While promoting his latest album, A New Testament, Christopher Owens recorded an in-studio session for the University of Minnesota college station Radio K. During the session, the former Girls frontman pulled out a sentimental and stunning cover of Jackson 5‘s “I’ll Be There.”
Possibly one of the most intriguing new artists of late, New Zealand’s Ella Yellich-O’Connor delivers a deliciously gloomy performance of Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell ‘Em” during her recent visit to BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge.
Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.
Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).
Today’s question, courtesy of staffer Jordan Becker: What’s a cover song you hate, and why?
Ben Howard’s talent lies in the art of stripping down playful synth pop jams and spewing out chill inducing, moody acoustic reworks.
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.
Aretha Franklin is back in the news again, promoting her upcoming cover album Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics and letting fly with her 72-year-old chops on Letterman. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter played his last game, and the Red Sox saluted him by inviting Michelle Brooks-Thompson from “The Voice” to sing “Respect.” She was promptly dubbed “Fake Aretha Franklin.”
Anyway, both events brought back memories of one of the undisputed greatest covers ever recorded. And the original’s nothing to sneeze at, either – this is Otis Redding we’re talking about, expressing as only he could what he’s got-ta, got-ta, got-ta have. “That’s one of my favorite songs because it has a better groove than any of my records,” Redding said. “Everybody wants respect, you know.” It was true – the song took him into the top 40 for only the second time, and the stampede to cover it began. Some of those covers were on the same level as the version by the nun in Airplane!, but a lot more of them rose far above that level…
Atlanta “grass ‘n roll” group Seven Handle Circus recently took to a sunny street corner in New Orleans to record a live cover of A-ha‘s classic ’80s hit. Outfitted with guitar, upright bass, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and call-and-response vocals, the band lends the song a breezy sensibility befitting the performance’s street-side setting.
English new-wavers Tears For Fears are in the midst of their first North American tour in three years. The band has released a slew of fantastic covers over the past year or so – including covers of Hot Chip and Arcade Fire – and just a couple of days ago, they surprised fans in Portland with a live rendition of Radiohead‘s iconic “Creep.”
The Pablo Honey smash has been covered ad nauseum and the band doesn’t stray far from the original. Still, they do bring an energy to the 21-year-old song that the audience feeds off of. Go ahead, plug in your headphones and singalong while listening to the cover below:
Check out more Tears for Fears on the band’s official website.