The only other band that immediately come to mind when I was thinking of covers of this Buddy Holly original was by some small one-hit wonder band from Liverpool called The Beatles (apologies if you haven’t heard of them, I don’t think they broke out of the local scene). So, not much to live up to then.
In high school, a friend and I drove two hours to a blues festival in rural Maine one Saturday. When we got to the gate we found tickets to be well outside of our meager budget, but there was only one artist we’d wanted to see anyway: Johnny Winter. So we found a low fence we could peer over, and sat, and waited.
Pat Benatar‘s “Love is a Battlefield” is indelibly linked to the ’80s, both because anyone who grew up in that era couldn’t escape its broad reach and because of the decade’s stereotypical flourishes found throughout the song: synths, reverb, and melodrama. Despite the fact that it hasn’t aged particularly well, Benatar’s powerful and emotive voice is enough to make it worth keeping on your iPod, even if you only listen sparingly. It’s the sound of young love and desperation. Although the new version by Wrongchilde is very different in sound, that essence of desperation remains.
A musical group that has been described as a sort of “warm and fuzzy” emo band may not immediately sound like the type of group to cover a Robyn song. Chicago-based Kittyhawk, however, has not only managed to cover Robyn’s highly danceable hit, but has done so in an adorable and charming manner for Space Jam Sessions.
Covers albums are commonly filled with songs that have special meaning to the band and often had an impact on the members. “Break-Up album” usually refers to a collection of songs dedicated to the end of a recent, often painful, relationship. Brooklyn band Quiet Loudly missed both of those memos. Their album is filled with songs chosen at the whim of a few fans who pledged a certain amount on the previous album’s Kickstarter, and the “Break Up” referred to is the band itself.
Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” has been misinterpreted many times by casual listeners, politicians and fist-pumping audience members. The rock anthem’s buoyant arrangement, designed for arenas in the 1980s, and the simplicity of the single line chorus, make it easy to overlook the verses that describe the hardships and challenges faced by veterans of the Vietnam War.
Mark Oliver Everett, sometimes known simply as E, always pulls off great covers. And he often does it best when he slows the song down wringing every last bit of emotion from the source material. Recently, the Eels frontman performed a version of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ in Amsterdam, in tribute to Steve Perry, the ex-frontman of Journey. This tribute to Perry seemed in response to the ex-Journey man partially coming out of his self-imposed retirement to perform with the Eels at recent gigs in the US.