Jan 042019
 

“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty years.

love is blue covers

For this feature, we use random.org to pick a random number that corresponds to one of (currently) 1,082 number-one hits. I rolled #199, and grew quite excited as I began scrolling through the list. #199 falls in 1968, smack in the Beatles heyday, just following recent chart-toppers like “Penny Lane” and “All You Need Is Love.” Other iconic standards of the era from “Respect” to “Light My Fire” lie right around #199 – and #200 is “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” A golden era for the Hot 100’s pole position.

Well, not entirely. As you might guess from the mustacheoed photo above, #199 bucks the trend a bit. Rather than getting a cutting-edge classic pushing rock and pop music forward, I landed on the easy-listening instrumental “Love Is Blue,” as performed by French conductor Paul Mauriat. It inexplicably topped the carts for five weeks – that’s a week longer than “Dock of the Bay” would! It does make Mauriat the only French lead artist to ever top the Hot 100, which I suppose is something. Continue reading »

May 142018
 
bill murray el paso

Originally recorded by Marty Robbins in 1959 on his Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs album, the song “El Paso” just might be the quintessential country and western ballad. Winning a Grammy for Best Country & Western song in 1961, there have been a lot of excellent cover versions over the years, including a relatively recent live version recorded at the Spotify studios by Shovels & Rope, an amped up rendition by The Old 97’s that was featured on a King of the Hill soundtrack, and Tom Russell, someone that has spent a lot of time in El Paso, lends a passionate voice to the song on his record Indians, Cowboys, Horses, Dogs. Continue reading »