Cover Me: "Little Wing" Hendrix vs. Clapton vs. Sting

Cover Me: "Little Wing" Hendrix vs. Clapton vs. Sting

The song "Little Wing" was written by Jimi Hendrix and first recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967.  Derek & The Dominoes (fronted by Eric Clapton & Duane Allman) covered the song three years later on their Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs album.  In 1987, twenty years after the song's birth into our atmosphere, Sting released a version on ...Nothing Like The Sun.  There are more recordings, but these three are special.  Which do you like best?

Cover Me: "Little Wing" Hendrix vs. Clapton vs. Sting

We won't go too deep on this one.  The three versions are very different in style and arrangement.  Let's listen to the original recording by Hendrix.

Now that you've got that in your head, listen to what Clapton and his pals did to the song in 1970.

Sting took a different take.  Way different intro than what Derek & The Dominoes did.

Right off the bat, which version do you like best?  The most produced, slickest version is Sting's.  It's closer to Smooth Jazz than Jimi's original version.  It's also more than twice as long.

The Derek & Dominoes version is crazier than both Sting's and the original.  Sung as a duet between Clapton & Allman, it features a majestic opening, repeated throughout the song, that is completely different from what Hendrix & Sting did.  These guys treated the song like a Phil Spector/Wall Of Sound project, with blaring guitars, bombastic drums, and earnest vocals.

Interestingly, when you listen to all three in a row, you hear the song grow.  The Hendrix version is the baby, feeling its way through your brain.  The Derek & The Dominoes version is the teenager.  It's wild and open and ready for whatever you want to throw at it. The Sting version is the mature, well thought out version.  With perfect placement of saxophone, cool vocal and guitar solos reminiscent of Hendrix's original, it's worthy of its predecessor, albeit maybe a bit too planned.

You've heard all three and thought about each.  One is better than the others.  But which one?  YouChoose!

Dave Philp is Assistant Professor of Music Management at William Paterson University and Chief Organizer Guy of YouChoose, a live events music fundraising and social media company that has raised many, many thousands of dollars for non-profit causes. Join the good fight and help change your corner of the world by visiting YouChoose now: To sign up for our email newsletter, click HERE. Mmkay?