Jimmy Cliff: “The Harder They Come”

Posted: November 30, 2013 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
Tags: , , ,
Broccoli Fields Forever ...

Broccoli Fields Forever …

In deference to the recent anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy I chose the greatest song John Lennon ever penned to launch Cover Me Impressed. Needless to say it is beyond disheartening that 42 years after this brilliant plea for peace was introduced it is as pertinent today as the day it was written.

The Original

Jimmy Cliff:


The Cover Songs Competition


Madness vs. Keith Richards



Keith Richards:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.



Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. RDubbs says:

    I usually quite enjoy Keith Richards’ bizarre vocal style but his version of The Harder They Come just does not work for me. Nothing really notable to Madness’ version either but it was acceptable and in this particular competition, acceptable brings home the cheese.

  2. Cuspid says:

    I like Richards’ instrumentation better. Sounds like he’s trying to shake things up a bit with this mix. Madness executes very well, as they always did. if I had to choose only between these two I’d go with Richards, although I like Joe Jackson’s cover from 1980 even better. It was even issued as the A-side. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VitH8jg7R6I

  3. Arnie Plotnick says:

    Keith was clearly still on heroin when doing this version.

  4. Pete Black says:

    Neither one exactly a gem. Keith Richards had more of a groove and I liked the slower pace for this song. I usually like Madness bit this was a bit like a fat kid in a raincoat on a trampoline.

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