In 1976, English singer Bryan Ferry released a cover version of a 1963 blues song and soared to the top of the charts. That song was the classic Let’s Stick Together.
Let’s Stick Together was written and originally performed by bluesman Wilbert Harrison in 1962. It was released as a single which didn’t make much impact on the charts. The song was about a man trying to keep his marriage together. Harrison reworked his song into Let’s Work Together as a unity song to bring people together in a cultural shift in the US.
The Los Angeles-based band Canned Heat also did a cover of Let’s Work Together but held off on releasing it as at the time Harrison’s version was working its way up the charts, and they wanted to let the originator have his glory. When they released their version in late 1970 climbed the charts and was the band’s first big hit in the UK.
While the melody and arrangement of the songs are very similar the message between Let’s Stick Together and Let’s Work Together are very different. The opening lines of Let’s Stick Together are very personal:
Well now the marriage vow is very sacred
The man put us together now you want to make it
Stick together, come on, come on let’s stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never
However, the opening lines to Let’s Work Together are more of a cultural battle cry:
Together we will stand divided we’ll fall
Come on now people let’s get on the ball
And work together, come on, come on let’s work together, now, now people
Say now together we will stand, every boy, girl, woman, and man
Bryan Ferry decided to cover the more personal original version of the song for his 1976 single and album of the same name. It was his highest charting hit during his solo career and added the now iconic “howl” in the song.
Let’s Stick Together by Bryan Ferry was the number one song in Australia on this day in 1976.
What is your favourite version of the song? Do you prefer the more personal original or the cultural riff of the remake?