Who Sings Handbags and Gladrags? Discover the Iconic Voices Behind the Classic

Ever heard the soulful melody of “Handbags and Gladrags” and wondered who’s behind that captivating voice? It’s a tune that’s been covered by a slew of artists, but its journey started somewhere special.

bag vanity featured image

The original version has its own unique charm, a reflection of the era it hails from. You might be surprised to find out that the artist who first brought it to life isn’t the one who made it famous.

Get ready to dive into the story of this classic hit, exploring its origins and the various artists who’ve added their own spin to it over the years. It’s a musical ride through time that’ll give you a fresh appreciation for this timeless track.

The Original Version of “Handbags and Gladrags”

Discover the roots of this soulful melody. The song was first penned and recorded by Mike d’Abo in 1967, the former vocalist of Manfred Mann. His version, though less commercially known, carries the raw emotion and depth that later renditions aimed to echo.

Imagine a time when the simplicity of a piano and the heartfelt vocals were all it took to convey a message. The lyrics speak to the fleeting nature of materialism, a theme that transcends time. The original recording resonates with an authenticity that reflects the era’s mood.

Don’t let the lack of fame fool you. This original track laid the groundwork for the covers that followed. It’s a musical blueprint, rich with emotion and stripped-back instrumentation, that other artists sought to replicate and interpret through their own styles.

Mike d’Abo was ahead of his time, crafting a tune that would become a classic. It might not have topped the charts initially, but as you peel back the layers, you’ll find a gem that sparked a legacy. Explore this raw version and connect with the essence of “Handbags and Gladrags.”

With powerful storytelling through music, it’s easy to see why this song has endured. It speaks to changing fashions and the genuine qualities that remain when the glamour fades. It’s these themes that have resonated with listeners for generations, making the song an enduring classic.

So, when you listen to the original, pay attention to the nuances, the emotion in the voice, and the simplicity of the arrangement. Let the song take you back to the times when music was not only heard but deeply felt.

The Journey of the Song

After Mike d’Abo crafted the poignancy of “Handbags and Gladrags,” the song began its unique journey through the musical landscape. Chris Farlowe was the first to bring the song into the public ear with his version in 1969. While Farlowe’s rendition didn’t skyrocket to the top of the charts, it resonated with a soulful blues essence that captured the essence of d’Abo’s lyrics.

Rod Stewart, with his raspy and passionate vocal style, released his cover in 1969 as well, featured on his album ‘An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down’. Stewart’s interpretation would eventually become one of the most well-known versions. His distinctive voice and the song’s poignant message created a blend that struck a chord with audiences. It was a match that propelled the song further into iconic status.

Years passed, and “Handbags and Gladrags” found its way to the Welsh rock band Stereophonics. Known for their raw rock appeal, they added a modern twist to the song in 2001. Their cover, which became the theme for the hit television show ‘The Office,’ introduced the tune to a new generation and reinstated the song’s appeal in the contemporary music scene.

Here’s a quick view of the song’s major cover versions by the years:

Artist Year
Chris Farlowe 1969
Rod Stewart 1969
Stereophonics 2001

The song has been a vehicle for various artists to express nuances of life’s embedded messages — the clash of appearance versus substance. Despite the years and varied interpretations, the heart of “Handbags and Gladrags” remains. Each artist leaves their mark, yet the essence that d’Abo captured remains undisturbed, weaving through the decades.

While it’s clear that “Handbags and Gladrags” has made its mark across various music eras, your deeper appreciation for this piece may just lead you to unearth versions of the song that have yet to be widely recognized.

Artists Who Covered “Handbags and Gladrags”

Imagine a song so versatile, it’s been embraced by artists across various musical genres. That’s the story of “Handbags and Gladrags.” Beyond Chris Farlowe and Rod Stewart, whose renditions left a significant imprint on the music scene, a spectrum of musicians have lent their voices to this timeless tune.

Chase and Dave took a swing at it, infusing their own style into the song’s rich narrative. They followed the beats of Farlowe and Stewart, aiming to resonate with fans who appreciate a touch of classic rock and soul. Moving forward, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra provided a symphonic interpretation, which speaks volumes about the song’s adaptability and widespread appeal.

