Aug 022019
 

That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.

Edwin Starr War Temptations

Most know “War,” the anti-Vietnam protest song, by its distinctive and aggressive opening. After a drum roll, Edwin Starr launches into soulful protest: “War, huh, yeah / What is it good for / Absolutely nothing.” Hearing his hurt and anger, you can understand why the song resonated with the anti-war sentiment of the times. Throughout, Starr mixes singing with screaming, matching the tone of the wailing electric guitar and the occasional sassy saxophone lick. Starr’s powerful voice can stand up to the at times cacophonous instrumental accompaniment. The lyrics are not subtle, and Starr emphasizes each line without apology: “Induction then destruction / Who wants to die?”

The song was a massive success; it was even inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Its message remains potent, its obvious political statement inspiring near-continual controversy nearly half a century after its release. For example, after the September 11th attacks, Clear Channel Communications put “War” on a list of songs to be avoided for radio. However, it is thanks to the political nature of the lyrics that Edwin Starr got the chance to record the song in the first place. 

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Oct 222014
 

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, courtesy of staffer Jordan Becker: What’s a cover song you hate, and why?
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Oct 312011
 

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

When Bruce Springsteen began to construct and record the songs that would make up his third album in early 1974, he knew the pressure was on. Following two critically-acclaimed but low-selling records, he had to produce a masterpiece or risk his career being over before he even got to make his impact on the world of pop music. Little did anyone, even Bruce himself, know at the time just what was stirring in his head, aching to get out: an 8-song magnum opus that stands almost unparalleled in the annals of rock. It’s one of the only records to earn a 10.0 rating from Pitchfork, and at least one critic has heralded its title track the greatest song ever written. We’re talking, of course, about Born to Run. Continue reading »