Tony Bennett, "Proud Mary" + WWII


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In today's Wall Street Journal, I have three articles that I know will knock you out. First, I speak with Tony Bennett for the Arena section about his CD Bennett & Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (Sony Legacy). Tony and I spoke about what it was like to sing with Dave (the first time and a rare occurrence) and how the concert came together. I must say, Tony is every bit the gentleman. To read, go here.

Second, my “Anatomy of a Song" column for Arena centers this time on John Fogerty's Proud Mary—the first rock song many people of my generation danced to as kids in 1968 at an uncle's wedding. I did a deep reporting job, speaking with John, Sonny Charles of the Checkmates; Tamiko Jones, Solomon Burke's producer; Perry Botkin Jr., Phil Spector's arranger on the Checkmates' version; and Brent Maher, the engineer on Ike and Tina Turner's legendary recording. What I found is that Turner's overheated version was inspired by Burke's and the Checkmates' versions. Hear for yourself at the bottom. John has a new album out on Tuesday—Wrote a Song for Everyone (Vanguard). To read, go here.

And finally, in the Mansion section, my “House Call" column this week is on a World War II B-17 bomber pilot who found refuge in a Belgian industrialist's home after being shot down 10 days before D-Day. As you can imagine, Memorial Day means a great deal to him. To read, go here.

Oh, I almost forgot—in tomorrow's WSJ's Weekend edition, don't miss my Playlist column in the Review section. While I can't get into details yet, I can tell you that the comedian I interviewed on music had me in stitches and will tickle you pink as well.

And now for the genesis of Proud Mary—from John Fogerty to Tina Turner...

Here's John Fogerty's Proud Mary recorded in 1968...

Here's Solomon Burke's version in early '69 (note the talk-narration at the start)...

Here's the Chekmates' Wall of Sound version from late '69—with Sonny Charles on lead vocal. It was arranged by Perry Botkin Jr. and produced by Phil Spector...

And here's Ike and Tina Turner's '70 classic performed live. Interesting to hear how a song evolves and is remade into something different and special...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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