Aug 082019
 
david byrne cover songs

Talking Heads only ever recorded one cover, and when I talked to David Byrne about it for my book, he seemed to have mixed feelings on the subject. “There’s always a little bit of resistance to recording a cover like that because it’s kind of a crowd pleaser,” he told me. “I’d seen it happen before, where radio DJs who pick what they’re going to play will often pick a cover song… So then a band gets known for covering somebody else’s song as opposed to writing their own material. They have to go through a struggle for years to get identified with their own songs.”

Talking Heads recorded “Take Me to the River,” it became their biggest hit up to that point, and Byrne said: That’s it. No more covers. The band never followed it up with a second.

He’s relaxed the rules a bit more in his solo career, most recently covering Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout” on tour (he says he’s bringing the cover to Broadway, too). And clearly he’s been listening to covers. For his DB Radio show on his website, he just compiled a wonderfully eclectic mix of his favorite covers. The theme, he says, is artists doing the unexpected, from Sonic Youth covering The Carpenters to Miley Cyrus covering Nine Inch Nails. And when the song choice itself may not be surprising – Patti Smith covering the Rolling Stones, say – the arrangements are. Here’s what he wrote on his website: Continue reading »

Jul 222019
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

OutKast played a major role in putting hip-hop from the South on the map. The duo, made up of ATLiens André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, have won numerous awards, including multiple American Music Awards and Grammys. Before Speakerboxxx/The Love Below brought us “Hey Ya!,” Stankonia brought us “Ms. Jackson.” OutKast’s first single from Stankonia was “B.O.B.”, which didn’t get as much attention as anticipated due to its controversial subject matter. “Ms. Jackson” was the second single, and that was the one that propelled the album, winning the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. 

The idea for the song came from Benjamin’s experience with Erykah Badu (his baby’s mama) and her mother (his baby mama’s mama). Although the song is upbeat, with a catchy chorus and fast rap lines, it tells a rather sad story, not unlike the later “Hey Ya!”

In my search for the top “Ms. Jackson” covers, I looked for a particular trifecta:

  1. a strong start with “this one right here goes out to all the baby’s mamas’, mamas,”
  2. a powerful stress on the “ooh”s after “I’m sorry Ms. Jackson,” and
  3. the delivery of the crucial line: “forever, forever, ever, forever, ever?”

Continue reading »

Mar 052014
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question comes from Cover Me staffer Mike Misch: What cover song shouldn’t work as well as it does?
Continue reading »

May 062013
 

There are a few go-to songs that everyone (save the diehard fan) associates with OutKast – fewer still are the songs that make the oft-covered list. All of which makes it that much more of a pleasure to see Tame Impala covering “Prototype,” off of André 3000‘s half of 2003’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Continue reading »

Mar 072012
 

It seems like just yesterday, girls across the country were shaking it like a polaroid picture at the smooth request of André 3000, one half of the popular hip hop duo Outkast. But, alas, it’s been nearly a decade since “Hey Ya!” was released as one of two lead singles off of the pair’s double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. That’s not to say the song doesn’t have much life left in it yet, as PigPen Theatre Company clearly proves with their folky performance of this funky hip hop tune. Continue reading »

Nov 042011
 

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

This week’s set washes over you like a half-remembered dream. Ambient-croon folk, gentle-breeze rock, and sexy-trumpet funk combine for one of the most pleasantly mellow collections in recent memory. Continue reading »