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Soundcheck Smackdown: The "Kiss" Off

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prince's hit song, "Kiss," is a beloved masterpiece- but could a cover top the original? In this Soundcheck Smackdown, we pit the original version against the 1988 Art of Noise/Tom Jones cover. Representing His Purpleness is Prince biographer Jason Draper, and making doves cry is music reporter Gary Burton.


Gary Burton and Jason Draper

Comments [23]

Zane from Brooklyn, NY


This probably isn't the appropriate post to comment on, but I am DYING to know who played a strings rendition of Adagio Religioso about 7 days ago on the program.

I literally stopped my car, cranked up the volume, and got lost in my mind. I stayed to hear the name of the piece, but didn't quite get the name of the person behind it. It was very unique and hauntingly somber.

Does this ring any bells with anyone? I would be extremely appreciative if someone could point me in the right direction here. I've searched all over the web for versions of Adagio Religioso, but haven't found what I've been looking for, which was on this program. Thanks so much!

Apr. 29 2011 03:44 AM
Marques Travae

As a Prince fan I may be a little biased, but the Tom Jones version sounds as if his version should be considered a parody too! It kinda reminds me of what Pat Boone did with Little Richard songs. Tom Jones sounds as bad singing a Prince song as I could imagine Barry Marilow covering a Public Enemy song! Thanks to Soundcheck, I had to hear this horrible cover again! I'm just sayin'....

Apr. 27 2011 02:58 PM
Kennkan from Detroit

I enjoyed the Tom Jones cover the very first time I heard it. Which was during the smackdown. I'm a long time fan of Prince.
There was a situation of the "Hip" Hoppin on Hipocracy, your guest spoke as if he knew Prince did not have permission for his covers, Prince wouldn't do ttthhat!

Apr. 27 2011 02:56 PM
linda Griggs from lower east side

I love both versions. The Art of Noise is fantastic and I'm a Prince fan but the thing that bothered me in the Tom Jones version was the change of the lyrics. Prince says,"Women, not girls, rule my world" and Tom Jones says, "Women and girls" -- a giant jump backwards for feminism, not too surprising from a guy like Tom Jones. Maybe jumping backwards is what he does when he says, "think I better dance now."

Apr. 27 2011 08:38 AM

Oh--and in the comparison:

Prince is definitely the sexy seductive voice in a young girl's ear.
Tom Jones is too heavy-handed and loud. But I am certain that version works on stage. Prince's version is intended that humid dark hangout in your parents' basement, for saturday night and teenagers packed into a tight hot room.

Apr. 27 2011 01:12 AM

I have already been crazy about "A House is Not a Home" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was sung by Dionne Warwick and that's the version I grew up to love.

Most of my younger friends know the version by Luther Vandross. As far as they are concerned, it's "his" song. I can only sigh.

Apr. 27 2011 12:56 AM

Prince. no question.

Apr. 26 2011 10:31 PM
Amy from Centerport

Funny hearing the two versions played side by side. If I didn't already know I think I would have likely guessed the TJ version was a classic original and the Prince version was an odd, kind of creepy cover.

Apr. 26 2011 02:48 PM
Jay F.

I guess Prince doesn't need royalty money...

Apr. 26 2011 02:34 PM
Robots Need to Party from NYC

Thanks for revisiting these two songs. In my memory I remember loving the Art of Noise version, preferring it to the original. Hearing them together now I am astounded at much more more modern the Prince version sounds and well it holds up. What a great song from a musical genius and nut.

Apr. 26 2011 02:33 PM
Danielle Jensen

tom jones' is much funkier-Prince's is kind of weird though in a good way but not sexy. I think if people didn't know it was t.jones they would give his version more respect.

Apr. 26 2011 02:32 PM

prince also wrote a lot of stuff,what the hell did T J ever write ?

Apr. 26 2011 02:31 PM
Vinny from Manalapan, NJ

I think Richard Cheese would do a better version of Kiss than Tom Jones

Apr. 26 2011 02:29 PM

a lot of dudes just can't get into giving tom jones his do. men, get off your knee jerk reaction to have to put T J down. your girlfriends are safe,tom don't get around that much anymore. prince and T J can coexist. forget the jehova witness stuff,don't let that dude come "knockin" at your place.

Apr. 26 2011 02:28 PM
eric from brooklyn

I was an 80's dj for many years, 3 nights a week, every week, I can honestly say one of the top 5 requests every night I dj'd was Prince's Kiss
, and still today when I dj loft parties, I can guarantee to get the dancing going, by playing his version..
the Tom Jones version would have had people complaining and wanting the Prince version

Apr. 26 2011 02:27 PM
RuLu from Manhattan

I wish there was some way to blend the 2 - the Prince arrangement is hotter, fresher, newer, Tom Jones's vocal is hotter, fresher, newer, sexier....

A love child Kiss!

Apr. 26 2011 02:26 PM
Molly from NJ

I like, and own, both! Each one is great in its own way.

Apr. 26 2011 02:25 PM
Alan from 150 Vaick

Are you really saying that Tom Jones's version of "Kiss" is better because it's a hit at weddings (the worst music EVER played)?

Apr. 26 2011 02:24 PM
Joseph Cavalieri from east village new york

as a child of the 80's Tom Jones RULES

Apr. 26 2011 02:24 PM
Robots Need to Party from NYC

Does the Art of Noise version count as a parody?

Apr. 26 2011 02:23 PM

What's with this host? I'm not a big Prince fan, but what's with all the snarky "the anointed one" comments? I guess the host is just angry because he's a big nobody.

Apr. 26 2011 02:22 PM
HM from 06606

I almost drove my car off the side of the road laughing when I heard this. One of the best covers EVER.

Apr. 26 2011 02:21 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

Back in 1988, I actually bought the vinyl Art of Noise album with Tom Jones' spin on Kiss, and I played it fairly often.

That said, I've been major fan of Prince for many years, and I have to stand by my man on this one. Prince rules.

Apr. 26 2011 02:05 PM

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