Aug 262017
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

Burt Bacharach with The Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a live 2008 performance at the Sydney Opera House.

This week we’re working through the entire six decades that produced over 150 versions of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” the timeless Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. We’ve covered the ’60s, the ’70s, the ’80s, and the ’90s; now it’s time to see the fruits of a new century.

Part V: The ’00s

Jazz proliferated in the cover versions produced between 2000-2010. In total, a few more versions were released this decade than the previous with over a third having roots in one jazz style or another. But for as many as we heard, most were average with one exception. Otherwise, rock & roll made a strong showing, and later we’ll hear from an old friend followed by a few more efforts of note. In the ‘00s…

Brian Whitman’s version is good.

Butch Walker’s version is better.

Jonny Blu’s version is best.

Brian Whitman – (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me (Burt Bacharach cover)

The 2001 Miramax romantic comedy Serendipity, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, spawned a predictable soundtrack album featuring the likes of Annie Lennox and John Mayer. Buried on the album and never airing in the film was this solid rock version of the track. Whitman is better known as a popular radio talk show host, impressionist, and comedian.

Butch Walker – Always Something There to Remind Me (Burt Bacharach cover)

Walker pours out some high-octane hard rock on his ‘05 EP Cover Me Badd. Loaded with high energy, it’s exactly what you would expect from a former glam-metal guitarist.

Jonny Blu – Always Something There (Burt Bacharach cover)

We mentioned the high volume of non-spectacular jazz-based covers produced this decade. However it was Blu, dubbed “the first Caucasian Chinese pop star” for his earlier work, who provided this standout exception. On his ‘08 EP the LA singer channels Michael Bublé and Harry Connick, Jr. with this accessible, swinging romp.

Honorable Mention:

Naked Eyes – Always Something There to Remind Me (Burt Bacharach cover)

Twenty-four years after their smash hit, Pete Byrne and new band members released “Fumbling With the Covers.” The 2007 acoustic album brought back this lush version with great harmonies.

Noteworthy:

• A “hall of shame” rock version from the Xena: The Warrior Princess soundtrack album. (2000)
• The second attempt at a surf guitar version, by Voodoo Court (2000), was better than the first one by Peter Posa (1965).
David Tennant and fellow actors gave us this humorous sing-along-with-Sandie-Shaw in the British television series Blackpool. (2004)

• All that jazz: Patty Ascher (2003), Rosanna (2006), Mel Fausto (2007), Salena Jones (2008).

TOMORROW
Part VI: The ’10s

The original Lou Johnson version can be found on Amazon. The original Sandie Shaw version can also be found on Amazon.

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