Friday, May 30, 2008

Canadian Cover Content #9: April Wine Uncorked

All these posts of originals this week were instigated by a bit of an "originals" google bender last week. Of the originals dug up, none were more surprising to me than the following bit of CanCon classic rock. (Apologies in advance if this post holds absolutely no interest for non-Canucks)

In short, CanCan (Canadian Content) regulations require a certain percentage of radio and television broadcasting to be Canadian in origin. For the classic rock stations, that means we were taught early to love The Guess Who, Rush, BTO, Steppenwolf, and The Tragically Hip. That also means we're exposed to an unnecessary amount of Trooper, Loverboy, Streetheart, Harlequin... and April Wine. I mean there's really no reason I should be able to sing-a-long faithfully to 15+ April Wine songs, yet I can. In fact, I'm not even entirely convinced April Wine had that many hits, but they sure are played on the radio as if they did.

Here are a few April Wine songs you should recognize:

  • April Wine - Bad Side of the Moon
  • April Wine - You Could Have Been a Lady
  • April Wine - Sign of the Gypsy Queen
Guess what? They're ALL covers.

A few years ago when I discovered Elton John's great live album 11-17-70, that's when I first realized that the April Wine hit Bad Side of the Moon was in fact a cover song.
Elton John - Bad Side of the Moon
Elton John - Bad Side of the Moon (11-17-70)
The original studio version was released as the b-side to my favourite Elton John song, Border Song.

Hot Chocolate - You Could Have Been a Lady
Here was another shocker: You Could Have Been a Lady was originally by Hot Chocolate, probably most famous for You Sexy Thing!

Lorence Hud - Sign of the Gypsy Queen
From his self-titled 1973 album, Lorence Hud wrote this song popularized by April Wine and played all the instruments on the track.


I like April Wine fine enough, though they're best when taken in moderation (like wine!). I've even seen them live once, performing a free show in Sunshine Village in between ski runs. Here are a few covers of April Wine for you. Props to this fansite since I didn't really know anybody actually covered April Wine.

Treble Charger - Roller [originally by April Wine]
From the soundtrack to the cult Canadian mockumentary FUBAR, which featured several contemporary bands (Sum 41, Sloan, The New Pornographers, and more) covering Canadian metal and rock hits from the 70's/80's.

Clout - Oowatanite [originally by April Wine]
This is a pretty sweet cover of a song many of us now permanently associate with a Lotto 6/49 commercial that used to get a lot of airplay up here. "Ah, the lotto song!" is a familiar reaction to anyone who hears the distinctive bells that kick off Oowatanite. Clout was an all-girl rock group from South Africa who were active in the late seventies. If you imagine Heart covering April Wine, that'll give you an idea of this cover.

The Heelwalkers - Weeping Widow [originally by April Wine]
I have to admit I was surprisingly stoked to find a cover of this song.

Frost - Sign of the Gypsy Queen [originally by Lorence Hud]
Sure we now know it's a Lorence Hud original, but undoubtedly this metal cover is of April Wine.


craniac said...

Loving the Clout track. Brings back some memories. Being South African and in my late teens when they were around, I was quite a fan. Particularly of lead singer, Cindy Alter. She was tall, with long, long legs, always clad in tight pants. I saw them in concert a few times and seeing her strutting around on the stage was awesome.

Fongolia said...

It is a good cover. I was surprised to find any covers of April Wine at all, let alone by a rock band from South Africa. That's the fun of covers!

Marko said...

For the longest time I only knew Oowatanite as the "Lotto 649" song.

Lucas said...

awesome stuff! thank you!!