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!
Dave Edmunds plays rock and roll in a particular style. It’s the version of rock and roll that existed in the late ’50s and early ’60s. And he’s been very true to it. But don’t be too quick to label him “retro” – he just continues to mine a vein of rock and roll that most musicians abandoned throughout the last third of the century. Those few others who have stuck with that early rock and roll blueprint (Brinsley Schwarz, Flamin’ Groovies, Ducks Deluxe) have probably worked with Edmunds. His sound is consistent, and being a good singer, guitarist and producer, that’s a fine thing to be. But he doesn’t discriminate when picking covers – he’s as likely to do something classic as he is something contemporary.
When looking at a career that is full of covers, it can be tough to figure out which ones best represent the artist. Many of Edmunds’ early singles are very precise covers of classic R&B. Maybe too precise. But once he shed a bit of his perfectionist tendencies (and started working with Nick Lowe), he provided the covers room to breathe and made many an old song into something fresh.
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Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Huey Lewis and the News followed the “ka-” of 1982’s Picture This with the “BOOM” of 1983’s Sports. Patrick Bateman was right; it was the album where they really come into their own, commercially and artistically. If any of the album’s nine songs (five of them Top Twenty) were to be its signature song, it would have to be “I Want a New Drug.” Subtitled “(Called Love)” – this was the Just Say No era, after all – this crazy little thing was the band’s best-selling single, inspiring Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” (according to a settled lawsuit) and Weird Al Yankovic’s “I Want a New Duck” (“Not a swan or a goose / Just a drake I can dress real cute / Think I’m gonna name him Bruce”).
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Given their relative proximity to the A.V. Club’s Chicago offices, the Hold Steady always seemed like a perfect choice for A.V. Undercover. Believe it or not, though, they were only the fallback choice for this song. Marnie Stern originally covered Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love,” but technical difficulties apparently ruined the recording. So in steps the Hold Steady to save the day with another cover. Continue reading »
Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.
• Unsubtle band name notwithstanding, L.A. duo Well Hung Heart show a surprising delicacy on their Huey Lewis and the News cover. Recorded for Syffal’s Pop Cultures Collide series, it reinvents the Back to the Future smash.
MP3: Well Hung Heart – The Power of Love (Huey Lewis and the News cover) Continue reading »
Philadelphia-based indie popsters Jukebox the Ghost (we’ve seriously run out of band names, folks) recently finished a tour in support of their strong second album, Everything Under The Sun. In amongst their own bright, piano-driven pop tunes, they included this, ahem, ‘80s gem: the theme from Back to the Future, Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love.” Continue reading »
This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.
This week’s Bandcamp spotlight takes a somewhat unusual focus: covers of imaginary artists. Three of the featured songs come from unusual origins, to say the least. One is a song by a cartoon band, one is a song performed by a creepy character in a whacko movie, and one is the text of an online comic strip put to music. Yeah, some strange stuff. Bookending this bizarre trifecta, the other two featured covers spotlight two new free tribute EPs.
For the first time, though, we’re actually bringing you ten Bandcamp covers. Focusing our main selection on the oddball left a lot of terrific, more traditional covers by the wayside. In a week with an unusually large number of quality releases, we just didn’t have the heart to leave them behind, so find bonus covers of Huey Lewis and the News, the Fauves, Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, and the Ronettes below the main set. Continue reading »
Back in February Quincy Jones brought together a bunch of young celebrities to remake “We Are the World.” He extended no invitations to any of the dozens original performers. Huey Lewis, one of these performers, took the news hard. Never one to bask in self-pity though, Lewis re-recorded his own version of “We Are the World” for Haiti. Given that it’s only him, he has to change it to “I Am the World.” Recorded for Jimmy Kimmel Live (that show is on a roll!), the video finds Lewis dressing up as “We Are the World” vets like Willie Nelson as he tries in vain to recreate the magic. Somehow, “I come together as one” just doesn’t work as well.
The real reason Lewis was on Kimmel was to perform two tracks off his new Stax Records covers album Soulsville. Watch Huey Lewis and the News strut through “Never Like This Before” and “Respect Yourself” below. Continue reading »