Curtis Zimmermann

Curtis Zimmermann works as an advertising sales executive for an academic publisher in Philadelphia. He’s been a music critic, news reporter, financial fraud investigator and spent many years in corporate sales, all the while maintaining a healthy obsession with music history. He first became intrigued with genre-bending covers in college when he stumbled across a used copy of Ray Charles’ box set “The Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959 - 1986.”

Oct 082019
 
dragonforce my heart will go on

Celine Dion’s Oscar-winning ballad from Titanic has been reinterpreted by headbangers near and far – pretty much wherever there are long-haired dudes with guitars. A quick Google search on “Heavy Metal Covers My Heart Will Go On” yields many results. The latest to give the track the metal treatment is DragonForce, who included it as the closing track on the new album Extreme Power Metal. Continue reading »

Sep 272019
 
zac brown band shoofly pie

The Zac Brown Band has always had a penchant for singing about food. The group’s best-known track is “Chicken Fried.” The song uses the words “chicken fried” as a refrain alongside edibles and potables associated with country music, such as “sweet tea, pecan pie, and homemade wine.” Continue reading »

Sep 242019
 

In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?”

The iconic keyboard intro, the rattle of the high-hat, and then Bruce Springsteen’s immortal words, “Blinded by the Light.” Only it’s not Bruce singing: it’s Chris Thompson, lead singer of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, covering the first track from Springsteen’s 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

If you read Cover Me’s list of top Springsteen covers, published yesterday, you were probably either shocked, or relieved, not to see it on the list. I was even more surprised that it got rejected for inclusion. It is, after all, the only Springsteen-penned song to reach the number one spot on Billboard. (Editor’s note: I couldn’t believe it either, but it’s true – three #5s, two #2s, no other #1s.) I found absolutely no references to it on compilations of worst all-time covers. So instead of penning a simple paragraph for the list explaining why it’s a solid cover, “with a boulder on my shoulder” I wrote this article instead.

Continue reading »

Sep 232019
 
jazzmeia horn green eyes

Erykah Badu is considered to be one of the pioneers of the ‘90s musical genre known as neo soul. Her music fused elements of different eras of soul, hip hop and jazz. Her 1997 debut album Baduizm was considered groundbreaking. These days, because of streaming, we take it for granted when an artist blends together musical styles from across different eras. Back then, displaying such a cross-section of musical influences required not only a tremendous talent but access to a deep music collection. Continue reading »

Aug 272019
 

thtIn the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

mighty mighty bosstones covers

The Boston-based collective known as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones exploded in popularity in 1997, with the release of its fifth album Let’s Face It. Powered by the decade-defining classic “The Impression That I Get,” the band, with its raucous sound and slick-suit-wearing-punk style, captured a moment in time. This mainstream success came at an odd period in pop music history, at the tail end of the decline of grunge, but just before the global takeover of the Swedish-pop hegemon.

The commercial triumph of Let’s Face It led to the inevitable gripes from long-time fans, who grudgingly purchased the album while complaining that it was not as good as whatever early Bosstones’ record they had bought first. Ironically, the album was not actually a significant stylistic leap forward for the band; the pop-culture landscape had simply shifted.

Continue reading »

Aug 202019
 
elvis presley comeback covers

Fifty years ago in the summer of 1969, an event occurred that changed the face of American popular music forever. As swarms of baby boomers were heading to and from Bethel, N.Y., their older siblings – and possibly their parents – made pilgrimages to the desert to see the King. On July 31, Elvis Presley returned to the stage for a month-long series of concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, his first live performances since 1961. Continue reading »