Sanchez to the worldSunday, October 24, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk continues its month-long feature titled 'Cover Me Good'. It will look at songs covered by Jamaican artistes which became hits.
Released in 1962, The End of The World by Skeeter Davis was a turning point in what was then known as country and western music. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Magazine pop chart and marked a new chapter for what was shunned as American hillbilly music.
The End of The World was also a big hit in Jamaica, where country and western had a massive base. In 1989, when Sanchez covered it as End of The World for producer Lloyd “King Jammys” James, it became a dancehall anthem.
Sanchez had broken through two years earlier with Loneliness, a cover of Jermaine Jackson's Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone. He did several successful follow-ups, but End of The World had a mid-tempo, lovers' rock feel that did the original justice.
Davis's version was recorded at a time when country and western was trying to reshape its image. Davis and fellow singers Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves were cutting crossover songs that appealed to music fans outside their traditional base in the American South and Midwest.
A similar situation was taking place in Jamaica during the late 1980s. Sanchez's crooner style was more radio-friendly compared to hard-core dancehall singers like Barrington Levy and Tenor Saw, who emerged early that decade.
That commercial transition was due largely to Steely and Clevie, who were responsible for many of the monster beats from Jammys' studio during that period. End of The World was one of their most successful productions and arguably the biggest song in Jamaica 32 years ago.
Interestingly, Skeeter Davis performed at the Jamaica World Music Festival in Montego Bay in 1982. It was maybe the most diverse event of its kind staged in Jamaica, with Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead and Rick James on the card.
The country legend admitted to being nervous before taking the stage. She was shocked at the audience response; they knew her songs word for word and sang raucously along to The End of The World.
Davis died in 2004 from breast cancer at age 72. Six years later, Sanchez covered another of her songs, I Can't Stay Mad at You, which also enjoyed a good run in dancehall circles.