Since Prince’s death, hundreds of musicians have paid tribute with new covers (just look how many did that first night). And massive names abound: Bruce Springsteen, Smashing Pumpkins, D’Angelo, Mumford and Sons, My Morning Jacket. Just last night even Paul McCartney joined the mix, busting out what’s become the mourning cover of choice, “Purple Rain.” But maybe our favorite new Prince cover so far is by an artist much further under the radar.
We’ve been Land of Leland fans for a while now – back in 2011 Cover Me readers commissioned him to cover Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere,” and then earlier this year we premiered his new Whitney Houston cover. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait another five years for a follow-up, as he’s recently posted a cover of Björk’s “Unravel” to his Bandcamp.
Last year, Alanis Morissette’s monster album Jagged Little Pill celebrated its 20th birthday and, as happens on such occasions, got its own big box set. For an even better tribute, though, check out The Land Below’s new cover of one of the album’s hit single, “Hand in My Pocket.” Over low synth drones and a slow crescendo, Sweden’s Erik Lindestad sings the haunting melody at about half the speed of the original. For even those of us who were not Alanis fans the first time around, this cover is revelatory.
Last week, the Mountain Goats wrapped up a short tour at NYC’s City Winery. It’s a venue much smaller than they’d normally play in town, which is no accident: the concept of the tour was playing lesser-known songs and rarities in listening-room environments. As frontman John Darnielle put it, “smaller rooms, audible frequencies, making eye contact with people in the back row”. These shows were for the superfans (though is there any other kind with this band?). Fittingly, the tour finale saw three rare and new covers: Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark,” Goldfinger’s “Superman,” and even a huge singalong on the classic western song “Home on the Range.”
Since Prince’s sudden passing yesterday, tributes have poured in from artists around the world. Some of those artists had concerts scheduled last night and took the opportunity to play Prince covers – in some cases covers they’d performed before, in other cases covers the put together last-minute to pay tribute to the legend. Either way, this first night of covers is raw and wonderful, a first-run at what will no doubt be thousands of new covers to come (Coachella is this weekend…)
We’ve rounded up a bunch that have either video or audio below. They’re mostly live from concerts last night, but in a couple cases they’re from artists who couldn’t wait for their next show and posted new covers themselves. We’ll keep adding more as they surface. We know The Damned covered “Manic Monday” and Christine and the Queens covered “I Feel For You” – anyone got full video for those?
If you don’t live in Australia, the name Hoodoo Gurus might not mean much to you, but in the ’80s and early ’90s they were one of the nation’s preeminent college rock bands (think R.E.M. or The Feelies). Though they never found equally huge acclaim stateside, since reuniting they’ve been crowned veritable national treasures back home, being inducted into the Australian music hall of fame a few years ago, and having a song adopted as the official theme song of the National Rugby League (speaking of things that never made it big in the states…). And now, on their current tour of Australia, The Decemberists have begun performing a cover of one of the band’s biggest hits, “Death Defying.”