It’s time to set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1955. That’s when Buck Ram, the manager of The Platters, wrote The Great Pretender for his clients. Oh-oh, yes.
There’s only one place to begin this week: The Platters with Tony Williams on lead vocals. Oh-oh, yes.
Sam Cooke was not only a fine singer-songwriter, he had a way with cover versions. Oh-oh, yes.
Here’s the great Roy Orbison with a doggone symphony orchestra. It doesn’t get much classier than that. Oh-oh, yes.
My favorite version of The Great Pretender was recorded by The Band. As always, Richard Manuel wrings every ounce of emotion out of Buck Ram’s song. Oh-oh, yes.
I was worried that I wouldn’t find a good version by a chick singer. Then I remembered that Dolly Parton had recorded this week’s song. Oh-oh, yes.
Finally, Freddie Mercury with a souped-up version of the Buck Ram classic. I wonder if he made the “that sounds like a porn star name” joke that I’ve been avoiding. Oh-oh, yes.
What would a Friday Cocktail Hour be without instrumental versions of the week’s song? This week, Lester Bowie followed by The Hampton String Quartet. Oh-oh, yes.
That’s it for this week. Let’s raise a real glass to the folks behind The Great Pretender, Buck Ram and The Platters. Oh-oh, yes.
It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them. Oh-oh, yes.