Friday, March 07, 2008

I Can’t Make You Love Me

Song: I Can’t Make You Love Me
Artist: Prince
Album: Emancipation

Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” from her stellar album “Luck of the Draw” is one of my favorite songs. Written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin, it’s one of the most heartbreaking songs you’ll hear… with emotional honesty that literally every singer-songwriter strives to achieve. It’s been covered by a variety of artists, including Bonnie Tyler, Kenny Rodgers, Gina G, and Kimberly Locke of American Idol fame. The most famous cover is probably George Michael’s version, which took on new meanings as sung by a man, and then so based on his sexuality. What I didn’t know, is that Price had recorded a version that takes a whole new spin.

I had the three biggest Prince fans I know at my listening party, and while I consider myself a fan, I just can’t keep up with the man. I was on a Prince jag in the 90’s, getting every new record he released… but after “Chaos & Disorder,” I just couldn’t take on the three disc (THREE!) album that was “Emancipation.” And to follow THAT up with the five disc “Crystal Ball…” dude you lost me. I don’t have that much time! But as with every Prince record, there are always gems.

So when Felice said she was going to play something from “Emancipation” I was excited because I knew it would be something great I didn’t know, but then was VERY surprised when it was none other that this cover. Felice pointed out the emotional desperation that resides within the song (and every version she’s heard) is somehow missing in the Prince version. After hearing it I completely agree… his come-ons are not of a man that has given up on some deep unrequited love. I mean… this guy is Prince! It really puts an interesting twist to the track… aside from just Prince-ing it.


Some versions of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

Bonnie Raitt

George Michael

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