Nov 102017
 
best covers 1987

Last year I did a roundup of the Best Cover Songs of 1996. It was a fun project to retroactively compile one of our year-end lists for a year before Cover Me was born. I wanted to do it again this year, but continuing the twentieth-anniversary theme with 1997 seemed a little boring. Turns out 1997 also featured a bunch of Afghan Whigs covers.

So to mix it up, I decided to go a decade further back and look at 1987. Needless to say, the landscape looked very different for covers. For one, far more of that year’s biggest hits were covers than we saw for 1996. The year had #1 cover hits in Heart’s “Alone,” the Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter,” Los Lobos’ “La Bamba,” Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me,” and Kim Wilde’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Plus ubiquitous hits that didn’t quite top the charts, but remain staples of the songs-you-didn’t-know-were-covers lists, Buster Poindexter’s “Hot Hot Hot” and George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You.” Continue reading »

Jun 052017
 
carla bruni enjoy the silence

Carla Bruni, the former model, actress, and first lady of France, has released a beautiful rendition of Depeche Mode’s oft-covered “Enjoy the Silence” as the first single off her upcoming English-language covers album, French Touch (out in October).

The song remains one of the legendary British band’s most recognized and beloved contributions to the beautiful soundscape they have created in the four decades they have been active. There have been tons of covers of “Enjoy The Silence” since its release in 1990, but Bruni’s version is sure to be independently admired, as she has treated this piece like an original, stripping it down to a very intimate level.
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Dec 172015
 

Follow all our Best of 2015 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

CoverMeBestSongs2015

I didn’t realize it until I began laying out our post, but this year’s Best Cover Songs list shares quite a few artists with last year’s. And some that showed up here the year before that. Jack White’s on his fourth appearance. And Jason Isbell and Hot Chip not only both reappear from last year, but have moved up in the rankings.

Though we’re always on the lookout for the new (and to be sure, there are plenty of first-timers here too), the number of repeat honorees illustrates how covering a song is a skill just like any other. The relative few artists who have mastered it can probably deliver worthy covers again and again.

How a great cover happens is something I’ve been thinking a lot about this year as I’ve been writing a series of articles diving deep into the creation of iconic cover songs through history (I posted two of them online, and the rest are being turned into a book). In every case the artist had just the right amount of reverence for the original song: honoring its intention without simply aping it. It’s a fine line, and one even otherwise able musicians can’t always walk. Plenty of iconic people don’t make good cover artists (I’d nominate U2 as an example: some revelatory covers of the band, but not a lot by them). Given the skill involved, perhaps it’s no surprise that someone who can do a good cover once can do it again.

So, to longtime readers, you will see some familiar names below. But you’ll also see a lot of new names, and they’re names you should remember. If the past is any guide, you may well see them again next year, and the year after that.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)

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Apr 242015
 

Let’s just get this out of the way.  I love Depeche Mode.  A couple of their albums are always in the running whenever that “you are on stranded island with only one album” question comes up with my friends.  And whenever an opportunity to write about a Depeche Mode cover comes up, I will take it. Continue reading »

Mar 202015
 

Johnny Marr has had quite the career.  Besides being the guitarist for The Smiths, he has also been part of The The, Electronic, The Pretenders, The Cribs and Modest Mouse.  He started a band with Zak Starkey (Ringo’s son) called Johnny Marr and the Healers.  He has worked with Paul McCartney, Talking Heads, Beck, Pet Shop Boys and a whole slew of other artists as a session musician.

Here, he takes on the 1993 Depeche Mode hit, “I Feel You”.  To some of you, that may mean nothing.  To a kid raised in the ’80s, though, this is the best of both worlds.

This limited edition 7″, released for Record Store Day 2015, will also include a B-side live performance of The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”.

At first, it almost sounds like a George Thorogood tune with the drum and guitar, but then it quickly becomes the well-recognized song that I wore out on Depeche Mode’s Songs of Faith and Devotion album.

Check out more Johnny Marr on his website.

Jul 312013
 

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: What’s a song you hated until you heard it covered?

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