Nowhere near as ubiquitous as 1999, When Doves Cry or Kiss or anywhere as dirty as say Darling Nikki, When You Were Mine, by Prince is still a perennial favorite amongst the die-hards and, judging by the small grip of covers today, fellow musicians as well. It’s a simple, stellar piece of heartbreak pop that, despite being released in 1980, could have easily been heard coming out of some Detroit jukebox sandwiched somewhere between The Shirelles and The Shangri-Las. Fun fact: this one was written before Prince started implementing his creative spelling, hence no When U Were Mine.
Like I mentioned above, I’ve assembled a flock of Versions-worthy covers today. Leading with the faves I’m really digging the self explanatory Casiotone For The Painfully Alone‘s fun lo-fi synth pop version. 80’s No Wave chanteuse Cristina always gets high marks around these parts, and her quirk and jerk synth pop doesn’t disappoint. I’m also loving lesser known 90s act Ida and their painfully simple (but then that’s the way it should be) twee-ish indie cut.
Breaking the mold somewhat today is Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele with a (duh) ukelele version and a banjo ballad tribute from Crooked Fingers.
From the east came 3 pop-punk-esque versions from Japan; Cigaretteman, The Pillows and Coaltar of the Deepers (who are technically a little closer to experimental than punk).
Pulled from That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice? album comes the unfortunately nom-ed Dump (aka Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew) with a however great shoegaze influenced version.
I’m gonna cop out at this point with the long descriptors and just lump the last set of various standard sounding but still decent versions from Bette Bright (New Wave/50s), Blue Rubies (Lilith Fair-folk), Grinspoon (rock), Hi-Fi (80s) and Tegan and Sara (indie-folk).
And lastly, I got to give it up for Cyndi Lauper from whom I heard this song for the first time when I was around twelve-ish (mostly due to receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen copies of She’s So Unusual for my Bar Mitzvah that year).
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – When You Were Mine
Cristina – When You Were Mine
Ida – When You Were Mine
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele – When You Were Mine
Crooked Fingers – When You Were Mine
Cigaretteman – When You Were Mine
The Pillows – When You Were Mine
Coaltar of the Deepers – When You Were Mine
Dump – When You Were Mine
Bette Bright – When You Were Mine
Blue Rubies – When You Were Mine
Grinspoon – When You Were Mine
Hi-Fi – When You Were Mine
Tegan and Sara – When You Were Mine
Cyndi Lauper – When You Were Mine
PS Original version for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub…