One can never know quite what to expect in heading over to Rainn Wilson’s site, Soul Pancake. Though always interesting, it’s not necessarily a destination site for music, which makes it all the more delightful to go there and find Lake Street Dive performing a beautiful, jazz-inflected cover of George Michael‘s “Faith” on a sidewalk.
A.V. Undercover from the A.V. Club has a very simple equation: 25 songs+25 artists= 25 unique covers. As each band enters the studio they choose from the remaining songs, covering them faithfully, or more often, creatively. The results speak for themselves over the years, from GWAR being stuck with Kansas‘ “Carry on My Wayward Son,” to Iron & Wine‘s version of George Michael‘s “One More Try,” to They Might Be Giants including the staff of the A.V. Club to join in on Chumbawamba‘s “Tubthumping.”
This week, Cover Me celebrates Freddie Mercury 20 years after his passing. Read Part 1 here.
On April 20, 1992, one of the most impressive collections of musicians ever assembled for one show gathered together to pay tribute to Farrokh Bulsara, better known to the world as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who had passed away due to complications from AIDS some six months before. Today, as we approach the 20th anniversary of his passing, Cover Me looks back at this monumental concert event, a celebration of covers and of one of the most unique talents ever to grace the performing arts.
“In thirty years of making music, I was never actually in awe of anybody new that came along in the British scene, until this lady arrived,” George Michael stated before launching into a cover of the recently deceased Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is A Losing Game” during a recent gig in Prague. While Michael is hardly the first artist to pay tribute to the late soul singer, the Wham! singer’s rendition is no less heart-breaking.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
A real argument can be made that, in a couple decades’ time, Ben Folds will be seen as one of the key singer-songwriters of our generation (that is, if he’s not yet claimed that position). His flawless blending of painful honesty and quirky humor speak to legions of fans in a way that few artists can manage, and the sheer breadth of his various projects and collaborations (recording an album with author Nick Hornby, a permanent judge spot on NBC’s The Sing-Off, the impressive 8-in-8 experiment with Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer and Damian Kulash) ensure that we won’t be getting bored of him anytime soon.
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
It’s hard to invent new praise for Stevie Wonder, but because today is his birthday I must rise to the occasion. The high priest of soul turns 61. That means it’s been exactly fifty years since Stevie Wonder first signed with Motown Records at age 11 and began to amass his more than 30 top ten US hits and 22 Grammy awards. As the ultimate luminary of soul music, Wonder’s influence has pervaded nearly every other genre. He is one of those few artists where anyone claiming he’s overrated is only embarrassing himself. This puts him on the same level as Dylan, the Stones, and the Beatles, and above iconic but more disputable artists like Aerosmith, Prince, and Madonna.