It has been a mere nine months since Willie Nelson’s last album My Way. That means it’s time for some new music from the Red Headed Stranger. The country stalwart released his latest record Ride Me Back Home on June 21. As with many of Nelson’s albums, it includes a mix of covers and original material. Among the covers is Nelson’s take on Billy Joel’s wedding-band staple “Just the Way You Are.”
More than 35 years after its original release, Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is having a renaissance as of late. In 2018, Hailey Tuck’s rendition of the song earned a spot on our list of top cover songs for the year. This spring, Kari Kimmel recorded a version for the trailer and final episode of Cobra Kai season two (a Karate Kid reboot). Today, the first day of summer, Prima Donna is releasing a guitar-powered rock cover as its new single.
Before Woodstock made them legends. Before the drugs took control. Before the rivalries, the breakups and the reunions. Before the memoirs, the biographies, the documentaries, and yet another breakup. Heck, before Neil Young joined the party. Before all that, there was simply Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Fifty years ago, in May 1969, the supergroup comprised of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash released their self-titled debut album. It catapulted the three singers, all of whom had enjoyed success in other bands, into superstardom. As band biographer Peter Doggett put it, “They cut a debut album that caught the mood of the times.” In retrospect, the record could have been called Greatest Hits: Volume 1. The album contains numerous classics, including “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Helplessly Hoping,” “Marrakesh Express,” “Wooden Ships” and “Long Time Gone.”
Surprisingly, given this record and CSN’s place in rock history, the songs haven’t been covered that much. Secondhandsongs.com lists only 77 known covers of all the tracks on the album. By comparison, there are 208 covers of the tracks from Déjà Vu (that includes 86 versions of “Woodstock,” which was written by Joni Mitchell). Stills’ solo track “Love the One You’re With” has inspired 69 covers. These numbers do not provide a complete picture, as the site usually does not include music on YouTube or SoundCloud. But they give you an idea of just how few artists have decided to tackle these songs.
Still, we found some great covers by such luminaries as Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Richie Havens, and Trey Anastasio. There are also countless home recordings by guys and gals with acoustic guitars and one of best harmonizing bar bands you’ve never heard of. Let’s “set a course and go”…
No one knows Mike Love’s place in rock n’ roll history better than Mike Love himself. In his 2016 memoir Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, Love summed up his legacy perfectly, writing: “For those who believe that Brian [Wilson] walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist.” In a move sure to send the legions of “Love-haters” into fits of online rage, he recently recorded a cover of the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach.” The track was released as a single in advance of Love’s upcoming solo record 12 Sides of Summer.
Odds are you’ve heard Kari Kimmel’s music, whether you realized it or not. The composer has penned songs and scores that have, by her own count, appeared in more than 650 different movies, T.V. shows, video games, trailers and commercials. In addition to her work behind the scenes, Kimmel has released a number of solo albums and EPs. For her latest effort, Kimmel recorded a cover of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” which appeared in both the trailer and final episode of Cobra Kai season two.
Long before Disney began remaking its animated classics into live-action films famed director Robert Altman made Popeye. The 1980 musical starred Robin Williams as the spinach-eating sailor and Shelley Duvall as his love interest Olive Oyl. Upon its release, the film underperformed at the box office and earned mixed reviews from critics. Time has been kinder though, as some have praised it in recent years. “Altman imbues in Popeye a madcap mania that bares more than a few ‘Felliniesque’ touches, with its own intricate orchestration of audio-visual chaos, animated sound effects, breakaway props, and frenzied pratfalls,” writes Screen Mayhem.