Mar 172017
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

mac

It may be hard to believe, but in Fleetwood Mac’s hugely successful career, they’ve only had one song go all the way to number one on America’s Top 100. That would be “Dreams,” the second single from 1977’s Rumours, and it saw Stevie Nicks running through the gamut of emotions after her breakup with Lindsey Buckingham, a subject she doesn’t even try to disguise. “Who am I to keep you down?” she asks at the start, before reminding him of the consequences of leaving her – he’ll be alone, trapped with his memories of her. But he’ll come through it all in the end, when (not if) the rain washes him clean. The backing is spare, with Mick Fleetwood and John McVie not just providing the rhythm but the musical focus, while Buckingham adds atmosphere with very occasional guitar flourishes. It all makes for beautiful uneasiness, and the song’s success was much deserved.
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Jan 202017
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

gnr

One could make the argument that ’80s rock ‘n’ roll changed the moment W. Axl Rose stepped off a bus with a piece of hay between his teeth. That was the indelible image that opened the video for “Welcome to the Jungle,” a song that opened with a great “SundaySundaySUNDAYYYY!!” riff from Slash and took the listener on a ride – no, a careen through the worst that the big city had to offer. It opened the best-selling debut album of all time, 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, with as big a bang as one could ask for, and to this day it intimidates visiting teams at sporting events nationwide.
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Nov 042016
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Doors

When the Doors went to number one with “Hello, I Love You,” many of their fans called them sellouts. Never mind they’d already gotten to number one with “Light My Fire” the year before; this time around, the thinking went, they were out to write a hit single and leave their darker stuff behind. More than half a century has passed since Jim Morrison wrote about that dusky jewel walking across the California beach sands, and while you can count the number of people who hum “Horse Latitudes” these days on the thumb of one hand, “Hello, I Love You” has maintained its status as a much-beloved classic of the sixties.
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Oct 142016
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

otis redding

Otis Redding built one of his greatest songs out of almost nothing. Guitarist and co-writer Steve Cropper explains: “‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’ was just a riff I’d used on a few songs with the MG’s. Otis worked it up with the horns in about 10 minutes as the last thing we did one night in the studio. Just a riff and one verse that he sings over and over. That’s all it is.”

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Jul 272016
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

bobbieg

In the summer of ’67, when Sgt. Pepper ruled the land and light pop songs like “Windy” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” were high on the charts, a song came out of the South the like of which had never been heard. Murky and mysterious, prompting far more questions than it answered, “Ode to Billie Joe” cast a spell over America, and Bobbie Gentry (who turns 72 today) was thrust into the spotlight to say what she knew about the unknowable song she’d written and sung.
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Jul 082016
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

mj

Michael Jackson released his Off the Wall album the month he turned 21, and nothing showed his artistic maturation like the opening track and lead single, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Penned solely by Jackson, it marked the first time he used his falsetto and the squeals and yelps that soon became identified with him. It got him his first solo number one hit in seven years, succeeding 1972’s “Ben,” and it was a very long way from singing about a pet rat to the love and sensations of the Force (featured in arguably one of the most misheard lyrics in 20th century music). Most importantly, the revelation of his talent(s) prompted an instant reevaluation of his stature as an artist. Michael Jackson had arrived; the public couldn’t get enough, and he wasn’t stopping.
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