Paul Revere & The Raiders: “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”

Posted: January 8, 2014 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
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Tune du Jour: “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” – Paul Revere & The Raiders
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Alliance vs. Sex Pistols
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Broccoli For Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles ... Oh Yeah!

Broccoli For Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles … Oh Yeah!

(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. It was first recorded in May 1966 by Paul Revere & The Raiders. The song was also recorded by The Liverpool Five, a “British Invasion” band, sometime in 1966. Some sources claim that The Liverpool Five actually released their version of (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone before Paul Revere & The Raiders. But this is probably inaccurate and, when you come right down to it, who really cares?

Between May and December of 1966, at least five bands released versions of (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone (i.e. Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Liverpool Five, The W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band, The Flies, and The Stillroven). The Monkees’ version of the song was also recorded in late 1966 but the album in which it appeared, More of the Monkees, was not released until January 1967. It’s somewhat mind-boggling. That’s a lot of versions of one song to be released within 9 months!

The lyrics, tone and pace of (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone are rather remarkable given its release date, providing an early taste of the punk genre to follow. Not surprisingly, it is a favorite cover song for many garage and punk bands.

The Original

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Paul Revere & The Raiders:

The Liverpool Five:

There are many that would argue The Liverpool Five’s version of (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone is superior to any that came before or after it. Given its superb quality and the chance that they did win the “race to release”, I’ve included The Liverpool Five’s version of the song in this section.

A quick tidbit of trivia: None of the band members of The Liverpool Five were from Liverpool (four were from London and the fifth from Cumbria).

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The Most Popular

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The Monkees:

The Monkees version of (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone enjoyed the most commercial success. Although released as a B-side, it reached #20 in the US charts.

And yet another tidbit of trivia: Although all stemming from the same recording, The Monkees’ single version, mono album version and stereo album version all slightly differed from each other.

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Alliance vs. Sex Pistols

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The Alliance:

Sex Pistols:

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?!!?

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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.

Comments
  1. Cuspid says:

    It probably doesn’t matter to anyone. But for all the pictures of Sid Viscous in the Pistols video, it’s actually original bassists Glen Matlock playing the bass in the song.

    • RDubbs says:

      One more piece of trivia. I actually played bass for the Pistols on (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone. Matlock had a hair stylist appointment that afternoon and, well, I guess you could say it was just a right place, right time type of deal. I gave a lot to the Pistols back then with nary a thanks or recognition (it was my idea to say bad things about the queen as well). That was back when I was chasing the dragon through the gutters of Brixton. Although I never regretted getting off of the flea powder, unfortunately, along with leaving the habit behind I also lost all ability to play the bass. True story.

  2. bornunderabadsign says:

    bucking my sentimental fave the Sex Pistols, i went with the Alliance…btw, what a great song…perfect for the Rolling Stones wonder if they ever covered it????

    • RDubbs says:

      I found no references to the Rolling Stones covering (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone but it does seem tailor-made for them. It would have paired nicely with Get Off My Cloud in a live meager-medley.

  3. Arnold Plotnick says:

    I’m a big Sex Pistols fan, but The Alliance really gives this song a perfect psychedelic garageband sound. This version, with the Farfisa organ in the background, would be right at home in Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets collection. I think the song is best suited for this kind of cover. The Pistols version is nothing stellar. The song requires too much finesse for a thrashing punk band like the Pistols.

  4. Kerry Black says:

    Paul Revere & The Raiders made a lot of damn good sixties pop/rock, but I contend they were underrated by our generation due to the gimmicky band name and cheesy-as-hell uniforms.

    • RDubbs says:

      I’m surprised more people (actually any) did not comment on how good PR&R’s original version was/is. I admit I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I don’t remember their version having as much verve as I now detect.

      Personally I would have went with Samuel Prescott & The Packers, possibly keeping the revolutionary war waistcoats but trading in the tricorn hats for football helmets.

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