Nov 012013
 

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

“Sweet Jane” is a great song. Released on 1970’s Loaded, the Velvet Underground’s last studio album featuring Lou Reed, it immediately became a staple of FM radio, despite its odd and provocative lyrics, unusual structure, and unconventional sound, and it continues to get airplay to this day. What’s the appeal? Part of it, of course, is the riff (which apparently includes a “secret chord”), part of it is the indescribable cool of Reed’s delivery, and part of it is that magic that makes some songs great and others not so much. According to Rolling Stone, it is the 335th greatest song of all time, which is curiously specific. And now, in honor of Reed’s passing earlier this week at the age of 71, the time has come to write about it here on Cover Me.
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Nov 222011
 

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. Continue reading »

Jun 032011
 

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!

Happy birthday, Ian Hunter! You remember Ian, don’t you? You’re not alone if you don’t. Hunter is kind of like that small-market baseball player who toiled admirably outside of the glitter of the big media centers. And, like a well-rounded, five-tool player, Hunter excelled at all the critical elements of his job. He could write solid songs, was an above-average vocalist, and could play guitar, bass and piano. Plus, with his poise, full mane of curly blonde hair, and trademark shades, Hunter sure looked the part of iconic ‘70s front man. Continue reading »

Oct 142010
 

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

It was almost 17 years ago now that frontman Jay Farrar split ways with his alt-country group Uncle Tupelo due to differences with bassist Jeff Tweedy, leaving Tweedy and the rest of the band in the dust. Since that time, Farrar’s career has skyrocketed, and Tweedy and the boys haven’t done anything.

Wait. I’m wrong. They formed a band called Wilco, which continues to prosper as one of the most important and influential bands in indie music.

To conclude that Wilco’s longevity is due to some sort of a constant and timeless sound would be dead wrong, however, as our latest Live Collection shows. The covers below, which include romps through the works of David Bowie, Sheryl Crow, the Ramones, and even a few half-hearted attempts at tracks by one of Farrar’s subsequent projects, Son Volt, show just how much Wilco has changed through the years. The Wilco who covers “Organ Blues” in 2000 sounds little like the one who does Tom Petty’s “Listen to Her Heart” in 1995. Sure, their 2002 cover of The Stooges’ “TV Eye” anticipates the pulsating pianos and dissonant guitars that would not truly define their albums until years later, but as a general rule, you can follow the arc of the band’s sound through the years pretty closely via the covers below. Continue reading »

Jun 292010
 

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!

Alejandro Escovedo has been recording great rock and roll for decades, but his profile has never been higher. This is largely the result of two things: Hepatitis C and Bruce Springsteen.

Say what? Let’s take them one at a time. Escovedo came down with a severe form of Hepatitis C a few years back. Like many musicians, he did not have insurance for his mounting medical bills. Unlike many musicians, he had friends and admirers in folks like Steve Earle, Los Lonely Boys, and Son Volt. They came together an all-star Americana tribute album, raising money for Escovedo and turning fans onto the Texas songwriter in the process. Thanks in part to that effort, Escovedo is now disease-free.

Then, in 2008 Bruce Springsteen brought him on stage for an Austin show. Springsteen’s guests usually help on “Thunder Road” or “Glory Days” or something, but the E Street Band played Escovedo’s own “Always a Friend,” then sold that performance on iTunes. Watching Escovedo’s excitement will give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Incidentally, the Boss appears on Escovedo’s latest album Street Songs of Love (in stores today) to duet on “Faith.”
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