How to Do a Cover Version

An often overlooked classic for you today.

This only managed to get to No. 32 in the UK charts back in 1982, and proved to be pretty much the final swansong of a band who it can be argued to have been one of the most succesful ever.

Subsequently, it’s achieved some much belated recognition; in 2010 on a show entitled “The Nation’s Favourite ABBA Song”, where viewers of ITV were invited to vote for, erm, their favourite ABBA song, this came third, proof that ITV viewers are idiots for only placing it there and not higher.

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ABBA – The Day Before You Came

Ostensibly, this is simply a song where Agnetha recounts the events of her drab life on the day before “You” came into her life, but there’s something more to it than that. What is never made clear is whether the arrival of “You” is a good or a bad thing, but there’s a gloomy atmosphere here, a pervading sense of foreboding that makes you think maybe everything is not about to go well, that she rues the day that “You” arrived in her life.

In 1984, Blancmange released their cover version and ironically it also proved to be their last Top 40 UK hit. It’s a slightly more uptempo version, but no less sinister sounding for it, Neil Arthur’s deep vocals adding a different weight to the mournful tone of the song. And quite why they felt the need to change the author of the book read by the singer from Marilyn French to Barbara Cartland is beyond me. Perhaps they didn’t think anyone would know who Marilyn French was, but I think her inclusion in the original to be significant, since she mostly wrote feminist text.

Still it’s almost as wonderful as the original:

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Blancmange – The Day Before You Came

More soon.

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