Ray Padgett

Based in New York City and Vermont, Ray Padgett founded Cover Me in 2007 as a college student and has overseen it ever since. His writing has appeared in SPIN, MTV, Mashable, Consequence of Sound, and an upcoming Bob Dylan anthology. He's been interviewed about cover songs by the Wall Street Journal and the BBC and is currently working on a book on the subject. To preempt the oft-asked question, he doesn't think cover songs are better than originals; he just believes they're undervalued. Without covers, the world wouldn't have Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, or even the Beatles. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

Nov 062015
Bond Week

This is Part Two of our countdown of the 24 best Bond theme covers (for the 24 movies). Read the introduction and download the first set of 12 covers at Part One here.
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Nov 052015
Bond Week

For a musician, the honor getting to sing the James Bond theme song is in its own category. Many movies need songs, but you never see articles wondering who will do the next Fast and the Furious song (even though more people would likely hear your song there than in Bond). Giving their music to sell a product is something musicians regularly do, but rarely take as a career honor.

But given the track record Bond theme songs have had, the appeal makes sense. James Bond songs might even have a higher batting average than James Bond movies (and certainly higher than James Bond actors). And there’s a prevailing sense artists are chosen for abilities beyond just star-power, despite plenty of counterexamples over the years. Some of the most iconic songs were sung by singers who rarely topped the charts elsewhere – three by Shirley Bassey alone – whereas attempts to grab zeitgiesty performers have flopped. Continue reading »

Oct 282015

To many listeners, James Blake first announced himself via an amazing cover of Feist’s “Limit To Your Love.” He doesn’t do covers that often, but every time he does they are revelatory (see also: his version of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”). Now he has done it once again with a sparse electronic version of Simon & Garfunkel‘s “Sound of Silence.” Continue reading »

Oct 272015

As you may remember, Bob Dylan kicked off his year with a weird – but terrific – tribute album to Frank Sinatra. Well we may see a second volume of Shadows in the Night before we see one of Chronicles, because on his new European tour he’s already started sprinkling three more Sinatra covers into his setlists: “All or Nothing At All,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and “Melancholy Mood”.

Fans of Shadows will find a lot to love in these new renditions. They’re all brisk versions sung from the heart, with emphasis on Donnie Heron’s beautiful pedal steel. He’s actually tried one of these before, recording “Come Rain or Come Shine” for his 1986 album Knocked Out Loaded before abandoning it. So he’s been living with these songs for a while now. Continue reading »

Oct 222015

Six months into this year, we asked our writers What’s your favorite cover song of 2015 so far?. One answer was, in part, a cover of Hozier‘s hit “Take Me To Church” (blended wonderfully with “Crazy in Love”). Well perhaps by year’s end, Hozier will make our list himself with his own cover, of Paul McCartney’s Beatles classic “Blackbird.” Continue reading »

Oct 022015

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!


Empire Burlesque is Bob Dylan’s best country album since New Morning. Or, well, it should have been. Instead, it is considered a nadir of his career.

All the previous Full Albums selections we’ve done for Bob have been undisputed classics: Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding. Empire Burlesque is the opposite. Bob reportedly asked his producer to make him sound like Prince for this 1985 album. Now, his voice is as far from Prince as you can get, so they surrounded his rasp with drum machines, synthesizers, and chirpy backing vocals. Needless to say, it sounds nothing like Prince, and not a lot like Dylan. I’ve always defended this album, but if you can’t stand Men At Work or Culture Club, this may not be the album for you. Continue reading »

Oct 022015

Though you may never have heard of her, Christine and the Queens are huge in France. Her debut album went to #2 last year, her music videos have millions of views, and, judging from poking around YouTube, she’s performed on every French TV show there is. Now, like so many artists before her that have to assure doubters “I’m big in [any country that’s not America]”, she’s trying to break stateside. And she’ll probably do it.

A new version of her debut album is being released in the States, with appearances by Perfume Genius and Tunji Ige. And, in an almost too-perfect metaphor for bridging the cultural divide, one track combines a cover of Kanye West‘s “Heartless” with a cover of “Les Paradis Perdus” by an older French star, Christophe. Continue reading »

Sep 302015

Texas’s Toadies first broke through in 1994 with their classic “Possum Kingdom,” an anthem for rural stalker-murderers everywhere. Twenty years later, they’re still going strong with a new album, Heretics, out this month. It features reimagined versions of fan favorites including, yes, “Possum Kingdom,” plus plenty of songs with equally creepy titles like “Queen of Scars” and “Dollskin.” One song that wouldn’t seem as creepy is a cover of Blondie‘s “Heart of Glass” – but it turns out they made that dark too – similar to what they did with LCD Soundsystem a few years back. Continue reading »