John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen – “When Will I Be Loved”
These days, the Everly Brothers might be best remembered for singing odes to teenage love, but Phil and Don Everly had an abiding love for straight-up country music, as anyone who’s heard the rootsy Songs Our Daddy Taught Us knows. These Brylcreemed boys could write damn good songs as well.
And although the brothers themselves dropped off the country charts decades ago, country artists have known about the power of an Everly-penned song for quite some time. Just in the past 20 years, Reba took “Cathy’s Clown” to #1, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss covered “Gone Gone Gone” on 2007′s Raising Sand, and now John Fogerty tackles “When Will I Be Loved” (written by Phil) for his new release The Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again.
This song, which has also been covered by Linda Ronstadt among others, is so masterfully written and artfully arranged that it’s near impossible to screw up. Add hearty amounts of fiddle and pedal steel, as Fogerty does here, and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Joining Fogerty is fellow iconic-voiced rocker Bruce Springsteen. These two guys lack the pure voices and brotherly harmonies of the Everlys, but their comparative roughness really drives the lyrics home: Fogerty and Springsteen sound as though they’ve spent a lifetime being cheated and mistreated, making the question “when will I be loved” sound just a little more urgent than when it’s sung by pretty young’uns with unsullied voices like Phil, Don, or Linda.
The song’s lyrics themselves are rather depressing, but Fogerty and Springsteen seem like they’re having a blast, a notion that’s reinforced by the rollicking country-rock arrangement. Sure, the ladies keep breaking your heart, but the best cure might just be turning the amps (or the record player, or the car stereo) up to eleven and rocking out.
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