Tonawanda News — The Rolling Stones copied all of this in the 70s, and turned out just fine.
White acts copied, or covered, plenty of soul material, to the detriment of the black performer, notably Pat Boone’s irresponsible and banal version of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” in 1956. He bleached it, so to speak, but he was not alone, and that’s where YouTube comes in.
YouTube, that scourge of a website which allows any kid in a basement or a garage to take Step One to fame, is a treasure of recorded music a millionaire could not afford to collect. Remember “Go Now,” the 1965 hit by the Moody Blues (“If you gotta go, then you, better go now…)? Ever hear the original, by Bessie Banks, available a year before? It’s on YouTube, as is the 1964 Rolling Stones hit “Time is On My Side” by Irma Thomas. Hear where these respected British white boys received their tutelage.
If you remember these songs before they were oldies, you should know their ancestry.
I was not a gospel churchgoer, I was not a musicologist, I was a skinny and dopey white kid, for goodness sake, and this stuff entered my bloodstream and mind the way medicine does now. It did not turn me hip, or liberal, or even (oh my) funky, but it was a rescue from common adolescence and a lodestar for the rest of my life.
It leavened history for me. Black History Month (which just ended) is my month too, I have concluded, because I’m American and I care about history. It woke me up to elements of society I previously underappreciated, or of which I did not know, which makes things today seem less hostile and easier to understand. I can cook in a wok, enjoy Indian and Middle Eastern food, appreciate the company and opinion of anyone who, one way or another, is Not Like Me, and generally be open to things. I credit that attitude, what schools never taught me, from guys like Rufus Thomas (a celebrated Memphis disc jockey).