Wayback Wednesday

P.P. Arnold – The First Cut Is The Deepest

I freaking love this song, and I’ve heard lots of the covers that have been recorded by artists, from Rod Sellout (meh) to Sheryl Crow (also meh) to Dawn Penn (meh reggae) to The Webber Sisters (better reggae.) I always preferred Cat Stevens‘ own version, until I heard this version on my Pandora “Girl Group” station.

I don’t ever recall hearing this original 1967 cover of the song by sixties soul singer and former Ikette, P.P. Arnold, a #18 hit in the UK, but it has become my favorite.  I know, right? It tops Stevens for me (but only by a teensy margin.)

Arnold recorded her cover of Stevens’ original song in early 1967, a few months before Cat recorded it for his album, New Masters.  Her soulful version sounds very close to a Phil Spector production, although the instruments are not layered in the “wall” style that he popularized. Arnold wraps her voice around the heartache and hits you in the gut, reminding you of the pain of breaking up, and she soars above it all near the end of the song, giving the impression that, yes, she will survive this.  Stevens simply twists his  brooding into wistful hopefulness when the song ends.

That said, I’m not convinced that the first cut is actually the deepest.  Sometimes that last twist of the knife cuts so deep that you nearly bleed out, ya know?

P.P. Arnold – The First Cut Is The Deepest

2 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday

  1. Lynchie from Aberdeen 05.23.10 / 6:30 am

    PP Arnold also sang with Steve Marriot on the Small Faces’ hit “Tin Soldier” and I used to love watching her with them and on her own on “Top Of The Pops”, because she was absolutely gorgeous…

  2. Linda 06.01.10 / 6:46 pm

    The test of time has sure proven that Cat Stevens was an excellent songwriter. I have been surprised how well his songs have held up.

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