The Joan Baez version – two learning points

My first learning point is that Joan Baez sang this as early as 1960.

When she performed it the Royal Festival Hall I simply – and mistakenly – heard it as an acoustic version of a song I know and love. So when I found this rendition the video content was unexpected to say the least. I then re-tuned my ears and discovered that this is actually sung from the perspective of a woman led into a life of degradation

The original version – well sort of

I’ve heard three acoustic-style versions of this song this year. Each was spine-tinglingly good in its own right, and each reminded me of the brilliance of The Animals version. There’s one by Sinead O’Connor in an earlier post, one heard live at the Peterborough Willow Festival, and one performed by Joan Baez at the Royal Festival Hall.

I do know that this isn’t the original, but it’s fair to say that the song was popularised by The Animals, and wikipedia refers to it as ‘the most successful commercial version’. The clip has cleaned up video overlaid with the studio version – an approach with some downsides although on balance I approve