About a year after Paul Simon told the world that he was a rock (he recorded a solo version of the song before doing one with Art Garfunkel) John E Sharpe & The Squires decided that being a rock was a good thing so they also recorded the song. And they do a pretty good job of it. While the Simon & Garfunkel version is in their early folky style, Sharpe & his Squires take a slightly heavier (but not heavy) approach, turning it into a great garage/beat rock song with an organ underpinning the guitars and drums and a twiddly piano doing the twiddly guitar sounds that are on the Simon & Garfunkel version.
I’m not sure if Simon & Garfunkel were pleased with the results of John E Sharpe’s cover or not, but they decided to enter the Springbok top 20 with ‘Homeward Bound’ the week after John E Sharpe & The Squires’ version of ‘I Am A Rock’ did. The Simon & Garfunkel hit ‘The Sounds Of Silence’ was already in the top 20 at that point so we were overdosing on Paul Simon compositions. 10 weeks later both ‘I Am A Rock’ and ‘Homeward Bound’ left the charts after the former had peaked at 5.
Interestingly, the single of John E Sharpe & The Squires’ version of it list the songs as ‘I’m A Rock’ while they clearly sing ‘I Am A Rock’. Maybe the shortened title was because their version is approximately 22 seconds shorter than the Simon & Garfunkel version (although I suspect it was just a typo). No matter though how they spelt it, it was a great cover of a classic tune.
Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 2 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40486 (CD)