Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away

First Hit #1: July 27, 1985

The important thing about doing a cover is you have to make it your own. Paul Young, working with a Hall and Oates song that really isn’t that young, manages the trick quite well, making a much more novel arrangement by replacing the dominant organ of the original with sitar. The organ in the original was fine, and suited the song, but the sitar is a much lighter and less common sound, which makes the song stand out in a different manner. It is strange that the sitar has always been this fringe player for pop, since it has a great tone that I personally love to hear, but that makes the tracks where it’s a dominant instrument stand out on the radio. He also sings with a certain abruptness that is present in the original but simply emphasized by Young. What do I mean by that? The lines build to a certain point, and then drop down suddenly, as though it is trying to emulate the feel of the person in the song going away. The effect underlines the disappointment of a leaving lover, intentionally, and strengthens the song thematically. The original was pretty good, but Young’s version is better, and that’s what a cover should do.

The video is really weird by the way, at least the start of it, since it’s shot sort of like a memorial for the (still alive) Paul Young. It’s probably because black and white archival footage plus slow motion is TV shorthand for this person is dead.

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One Response to Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away

  1. RBerman says:

    Ah, the mysteries of the (almost) one-hit wonder. What to make of Paul Young? He also had a Top Ten hit a few years later with a cover of the Chi-LItes’ “Oh Girl,” a great soul song the first time around. This Hall & Oates tune was only a mediocre soul song the first time around, but this sitar-n-piano arrangement, backing a very simple vocal singing a very simple but relatable thought, elevates the whole. This recording individually had no impact on the course of pop music, but it’s one of the opening salvos in the “white soul” trend that would consume the airwaves in the mid-80s.

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