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…
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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. Continue reading »

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.

Demae Wodu is one third of jazzy, conscious hip-hop crew Hawk House from London. In between her work with the upcoming group she records rough demos and covers as her alter ego Bubblerap and uploads certain selections to her Soundcloud.

Just over a week ago her fans were in for a treat when she put up her own extremely chilled-out cover of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’. She has laid her sweet-as-honey vocals over a very smooth beat which comes courtesy of a Flying Lotus outtake called ‘Lately’.

In my opinion, FlyLo should definitely be getting in touch with Demae if she can turn an unused instrumental into something as beautiful as this cover. Check it out below.

Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul. Her legacy speaks for itself: 18 Grammy Awards, the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the creator of one of the greatest covers of all time with her version of Otis Redding’s “Respect.” At age 72, and despite recent health issues, she’s still an amazing vocalist.  So anticipation for her first album in 3 years, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics due out October 21st, is understandably high. The album will cover classics by Etta James, The Supremes, and Gladys Night, as well as newer tracks by Alicia Keys and the first released single, Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep.” Continue reading »

The Squidbillies, an animated show on Adult Swim about mud squids living in Appalachia, has a special twist for its fans this season. The eighth season, which started on September 21, featured the show’s traditional theme song covered by Neko Case. Case is just the first of several musicians – including Todd Rundgren, King Khan and the Shrines, Centro-Matic, Dwight Yoakam, and Milk Carton Kids – that will be covering the theme for this season. Continue reading »

The majority of us would probably take it easy after having stared death in the face, but not Tim Showalter, brainchild behind the folk-synth-rock project Strand of Oaks. Continue reading »

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Loaded, released forty-four years ago this week, was the album that marked the end of the Velvet Underground as we knew them – or, more accurately, as we never knew them until after they broke up, when those few thousand who bought the first record formed their own bands and named them as an influence. Trying to make the slickest, most commercial album they could, they still failed to crack Billboard‘s Top 200, but they scored some of the best reviews of their career; Rolling Stone‘s Lenny Kaye wrote, “Each cut on the album, regardless of its other merits, is first and foremost a celebration of the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, all pounded home as straight and true as an arrow.”
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