It Looks Like Americans Prefer Happy Songs

The No. 2 song on the Vinesse list of the Top 10 Wine Songs of All-Time has a rather strange back story—strange, that is, until you consider that it happened in show biz, where anything can and probably will happen, given enough time.

The original version was released in 1968 by Neil Diamond and peaked at No. 63 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Others would cover the tune through the years, but it wasn’t until 1983-84 that what proved to be the definitive version hit the airwaves. It was a recording by UB40, and that version made it to No. 34 in the U.S.

What’s that? You thought it was a bigger hit than that?

Your brain is not playing tricks on you. About five years later, after the song proved to be extremely popular at an Atlanta dance club, A&M Records decided to re-release it as a single. That’s when it shot to No. 1 in the U.S.

The song is “Red, Red Wine.”

But we still haven’t shared the aforementioned bizarre back story with you.

First, it’s important to know that it’s a sad song as written (and sung) by Diamond, as the lyrics reveal…

Red, red wine
Goes to my head
Makes me forget that I
Still need her so

Red, red wine
It’s up to you
All I can do I’ve done
Memories won’t go
Memories won’t go

Sad, indeed. And as the song continues, one could even label it as “desperate.”

Happy? No way.

No way, that is, until you listen to the UB40 version—the reggae, toe-tapping rendition that far out-sold Diamond’s original.

It’s certainly not unusual for singers and/or groups to misinterpret a song’s lyrics, or to change the mood of a tune via the arrangement developed or the instruments played.

But here’s where it gets bizarre. Some years after UB40 turned the song into a mega-hit, Diamond was on tour and complained slightly about UB40’s version.

And then he sang the song in a manner that obviously was inspired by UB40. He even recorded that updated version and included it on a greatest hits album.

As we said, only in show business…

Just for fun, compare Diamond’s original version of “Red, Red Wine” with this live version from UB40. Then let us know which one you prefer in the comments box below.

(By the way, if you’re looking for the perfect wine to drink while listening to “Red, Red Wine,” I’d recommend a dark, brooding Cabernet Sauvignon with the Neil Diamond version, and a bright, lively rosé with UB40’s.)

We’ll be back tomorrow with more news and views from the wonderful world of wine, and then be sure to check back here on Thursday when we reveal the No. 1 wine song of all-time.

Source: Wikipedia.

Posted in Editor's Journal
One comment on “It Looks Like Americans Prefer Happy Songs
  1. Dina says:

    <div name="sig_d41d8cd98f" style="margin-top: 2em; margin-right: 0pt; margin-bottom: 2em; margin-left: 0pt; "><p>I'm biased, because I grew up listening to the UB40 version. It's definitely my favorite — it just has such a great feel!  The fact that it makes me feel happy when I listen to it is interesting, considering how you've pointed out that it should be a sad song.</p> </div>

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