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…
Continue reading »

Aug 252017
 

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.

This week we’re working through the entire six decades that produced over 150 versions of this timeless Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. You can read what we said about the ’60s, the ’70s, and the ’80s by following the links. Now to end the century in style…

Part IV: The ’90s

The ‘90s were weird. A variety of styles and quality were reflected during the decade. Although the output of verifiable covers more than doubled over the previous 10 years, none would challenge the staying power of Naked Eyes’ ‘83 version. But Mr. Bacharach could have never predicted the popularity of grunge and it would have been hard to envision any of his songs being delivered in that alt rock style or any of its indie/emo/power pop offshoots. The decade brought us that, and as you’ll see, much more. In the ‘90s…
Continue reading »

Aug 242017
 

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.

This week we’re working through the entire six decades that produced over 150 versions of this timeless Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. We’ve talked about the ’60s and the ’70s; now it’s time for…

Part III: The ’80s

Were it not for Naked Eyes, the highlight of the ‘80s may have been Sandie Shaw’s re-recording of her own classic work for the 1985 British romantic comedy Letter to Brezhnev. Sure there were a few disco/dance cover versions produced, but the inventive duo of Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher helped kick off a “new wave” of worldwide popularity for a song that was nearly 20 years old at the time. In all, verified cover versions released during the decade barely broke double-digits. But the all time low output belied the quality and power of Naked Eyes’ 1983 release. The few attempts made weren’t (really) bad; they were just dwarfed in comparison by an 800-pound gorilla. Here’s how the decade looks…

Continue reading »

Aug 232017
 

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.

This week we’re working through the entire six decades that produced over 100 versions of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” the timeless Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. If you missed yesterday’s post, where we introduced the song and “covered” its origins, you can find it here.

Part II: The ’70s

R.B. Greaves’ cover of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” to our mind the best cover version of the ‘60s, vanished from the Billboard charts in March of 1970. The rest of this decade pretty much went downhill after that. Not every decade has been great for covers of the song, but the ‘70s represent the low-water mark. Is that an indictment of this decade’s popular music in general? Possibly.

It would be hard to argue the case that any of our choices below is good enough to move forward in a best-of-all-time playoff. Half of the verified baker’s dozen of covers released were instrumentals – the highest whole number and percentage for any decade. Thankfully, most are not available online, but if you must, here are the Moog synthesizer and “happy” Hammond organ versions. That doesn’t mean everything was bad. But after the standouts, we’ll point out a few dishonorable mentions before moving forward tomorrow. So in the ‘70s…
Continue reading »

Aug 222017
 

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.

Today (8/22) marks the 53rd anniversary of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” making its first appearance on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. First recorded in 1963 as an unreleased demo sung by 22-year-old Dionne Warwick, a soon-to-be Bacharach protégé, it’s been covered well over 150 times since, with at least a half dozen of those achieving varying degrees of Billboard chart success. It continues to be a goldmine for its authors, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It’s not just popular to record, either – add in commercial uses of the song, from TV ads to Xena: Warrior Princess to Mad Men, and you’ll see another huge revenue stream from a song that’s become totally ingrained in modern day popular culture.

With so many versions released over such a long period of time, we found it impossible to narrow the entire list of covers down to only three standouts. So we’ve listened to every version we could find, and in a Cover Me first, we’ll give you the bottom line by decade, starting today with the Sixties. We’ll even throw in some honorable and noteworthy mentions too!
Continue reading »

Aug 182017
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

long distance salvation

Nebraska is the Bruce Springsteen album that it’s cool to like. Springsteen’s previous album, The River, had his biggest hit in “Hungry Heart,” and he was ready to break huge. Instead, he released an album that was literally a demo on a cassette, with all the intimacy and intensity that that entails. “I was interested in writing kind of smaller than I had been,” Springsteen said, and that’s what he did with Nebraska, focusing on individuals in trouble with an intensity that was more cathartic than a mostly-acoustic album would be expected to carry.

The respect that Nebraska has gained over the past three and a half decades has been equally split among fans, critics, and artists. The latter have saluted the album multiple ways, including a 2000 release from Sub Pop called Badlands, a full-album tribute that featured artists from Johnny Cash to Chrissie Hynde to Los Lobos. It had its moments, but a much smaller release called Long Distance Salvation did a much better job at conveying the original’s impact, even as it expanded on Springsteen’s work.
Continue reading »