The Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus” was originally recorded and released on their 1990 album Violator. Although it was a mid-level hit, reaching number 13 on the Billboard 200, the bluesy rhythm of the song was a bit of a departure for the die-hard fans. The Mona Lisa of cover versions of the song is, of course, the Johnny Cash rendition that appeared on the Rick Ruben produced American IV: The Man Comes Around, and Sammy Hagar then gave the tune some rock&soul on 2013’s Sammy Hagar and Friends. A personal favorite, the surf guitar version by Los Banditos could fit in quite nicely in any Quentin Tarantino movie.
That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.
If you’re a fan of power pop – roughly speaking, the place where early rock n’ roll, ‘60s bubblegum, and the British Invasion converge – then Blondie probably ranks high on your list of faves. Refracting modern rock through multiple lenses – ’50s pop, ’60s girl groups and ’70s punk, to name a few – the band sucked you in with clever, poppy melodies while maintaining a distance sharpened by dark, ironic humor.
If it doesn’t quite represent their commercial peak, the band’s 1978 album Parallel Lines is without much doubt their finest work, crashing out of the gate with “Hanging on the Telephone,” a near-perfect snapshot of illicit romance and sexual frustration, come and gone in 2 minutes 17 seconds.
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.
In Canada, and among elite musicians, it seems foolish to claim that the work of Emm Gryner flies under the radar. She has a dozen and a half releases to her name, not counting the ones with the folk trio Trent Severn (where she sings and plays bass) and the hard rockers Trapper. She’s played with David Bowie’s band and opened for Def Leppard. Nelly Furtado named her album Science Fair as a desert island disc. Bono was once asked what songs of the previous 20 years he wished he’d written; Gryner’s “Almighty Love” was one of the half-dozen or so he named.
This week, Cover Me celebrates Freddie Mercury 20 years after his passing. Read Part 1 here.
On April 20, 1992, one of the most impressive collections of musicians ever assembled for one show gathered together to pay tribute to Farrokh Bulsara, better known to the world as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who had passed away due to complications from AIDS some six months before. Today, as we approach the 20th anniversary of his passing, Cover Me looks back at this monumental concert event, a celebration of covers and of one of the most unique talents ever to grace the performing arts.
When presented with a series of cover albums called Guilt by Association, one might imagine them to be filled with ironic takes on cheesy pop songs; that threat’s only increased by a volume that promises to present only songs that fall under the classification of “hair metal,” perhaps the most mocked of all genres. Fortunately, Guilt by Association Vol. 3 betrays no sign of hipster bands mocking songs that some people (this reviewer) legitimately love. Instead, it finds a collection of young, talented acts embracing some admittedly overwrought material from the 1980s and truly making it their own. By any metric, Guilt by Association can be considered a success.
Ohio indie rockers Lovedrug have recently released a slew of cover songs to preface their new album Best of I AM LOVEDRUG. The album will feature a wide range of covers of the likes of Third Eye Blind, Fleetwood Mac, Def Leppard and then some. Check out a few preview tracks.
A band has to be either quite confident in their credibility or have an uncanny ability to laugh at themselves to take on a song by Darren Hayes, Savage Garden frontman. When it comes to a Savage Garden cover there’s only one direction a band can take it: up, and that is where Lovedrug goes with it. They take it up into the clouds and far beyond what one might consider the realm of possibility when it came to this song. Lovedrug unmasked the potential in “Insatiable” and managed to distort it into a techno-indie song with ironic panache.