Feb 072016
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Garth Brooks was my first musical hero. Looking back now, it feels a little weird saying that. I didn’t have a great love for music as a young kid. The few albums I owned when I was 10 were Beach Boys cassettes. I think I only liked them because they reminded me of being on vacation when I was stuck in a winter fog. So why Garth?

It started slowly. The songs from his self-titled first album were always on the radio. I must have heard “The Dance” a thousand times. Things cranked up a little when No Fences came out in 1990. “Friends in Low Places” was everywhere.  Ropin’ the Wind took things to another level not too long after. All the kids at school in Bean Station, Tennessee were going crazy over Garth. Heck, everybody everywhere was going crazy over Garth. Rolling Stone put him on their cover; he was crossing over into the mainstream. This Is Garth Brooks played on TV, and I watched it with my dad. He was mad that Garth smashed a guitar. I was thrilled that Garth changed the words to “Friends in Low Places” and told some lady she could kiss his ass. I was in.
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Jan 272016
 
DavidBowieImagine1983

David Bowie has only covered “Imagine” once, on December 8, 1983. On this final date of his tour supporting Let’s Dance, and the third anniversary of John Lennon‘s assassination, Bowie followed his Lennon cowrite “Fame” with a one-time-only “Imagine” cover in Hong Kong. Audio of that has circulated for years, but video harder to come by. Now it has finally surfaced, complete with Bowie’s heartwarming intro about his friendship with John. Continue reading »

Jan 182016
 

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.

“Sloop John B” is a song that most of us have heard at least a few times in our lives. Popularized by the Beach Boys on their immortal Pet Sounds album, it has been around much longer than that. The song originally came out of the folk tradition in the Bahamas under the title “The John B. Sails.” It was transcribed as early as 1916 by Richard Le Galliene, but really came to fame in America when included by Carl Sandburg in his 1927 folk song collection The American Songbag.

From there, it was recorded multiple times over the years. Notable versions include artists as diverse as Dick Dale, Jimmie Rodgers (under the title “Wreck of the John B”), Johnny Cash (as “I Want To Go Home”), and the Kingston Trio. It was the Kingston Trio, who recorded the song as “(The Wreck of the) John B,” that had the largest influence on the Beach Boys’ take, which would explode in popularity all over the world.
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Jan 132016
 

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, about a man we’ve written of before and surely will again, but perhaps not with as much emotion as we do this week: What’s your David Bowie memory?
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Jan 062016
 
mayhem

The Electric Mayhem has been The Muppets house band since the early years of The Muppet Show.  The band has always been led by vocalist/keyboardist Dr. Teeth (“golden teeth and golden tones”) supported by Janice on lead guitar, Floyd Pepper on bass, saxophonist Zoot, and, of course, Animal on drums. In the past, The Electric Mayhem has covered quite a few songs (their version of “Little Saint Nick” rivals the Beach Boys).  Most recently they covered Kool & The Gang’s funk classic “Jungle Boogie” and now they take on Paul Simon’s 1973 hit, “Kodachrome” for their new ABC show. Continue reading »

Nov 242015
 
Untitled 4

As a songwriter, Stephin Merritt doesn’t need any testaments to his prolificness or originality – the sheer scope of his sweeping, three-disc Magnetic Fields album, “69 Love Songs,” on top of the rest of his discography, is testament enough. And yet, other artists continuously remind us of the enormous scope and degree of his influence with covers from throughout his oeuvre. Recently, Bully and FIDLAR demonstrated this with a cheery take on “Absolutely Cuckoo,” the opener to the aforementioned triple-album. Continue reading »

Nov 112015
 
Hello

In retrospect, it feels like it was only a matter of time before an Adele cover launched a talented young person to viral mega-sensation status – and that time has come. While Adele is always eminently coverable, “Hello” has been a blend of hype machine and vocal power showcase since before it was even released, and it seems a student from Seoul Music High School in Korea has covered just the right song at just the right moment to ride that wave into her own spotlight.  Continue reading »

Nov 062015
 
Chromatics

Chromatics have been teasing us with previews of their long awaited album, Dear Tommy. Instead of releasing the album promised to us over a year ago, Chromatics has flirted with our impatience once more, giving us just enough to hold onto hope with their cover of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” for fashion brand MANGO. Continue reading »