Sometimes doing something new with a song can mean doing nothing new with the song at all – or, at least, nothing new with the song being covered. That’s precisely the case with Katie Herzig’s take on “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” The Eurythmics cover in question is fantastically faithful; where it becomes especially awesome, though, is when Katie and the band break – ever so briefly – into The White Stripes‘ “Seven Nation Army.”
Festivals often entice artists to perform covers. What better way to convert the uninitiated than by drawing them in with a song they know and then (ideally) hooking them by transforming it into your sound? This past weekend’s Lollapalooza, though, seemed to offer even more cover performances than usual. Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune even christened Saturday “#80snight” to keep track of all the ‘80s covers performed.
Though identical sisters The Watson Twins first broke through as backup for Jenny Lewis on Rabbit Fur Coat, they’ve stepped into the spotlight on their own with three albums of ethereal indie-folk. They follow up last year’s Talking to You, Talking to Me with the eclectic, literally-named EP Night Covers. The Kentucky-born duo revealed an intriguing range of artists in the tracklisting when they chatted with Cover Me last week. On Night Covers, they create a cohesive mini-album from diverse source material, staying true to the style established on their previous releases. The sisters told Cover Me that they “ha[d] a lot of fans asking for recordings of [live] covers” after playing the tracks on tour, which prompted them to take the pleasant, restrained, and occasionally quirky arrangements on Night Covers into the studio.
The opening words to the latest Sucker Punch trailer, punctuated like they’re spoken: I lost everyone I’ve ever loved. Then they locked me away. With nowhere to hide. From the pain. Just when you think all hope for this film is lost, though, Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” kicks in. Sure, they keep blathering about escaping from some asylum that apparently only holds gorgeous teens (and they want to escape why?), but at least music supervisor Tyler Bates seems set to deliver.
In their concert film Rattle and Hum, Bono introduces U2‘s live cover of “Helter Skelter” by declaiming, “This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We’re stealing it back.” Fighting words!
“Sweet Dreams” is a song Marilyn Manson stole from Eurythmics. At a recent New York concert, the adorably-titled rock/soul group Fitz and the Tantrums (the singer is named Michael Fitzpatrick) steal it back. They come armed with a jauntily-hatted saxman, a sexy dancer/hypewoman/tambourinist and a frontman with a haircut that could slice butter. Do they succeed? Judge for yourself below.
Back in June Cover Me shone the spotlight on Canadian songstress Allison Crowe. We couldn’t fit in everything though, so that last post omitted the two renditions of Eurythmics‘ singer Annie Lennox’s “Why” from Crowe’s latest album, Spiral. Perhaps those recordings provided the impetus for a couple of Hollywood producers to call up Allison earlier this year to commission a recording of Eurythmics’ new wave classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”
“I learned this song, in its entirety, in the summer in about an hour to record as part of a movie soundtrack,” Allison tells Cover Me. “That didn’t pan out – but what did come of it was learning a song that I’ve always tinkered around with on the piano. I love Annie Lennox’s voice and songs. She’s a very cool lady – and extremely talented, so it’s a lot of fun to be able to cover more than one song of hers! There is something very healing about yelling ‘hold your head up – keep your head up’ at the top of your lungs.”
You all submit so many great covers it’s hard to keep up. When we fall behind, we gather the best and brightest in a Submission Roundup.
Our inbox is just about bursting. You guys send so many great songs I wish we could feature them all individually. Sadly, we can’t. Instead, we’re beginning a new feature: Submissions Roundup. It’s just what it sounds like: a barebones post collecting all the submissions we didn’t want to fall through the cracks. Next to each, you’ll find a link to the artist’s website.
Do you have something to submit? Send it along here!
Part two of our 80′s tribute series, we follow up all the rockin’ with a little new wave pop.
Jake Shimabukuro – Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper)
The smooth Hawaiian sounds of Jake’s ukulele became a youtube hit with his While My Guitar Gently Weeps cover, but this take is almost as soulful. I wish the lounge background music was stripped though.
KT Tunstall – Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles)
A live take here, it’s not too dissimilar to the original, but fun nevertheless. Tunstall says she chose to cover it because of its musical similarity to her single “Hold On.”
Johnny Cash – Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode)
Another classic off the same album that brought the world “Hurt,” this one is a little faster paced. The rollicking piano backs Cash’s broken but forceful vocals.
Norman Palm – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
Sensitive but not pathetic, the guitar harmonies match the vocal ones on this quiet take that would sound like a completely legit song if you ignored the lyrics.
Adam Selzer – Like a Prayer (Madonna)
Dark piano adds a gothic touch to this outtake that gets all touching for the chorus.
Fabienne Louves – She Works Hard for the Money (Donna Summer)
A Swiss German cover here, it’s electro-disco-fun in a language you can’t understand. Hurray!
Kevin Davis – 99 Red Balloons (Nina)
No synths or drum machines here, the riff is taken over by a harmonica. I wish they’d done the German version, but you’ve probably had enough of that after the previous song.
Der Tanz Der Vampire – Totale Finsternis (Total Eclipse of the Heart) (Bonnie Tyler)
Like the original only even more orchestrally epic, this song was rewritten by Jim Steinmen for his German vampire musical. It’s a dark and Gothic bloodsucking love duet that totally eclipses the original. The musical had a brief Broadway run in 2003, but having been rewritten as a camp number was a huge flop. Just go and watch a video of an abridged version from the original Austrian production to understand.
Bat for Lashes – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Eurythmics)
A thumping, echoey version, it’s trippy psychedelia for the electronic millennium.
The Editors – Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads)
An Americana-inflected take, it starts out with a powerful voice and little else and builds from there into an acoustic power ballad.