Greatest Hits: Wayne Newton’s Best-Loved Cover SongsOctober 5, 2016
When it comes to music, the unforgettable hit song “Danke Schoen” comes to mind for hundreds of millions of people when they think of Wayne Newton. The classic composition has a great story behind it: it was first offered to Bobby Darin, who instead insisted that Newton make it his own … a true original.
But Newton is also famed for his one-of-a-kind artistic interpretations of songs made famous by other performers. Here’s a fun look at some of the noteworthy cover songs he’s thrilled fans with over the years of his amazing career.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Newton liberally mined the vast treasure trove of American, English, Irish and Scottish songcraft that stretches back to the early 1900s. Most notably, he was famed for his heart-wrenching, teary version of “Danny Boy.” In fact, this song brought him to the attention of one of his showbiz mentors: Jackie “The Great One” Gleason! He also got feet tapping and bodies swaying with jazzy standards like “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “(Won’t You Come Home) Bill Bailey.” With his swinging take on “Mack the Knife,” he even cracked open German’s composer Kurt Weill’s modernist songbook. He also brought a whole new light to George Gershwin’s nostalgic “Swanee.”
As his musical career blossomed, Newton next took on a daunting task: reinterpreting songs made famous by the Rat Pack. He’s most well known for his wistful “Summer Wind,” a work indelibly linked to Frank “The Chairman of the Board” Sinatra. He also took on Dean Martin’s “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You,” even performing it on The Lucy Show (in the role of a ranch hand, of all things!). Newton has also sang a simulated duet with the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr., in a rendition of “Once Before I Go.”
And while not part of the Rat Pack, but definitely a Las Vegas luminary to match, Elvis “The King of Rock and Roll” Presley’s “Polk Salad Annie” received the Newton touch on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. And “Viva Las Vegas” is always a highlight of Newton’s live performances, including his current show at Bally’s Las Vegas — “Wayne Newton: Up Close & Personal.”
For other rock and roll classics, Newton has taken on the harmony of “When Will I Be Loved” by the Everly Brothers and the crooning of “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison. He’s also been known to strum some country chords on Glenn Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”!
Of course, Newton covers holiday chestnuts every year with renditions of Christmas carols like “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Silent Night.” These are always audience favorites.
And recently this year, Newton made a big splash with a pair of live covers. First, he ripped on the electric guitar alongside Las Vegas modern rock legends, the Killers, for a version of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” at the grand opening of the T-Mobile Arena on the Strip. Then, he recently joined in with his six-string axe with the Roots on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. They played a smokin’ rendition of “C.C. Rider,” the American blues standard.
There are many more cover songs in Wayne Newton’s repertoire. Take a look through your home album covers and find more! You can also find purchase CDs in our Shops at Shenandoah on your next visit.