Thursday, January 17, 2013

Original and cover; Havana Affair

Havana Affair was a song originally by the punk group The Ramones. It appeared on their debut self-titled debut album released in 1976. One of their first political songs. It was basically about the US meddling in Cuban affairs. It's about a guy who had a productive job in Cuba picking bananas, now he's living in the US working for the CIA. It's a fun, short song with not many lyrics. It's a straightforward punk rock song and I love the way Joey Ramone says banana in this song. Here it is:
In 2003, Johnny Ramone himself was presented with the idea of bands doing covers of Ramones songs. He agreed as long as he had full control. Rob Zombie contributed album art, and Stephen King (a long time Ramones fan) wrote the liner notes. It includes bands such as KISS, Garbage, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, U2, Green Day, Eddie Vedder, among others. Johnny Ramone liked The Red Hot Chili Peppers version of Havana Affair so much, that the album opened with that song. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have a bit of a different take on the song. Their version is more nuanced, more rock, less punk so it has a bit of a mellow vibe to it. I love the guitar especially. I love the Ramones but I do prefer the cover from Red Hot Chili Peppers myself. Here it is.

PT-boat on the way to Havana
I used to make a living, man
Pickin' the banana.
Now I'm a guide for the CIA
Hooray for the USA!

Baby, baby, make me a loco
Baby, baby, make me a mambo

Sent to spy on a Cuban talent show
First stop- Havana au go-go
I used to make a living, man
Pickin' the banana
Hooray for Havana!

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