This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Deep Purple’s hard rock classic Machine Head. In recognition of Deep Purple’s influence some of rock music’s biggest names have contributed a version of their favorite track from the album for a tribute. The result is Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head. There are two very differing versions of the album’s most famous track “Smoke On The Water”, one from guitar legend Carlos Santana with vocals by Jacoby Shaddix and one from alternative rockers The Flaming Lips.
This weekend the SF Bay Area saw both Green Day and Metallica playing quite unique live shows. Just a couple hours before headlining Live 105’s “Not So Silent Night” in Oakland, Jane’s Addiction cancelled due to a family issue and local heroes Green Day filled in. Across the bay at the Fillmore, Metallica was holding a very special 30th Anniversary show for their fan club.
I have no hard data to back this up, but I suspect that EPs play a larger role in the world of cover songs than they do elsewhere. In the wider world, EPs tend to be an afterthought, a set of rejects or remixes that may or may not be worthwhile. People pay little attention to EPs, and artists act accordingly, saving their real statements for the full-lengths. In our world, though, we see as many EPs as we do proper albums, and they’re every bit as good. An artist may hesitate to put out a “cover album” – still a loaded term in some circles – but in the age of Garageband and Bandcamp, it’s only too easy to record a half dozen covers and toss ‘em out between albums. Therefore, in honor of the EP’s prominence in our world, we present our favorite EPs of 2011 (with an MP3 from each).
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.
What’s left to say about Lou Reed and Metallica’s universally-derided Lulu? Critics have had a field day tearing this putrid mess apart and fans have been, if anything, even crueler. Metacritic users currently rate the album a 1.9 out of 10, making it the fifth-worst album ever. Consequence of Sound even put together a hilarious collection of critical similes to describe how awful it is (sample: “Listening to Lulu is like watching the Challenger take off”).
Last night the “Big Four” of thrash metal – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, and Anthrax – played their second U.S. show at Yankee Stadium. Despite bad blood in the past, the vibe onstage was all bro-hugs and congratulations all around on having made it this far. The four bands even united during Metallica’s first encore song to pay tribute to a mutual influence: Motörhead. James Heftield called Lemmy the Godfather of Metal (“whether he likes it or not”) before rocking through the band’s legendary “Overkill.”