Sep 302016
 
Fugees

They say nostalgia works in 20-year cycles, and this year the music of 1996 has been in the media a lot. And if you believe the music blogs, it turns out 1996 was a truly groundbreaking year for every possible genre. Over at SPIN: “The 96 Best Alternative Rock Songs Of 1996.” Complex: “Best Rap Songs of 1996.” Junkee: “Ten reasons 1996 was a great year for dance music”. Loudwire: “10 Best Metal Albums of 1996.” Red Bull Music: “1996: Why it was a great year for pop”. Suck it, 1995! (Kidding; similar articles were of course written last year too.)

We’ll be honest: 1996 was not some magical, pioneering year for cover songs. It was also not a terrible year. It was just, you know, another year. There’s no overarching theorem of 1996’s cover songs that wasn’t true in ’95 or ’97. But even so, Cover Me wasn’t around in 1996, so we never made a Best Cover Songs of 1996 list (our first year-end list came in 2009, with the Kings of Convenience’s “It’s My Party” topping it, and you can catch up on all the lists here). So we decided, before the year ends and we take our look at the best covers songs this year, why not take a nostalgic rewind and do 1996 just for fun, twenty years too late. Continue reading »

May 022014
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Little Willie John made a splash with “Fever.” It’s an ominous song that slinks along in a minor key. A hit in 1956, it certainly stood out amongst the rest of the R&B hits of the day, burning briefly but brightly. Two years later, Peggy Lee caught “Fever,” slowed it to a simmer, and added some heated lyrics. Once again, it became a hit – a process that would be repeated a couple years later, thanks to Elvis Presley. And there’s been no lack of covers since (an epidemic?). Seems few are immune, with two of the (single-named) queens of pop music, Madonna and Beyonce, having given it a go. But “Fever” has spread to many genres, and the best of the best bring something unique to the hot (and catchy) tune.
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Mar 122014
 

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.

 
In 1939, MGM was trying to edit The Wizard of Oz down from its near two-hour length, and one of the prime candidates for cutting was the song “Over the Rainbow.” The powers that be felt it slowed the picture down, went over the heads of the target audience of children, and was not a song suited for “a little girl singing in a barnyard.” Three-quarters of a century later, it was being sung by Pink at the Academy Awards ceremony. In between it had become Judy Garland’s signature song and was named the greatest movie song of all time by the American Film Institute.
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Jan 282014
 

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

We would be remiss in our duty here at Cover Me if we didn’t take a moment to honor Pete Seeger, who passed away on January 27 at the age of 94.

Seeger was the twentieth century’s phosphorescent light of traditional folk music. Whether he was adapting works of unknown authors to strike tremendous chords (“Goodnight Irene,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!”), introducing modern songs to audiences who weren’t quite ready for them (he recorded “Black and White” sixteen years before Three Dog Night took it to number one), or writing everlasting classics of his own (“If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”), Seeger knew the importance of bringing music to the people. “I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life,” he testified to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955. “I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody.”

Seeger’s concerts inevitably turned to community singalongs, with audiences joining in on songs they may have known for seventy-five seconds or seventy-five years. Under his guidance, everybody who ever attended a Pete Seeger concert became a cover artist. Seeger taught us that it wasn’t the quality of our voices that mattered; it was the volume to which we raised them. He made millions of gardens grow, inch by inch and row by row, and America is the better for his having done so.
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Aug 312011
 

When it comes to classic songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” finding fresh, unique covers can be almost impossible. Originally recorded back in 1971 by soul singer Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” has been covered by everyone from Sting to Michael Jackson to Eva Cassidy. But even a 40-year-old cover-prone song like “Ain’t No Sunshine” can be redone in an original way with a little bit of creativity and a lot of talent. Seattle-based neo-soul musician Anomie Belle happens to have both. Continue reading »

May 042011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.


In “Rumours,” Coach Shue’s disgusted with all the mudslinging and infighting going on in his glee club, so he decides to make them learn about a pro rock group that learned to put aside their differences and create a masterpiece. That group, of course, is Fleetwood Mac, and the masterpiece the 1977 album Rumours.

Oh yeah, this is why I watch Glee. Continue reading »