Reggae And The OldiesThere's a radio station in my area that has a reggae program every Saturday morning. The DJs bring their old 45s to the station and play classic reggae for about four hours. Sure, there may be some songs that I don't like during the four hour block, but it's always fun to get exposed to Oldies from around the world. Much to my surprise, I was listening to the station a few years ago when the DJ played an old Dennis Brown song called "Pretend You're Happy".
I stopped what I was doing and immediately paid attention to the melody. I liked the song a lot, but it sounded so similar to something I had heard before. After a brief search on YouTube, I found my answer: It's a cover of "Pretend", an old pop song that had been previously sung by Nat King Cole and Brenda Lee. It's a sad track about lying to yourself in order to feel better, but it's melody gives the opposite impression (rather catchy and happy despite the lyrics), making this one twisted yet enjoyable song.
I listened to both Nat King Cole and Brenda Lee's versions, but I could not recall if either of them was the original that left an imprint in my mind. As much as I enjoyed putting Brenda Lee's cover on repeat, Dennis Brown's cover of "Pretend" stands out the most. It's not because it was better or different, but because somewhere in Jamaica, a young man enjoyed listening to "Pretend" so much that he decided to cover it himself. Brown's version left a good memory for that DJ who still plays "Pretend You're Happy" once in a while on the air, and I gain something out of his appreciation for that track. I'll never know what version I heard first, but I know that we all get to share an Oldie, regardless of what genre it plays in.