posts here on Linear Tracking Lives! was Mike Nesmith Week back in the spring of 2011. When I get to feature the great Nesmith alongside one of the legends of C86, well, that's a pretty good day for me, too.

Nesmith wrote "Different Drum" in 1965, the same year the Monkees were being assembled. Linda Ronstadt made the song famous in 1967 when she recorded it with the Stone Poneys. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard chart. Nesmith wouldn't release his own recorded version of the song until it appeared on his tongue-in-cheek titled album 'And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'. It's a beautiful and completely understated piece of work featuring guitar and vocals by Nesmith, pedal steel by "Red" Rhodes... and that's it. No drums, bass or anything else. Although Nesmith's version was never a single, this song, along with "Joanne," his only Top 40 hit as a solo artist, are his most popular songs and biggest showstoppers in concert.

Apologies to Ms. Ronstadt, but I'll take the Pastels' cover. Stephen & Co. released it as a single in 1990 on K Records. Finding the 7" is a tall order, but it does appear on 'Truckload of Trouble,' the band's 1993 compilation from Seed Records. As compilations go, it's wildly incomplete. When it comes to the Pastels, however, you take what you can get your hands on. It appears to only be in print now as a digital download, and that's a shame. Is it just me, or is this band in desperate need of a definitive box set?

Michael Nesmith - Different Drum (mp3)
The Pastels - Different Drum (mp3)


George said...

so not the Jim Reeves song then.....

Brian said...

Hey George. I think Reeves had a big song in '66 called 'Distant Drums.' Perhaps that's what you are thinking about... not sure.

George said...

indeed it was Brian. But this is not bad at all!