"Born to Lose": From Ted Daffan and His Texans to Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells continues the purple-hearted history of "Born to Lose."
Sleigh Bells continues the purple-hearted history of "Born to Lose."

Over the course of pop music's evolution over the past century or so, history continues to repeat itself. New stars are "the next (fill in the blank)," genres are hyphenated versions of established music styles, and unless you come up with song titles like "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory" or "When 2 R in Love," there's probably another one by the same name floating around.

Sleigh Bells has just revealed a song called "Born to Lose" from its forthcoming Reign of Terror, due on Valentine's Day, 2012. Although Derek Miller's hardcore squall and ethereal vocals by Alexis Krauss are decidedly their own, that title has a 70-year history that traces through country music's humble beginnings, many a punk pasture, a '90s teen soap opera, and a Juelz Santana project that we might never hear. "Born to Lose" hasn't had a happy existence over the years, but a memorable one all the same.

Here's Sleigh Bells' take on the song, and seven-and-a-half others that came beforehand.  

Ted Daffan and His Texans (1942)

Poor Ted Daffan. Obviously, this guy had a beautiful ache in his soul when he composed and recorded the now-standard "Born to Lose." His label had so little respect for him that they didn't even let him submit the song under his own name, so "Frankie Brown" was born to take the credit for a platter that reportedly sold seven million copies.

Ray Charles (1961)
Daffan's classic showed up on the b-side of Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You" single. In typical Genius fashion, Charles makes the song his home to hang up pictures of lost loves, stock the liquor cabinet, and smoke cigarettes out on the back porch. It was also revered by Johnny Cash and one of the least definitive versions ever was later recorded by Leann Rimes.

Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers (1977)
This comes from the garage punk pioneers the Heartbreakers' only studio album, L.A.M.F. (Like a Mother Fucker), and it's a furious update that rides the rancor the phrase would hold for to years to come.  

U.F.O. (1978)
The closing track off British rockers' seventh album. Kind of a sappy number until the 1:54 mark when ex-Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker lays into a bitchin' solo that encapsulates all of the pain and sorrow that a mere mortal's fingers can allow.

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