Peter Steward's Web Site


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I have written a diary over the past 37 years. You can view entries by using  this link


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My dissertation and other work for my MA degree.


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Free music - Best of 2009






Themed Music Lists

Originals that Might Surprise You

I always delight in using the immortal words "it's not as good as the original" when somebody plays me a hit or well known track that was actually written and originally performed by lesser known groups or artists. As an example everybody's heard the Monkees sing Daydream Believer, but how many people know the song was actually written by John Stewart and that he does an excellent job in singing it himself. Likewise one of the most recorded pieces of recent years is the inspirational song You Raise Me Up. Everyone knows the Westlife version and hundreds of others as well. But who remembers that the original was written and recorded by the Norwegian duo Secret Garden who also have the dubious distinction of writing the best ever Eurovision Song Contest winner with Nocturne, which was scarcely a song, but more a piece of classical music with a few words thrown in to allow it to qualify. So below I will build a list of well known songs and the people who actually wrote and recorded them. Some are well known but others might surprise you.


Title Best Known Version Original
All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix Bob Dylan
Daydream Believer The Monkees John Stewart
Reason to Believe Rod Stewart Tim Hardin
Nothing Compares 2 U Sinead O'Connor Prince
You Raise Me Up Westlife et al Secret Garden
The Air That I Breathe The Hollies Phil Everly *
Wild is the Wind David Bowie Johnny Mathis**
MacArthur Park Richard Harris and many more Jimmy Webb+
There But for Fortune Joan Baez Phil Ochs
Woodstock Matthews Southern Comfort Joni Mitchell
Without You Nilsson Badfinger

*- This is a particularly interesting song as it was written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood and recorded firstly by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers who does an excellent version.

** - Originally recorded by Johnny Mathis and subsequently by Nina Simone before Bowie got his hands on it. It was written by Dimitri Tiompkin and Ned Washington for the 1956 film Wild is the Wind.

+ - Well over 50 versions of MacArthur Park have been recorded ranging from crooners to jazz and just about everything in between. The song was written by Jimmy Webb