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Songs don’t get much dirtier than the Stooges‘ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Not dirty lyrically – no curse words here – but dirty sonically. The slimy three-chord riff crawls through the mud, ignoring any pretense of real melody. The low-down crunch of Ron Asheton’s guitar fits the self-loathing lyrics perfectly. A five year old could play the riff, but recreating the feeling would be a challenge indeed.
John Velghe doesn’t try. Instead, he strips away any hint of electricity, blending acoustic picking and chugging cello for a romantic duet. “I’d been performing this song live for almost a decade as the raucous rock anthem that it was originally,” he tells us. “Then one day I played it on my acoustic and this cover was born. Some will be offended, some will be pissed, but honestly, I think it’s one of the most gorgeous songs in music history no matter how it’s performed.”