The Great Pretender

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.