Ignored, Maligned, and Forgotten Music

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You Pick the Winner - Sam Cooke vs. The Pretenders

Legbamel Not-Pop

Let’s take two songs that sound nothing alike but share a titular similarity and background vocals: Sam Cooke’s Chain Gang, long a song that I have loved, and The Pretenders’ Back on the Chain Gang. The former is a great Motown song and the latter a New Wave 80s hit. Sam Cooke literally sings about working on a prison chain gang. The Pretenders were a bit more esoteric in singing of broken hearts. But both songs include that great “ooh...aah” behind the lead singer.

So I ask you, my dears, which of these do you find more evocative? I confess to debating the inclusion of more chain songs like Chain of Fools from Aretha Franklin and BB King’s Chains and Things but I thought we should keep this a little more tightly focused on how well the individual songs work. I do have other chain songs and someday I’ll post a nice list but for today I want your feedback. Who does a better job making you think of a chain gang?

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