Friday, July 23, 2010

LADIES FIRST: "I Go To Sleep" - (The Kinks) > Peggy Lee > Cher > The Pretenders

LADIES FIRST brings you another classic that 'she did first'.

Today, let's wake up to who sang "I Go To Sleep".


The oft-told story is that Ray Davies was wracked with nervousness while his wife was giving birth to their daughter. To focus himself, he wrote this beautiful lullaby. What's less known is that The Kinks never really recorded it. Ray only had time to make a piano demo before embarking on their next tour, and the demo was only released decades later as a CD bonus track.

RAY DAVIES -"I Go To Sleep" (1965)

Instead, he passed the demo to his idol, Pop chanteuse Peggy Lee, who was the first to actually record this perennial classic.

PEGGY LEE -"I Go To Sleep" (1965)

Shortly after, it started making the rounds in various versions. Here's a nice moody one by Cher.

CHER -"I Go To Sleep" (1965)

From the UK come THE APPLEJACKS with this version, a Beat group especially notable for having a female bass player in a notoriously boys-club era: Megan Davies (no relation to Ray).

THE APPLEJACKS -"I Go To Sleep" (1965)

And here is MARION in a striking high-contrast video from Germany.

MARION -"I Go To Sleep" (1966)

But most people know the song because of this famed cover by The Pretenders. At the time, Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde were in a relationship, and Chrissie had already covered "Stop Your Sobbing". Having never heard the previous '60s covers, she learned the song from a cassette dub of the original demo.

THE PRETENDERS -"I Go To Sleep" (1981)

In an arrangement inspired by The Pretenders' version, here's Julie Pietri doing it in French.

(special thanks to 'Anonymous' for pointing me to this one!)

JULIE PIETRI -"Et C'est Comme Si" (1982)

Here's the Alt-Electro band Soulwax from Belgium hipping the headtrip.

SOULWAX With TRACY BONHAM -"I Go To Sleep" (1998)

Rasputina has a cult following merging Classical strings with Rock music, and here they incite the incubus.

RASPUTINA -"I Go To Sleep" (live, 2004)

And lately Aussie singer Sia brings some Soul and Jazz into the dreaminess.

SIA -"I Go To Sleep" (2008)

...while the musicians collective Works Progress Administration brings an elegant Folk drift to it.

(thanks to Holly A. Hughes for pointing me to this one, as well as this lovely version by JUDITH OWEN!)


© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist


Holly A Hughes said...

Also check out some very cool versions by Judith Owen (on her album Here) and Sara Watkins (on the first album by the collaborative group Works Progress Administration). More ladies!

Anonymous said...

there is also a french cover by Julie entitled "Et c'est comme si" very close to the Pretenders cover.

massimo said...

... It became an instant classic on first listen ... staff version of Chrissie and the Pretenders, with those soft atmosphere, it is superior to all other...
Superlative song!