May 192018
 
grace jones covers

Here’s a stumper: Is it more correct to ask who Grace Jones is, or what Grace Jones is? The model-actress-singer-diva-icon turns 70 today, and her appeal—which might once have appeared to be a particularly long-running flash in the pan—shows no signs of abating. The documentary Bloodlight and Bami, an intimate look at the performer, came out this year, and her memoir I’ll Never Write My Memoirs was a notable book of 2015.

Jones materialized onto the dancefloors and catwalks of mid-70s New York as if dropped from a passing spaceship. Single-handedly redefining “exotic”—back in the days when that questionable term meant “non-Caucasian”—Jones brought a fierce and, for the time, shockingly confrontational androgyny to the pages of fashion glossies. Simultaneously tribal, futurist, techno and primitive, Jones and her trademark glare fairly leapt off the page, daring you to look away. Many could not, and her modeling career, launched in 1966 when she was 18, has never truly ended. Continue reading »

Jul 202017
 

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

Released in 1979, Gary Numan’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” was the second single from the album Replicas, his last with the band Tubeway Army. The surprise #1 UK hit topped the charts for a month, paving the way for the global success that came with “Cars” later that year, and to this day it remains a staple in Numan’s live performances.

“Friends” has garnered more than its fair share of covers – 21 artists on iTunes alone, and countless more on YouTube, have given us their takes on the song. Here are five (or so) that stand out…
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Aug 072013
 

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

Gary Numan is one of those pioneers who is in the unfortunate position of carrying an albatross for over half his life – but oh, what a tremendous albatross “Cars” is. A chorus-free song about social withdrawal, more than half of which consists of an instrumental fadeout, “Cars” was a chart smash that served as America’s introduction to synth-pop, and if it defined Numan (for better or worse), it also defined an entire genre of music.
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Apr 212011
 

In Prince’s recent Lopez Tonight appearance, he once again attacked one of his favorite targets: cover songs. “I don’t mind fans singing the songs, my problem is when the industry covers the music,” Prince told George Lopez. “You see, covering the music means your version doesn’t exist anymore. There’s this thing called the compulsory license law which allows artists to take your music at will. That doesn’t exist in any other art form – there’s only one version of Law & Order, but there are several versions of ‘Kiss’ and ‘Purple Rain.'” Continue reading »

Feb 112011
 

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.


Hailing from Chicago, IL, the Smashing Pumpkins helped blaze a trail for the wave of apathy that infected most ’90s alternative rock. They also gave hip kids from the Midwest the first nationally-recognizable band they could take pride in since Cheap Trick. Formed in 1988, the Pumpkins enjoyed over a decade of fame and influence until noted in-fighting brought about their dissolution at the turn of the millennium. After numerous side-projects and member-shuffling, the Pumpkins have once again taken to the stage under the leadership of Billy Corgan, perhaps one of rock music’s true auteurs.

The Pumpkins have celebrated their diverse influences via cover songs throughout their career. A quick scan of their recorded catalog reveals studio takes of tracks originally by acts like the Cars, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, the Cure and Missing Persons. Their live shows are similarly peppered with covers that one might not expect to hear from these iconic slackers. Some of these do seem like a natural fit though: it’s not too hard to draw a line to the Pumpkins from Neil Young, Depeche Mode or Pink Floyd, for instance. Continue reading »