Here’s a swift look at some standout covers:

  • Stereophonics, 2001 release
  • Bradley Walsh, featured in his 2016 album “Chasing Dreams”
  • Jon English, an Australian twist from his 1973 album “Wine Dark Sea”

Diving into the dynamics of “Handbags and Gladrags,” it’s evident that the song has a chameleon-like quality, fitting into diverse musical landscapes.

Year Artist Album/Release
1971 Chase and Dave Single release
1993 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra “Symphonic Rock” album
2001 Stereophonics “Just Enough Education to Perform”
2016 Bradley Walsh “Chasing Dreams”
1973 Jon English “Wine Dark Sea”

Remember, every cover carries the essence of the original song, yet injects a unique flavor. Whether it’s a rock band aiming for the charts or an individual artist drawing from their personal style, “Handbags and Gladrags” continues to shine. Explore these adaptations and discover how each one contributes to the song’s enduring legacy.

Different Interpretations of the Classic Hit

“Handbags and Gladrags” resonates with musicians across genres. You’ve witnessed its evolution from a soulful ballad to modern adaptations that still honor the song’s essence. Think about how each artist leaves an imprint, shaping the track with their style and era.

Rod Stewart is often the voice you recall, his rasp delivering the melody with a poignant edge. His take on the song is a benchmark, heightening the emotional weight behind the lyrics. But don’t stop there. Consider Chris Farlowe’s version, the original delivery that sets the foundational tone, rich with a bluesy feel that beckons appreciation.

Dive into Stereophonics’ rendition, a refreshing early 2000s twist. Their interpretation surges with a rock vibe, the guitar riffs adding a layer of urgency. It’s more than a simple cover; it’s a reinterpretation for a new audience.

Jon English takes a dramatic approach, his theatrical background infusing a gripping delivery. Listen to how he commands attention with every note, turning the song into an almost narrative experience.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, on the other hand, strips the vocals, letting the orchestral arrangements articulate the song’s complexities. The instrumental version exposes the melodies and harmonies that underpin the track’s timeless quality.

Your music library might already include Chase and Dave or Bradley Walsh’s covers. Notice their distinctive approaches – whether it’s a pop-infused angle or a crooner’s touch, each adaptation adds depth to the song’s ongoing story.

Imagine the variety of “Handbags and Gladrags” arrangements as a wardrobe of musical styles. Each artist dresses the song in new textures and colors, yet the classic silhouette remains. Explore these versions, each with a unique sartorial elegance much like the fashion industry you adore. They maintain the integrity of the original while showcasing the versatility and eternal relevance of a true classic.


So you’ve seen how “Handbags and Gladrags” has been reimagined by a diverse group of artists each infusing their unique touch into this timeless piece. It’s a testament to the song’s universal appeal and the enduring power of music to connect across generations. Dive into these renditions and you’ll find that no matter the interpretation the heart of the song beats on. Whether it’s the soul-stirring vocals of Rod Stewart or the contemporary twist of the Stereophonics your musical journey through this classic is bound to be rich and rewarding. Happy listening!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who originally recorded “Handbags and Gladrags”?

“Handbags and Gladrags” was originally recorded by Chris Farlowe in the 1960s.

Did Rod Stewart perform “Handbags and Gladrags”?

Yes, Rod Stewart released a version of “Handbags and Gladrags” in 1969, which became one of the song’s most well-known renditions.

Have modern artists covered “Handbags and Gladrags”?

Yes, modern artists like Stereophonics and Bradley Walsh have covered “Handbags and Gladrags,” bringing their own contemporary style to the song.

Does the article suggest that newer versions of the song differ significantly from the original?

The article suggests that new interpretations maintain the essence of the original, while adding their own unique depth and variety.

What is the central theme of the article regarding “Handbags and Gladrags”?

The central theme of the article is the song’s ability to transcend generations, with different artists adding to its richness while respecting the classic silhouette and integrity of the original.

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