"Under The Covers" is a recurring series comparing, contrasting, and talking about cover songs and the originals of these cover songs.
I can't recall the very first time I ever heard "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", but I know it was somewhere around 1991 or 1992. I was in second or third grade and had excitedly rented the movie "Cool As Ice" which starred the one and only Vanilla Ice. The version of the song that was featured in the film was Saint Etienne's. I immediately fell in love with it. To me, even though it sounds incredibly early 90s, it also has a very timeless feel to it. Maybe that is just because of how much I like the song, I'm not too sure. Soon after hearing the song in this flick, my favorite radio station at the time (Power 106 in Southern California) started playing the song. As history would have it, I was practicing to be a back up dancer for my elementary school hip hop group and recording songs off of Power 106 onto a memorex cassette. I was lucky enough to catch "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and commit it to magnetic tape. To this day, that tape of recorded radio is in somewhat regular rotation, thanks in large part to me craving this Saint Etienne track.
That brings us to the original version of this song which was written and recorded by Neil Young. Somewhere between 1991 and now, I came to realize that the song was a cover. And somewhere between finding that out and now, I learned that Neil Young was the writer and original performer of the song. And up until a few months ago, I never listened to the original. I think part of me was afraid that if I heard the original and didn't like it, that it would forever change my opinion of Saint Etienne's version. Thankfully, I love the original too. The best part about it is that the two versions of the song are about as different as they can be while still being the same song.
I'll leave my words at that and let you listen to the two versions and form your own opinions. Does anyone remember that movie "Cool As Ice"? Which version of the song do you like better and why?