For their latest single, ZZ Top draw on an unlikely inspiration: Houston rapper DJ DMD, who had a minor local hit in 1999 with “25 Lighters (ft. Lil’ Keke & Fat Pat).” The bearded trio have renamed it “I Gotsta Get Paid,” and fuzz-riffed it out with a classic chicks and hot rods video.
Early hip-hop Pioneer Heavy D died earlier this month and, as tends to happen when an icon passes, the first awards show to come around featured a lavish tribute. Instead of getting a bunch of youngsters who barely know the music, though, the Soul Train Awards recruited a bunch of his ‘80s and ‘90s peers to cover a medley of Heavy D hits. Heavy D in fact won Best Rap Album back in 1990 with Big Tyme, so the tribute seemed especially apropos.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
Even though the site you’re currently reading focuses solely on cover music, we seldom turn our attention to actual cover acts. Today, though, we’re going to spotlight one that’s risen to a level of notoriety much higher than most of their bar-dwelling brethren — Steel Panther, the most rockin’ band in the land. This four-piece group, comprised of lead vocalist Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxxx and drummer Stix Zadinia (get it?!) expertly merge tremendous musical chops and keen comic sensibilities to both pay tribute to ’80s hair metal icons and lay bare all the ridiculousness inherent to the genre. Through a regular Monday residency on LA’s Sunset Strip, Panther (formerly Metal Skool, Metal Shop and Danger Kitty) has built an impressive following out of their celebratory shows. In fact, the group’s been embraced by LA’s indie comedy community just as much as the world of rock music; in a hilarious episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast, they joke with Human Giant and Children’s Hospital star Rob Huebel that he’s the fifth member of their band, and Sarah Silverman has appeared in their music video for “Death to All but Metal.”
After months of controversy, the Michael Jackson tribute concert Michael Forever went on without a hitch Saturday night. Well, with only a few hitches. Jennifer Hudson and the Black Eyed Peas dropped out at the eleventh hour (one a bigger loss than the other) and a planned live stream on Facebook got nixed by the Jackson estate. Which is a shame, since we’d love to see professional footage from the event. Instead, we have some decent audience clips.
Cee Lo Green has made something of a reputation for himself this summer by peppering his performances with random, seemingly spontaneous karaoke covers that, by most accounts, drag down the show something awful. When he actually focuses on a cover, though, he can’t be beat (see: The Best Cover of 2010). That showed again on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge a few days ago, when he rocked through Miles Kane’s British hit “Inhaler.”
Rave On Buddy Holly, arguably the most hyped cover album of the year, finally drops this week. Rampant previews hinted that the album would be something special, and the A-list lineup of artists doesn’t disappoint. Rave On is a solid, carefully curated collection of tracks from Buddy Holly‘s surprisingly extensive catalog, a worthy tribute to the rock pioneer.
Choosing standouts from such a varied and high-profile set of covers is a challenge. Some of the best moments come from contributors who chose to keep their covers low-key. Dan Auerbach’s vocals gracefully carry the Black Keys‘ quiet, percussion-based opener “Dearest,” while Fiona Apple and Jon Brion trip through a pitch-perfect duet in “Everyday.” My Morning Jacket offers the elegantly subdued “True Love Ways,” embellished with a lovely string section.