Kevin Dotson got the name Linus of Hollywood from his wardrobe bearing a similarity to that of the Peanuts character. A self-described metalhead in his youth, he started out in the pop-punk band Size 14; by the time he was releasing solo work, he was radiating California, from his nom de tune to the good vibrations coming off his sunny melodies in waves.
Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.
It must have been a real drag to be young and watch the whole love and peace era go down the drain. JFK, dead. MLK, dead. Paul McCartney, dead. The music of the turn-on-tune-in-drop-out generation had become so absorbed with its own self-importance that the weight was too much to carry, especially with the early ’70s promising no bright future “comin’ up around the bend.” Bryan Ferry‘s These Foolish Things, one of two all-covers albums released in October 1973 (David Bowie‘s Pin-Ups was the other), served as a healthy reminder that these hippie anthems and cultural touchstones are, after all, pop songs.
Last week’s Olympics opening ceremony has gotten a lot of news coverage for Danny Boyle’s fantastical re-imagination of centuries of British life, from agrarian idyll to the Queen skydiving with James Bond. Friday’s spectacle also showcased some of Britain’s most noteworthy musicians. Paul McCartney closed the ceremony with “Hey Jude,” and the Arctic Monkeys– sometimes touted as this generation’s answer to The Beatles – covered “Come Together” with the former Beatle looking on.
Christmas covers come pretty fast this time of year (duh), so we periodically step back to collect a bunch in a single post. Our last set was a few weeks ago and since then we’ve posted new Christmas songs by My Morning Jacket, Josh T. Pearson, Dawes/Peter Wolf Crier/Mannequin Man, and Red Wanting Blue/Tristen. Even with all that, though, there have been even more we haven’t gotten to. So here’s a bunch, crammed together for a holiday mixtape or just some Christmas cheer.
We’ve been keeping track of Paul McCartney‘s “Maybe I’m Amazed” cover competition ever since it was first announced. Earlier this month, we showcased our top picks once the submission period had ended.
Yesterday, the winner was announced on McCartney’s website and the votes resoundingly went to one of our very favorites, the astonishing classical guitarist Tony Clef. So here it is – the stunning instrumental “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Enjoy.
Rave On Buddy Holly, arguably the most hyped cover album of the year, finally drops this week. Rampant previews hinted that the album would be something special, and the A-list lineup of artists doesn’t disappoint. Rave On is a solid, carefully curated collection of tracks from Buddy Holly‘s surprisingly extensive catalog, a worthy tribute to the rock pioneer.
Choosing standouts from such a varied and high-profile set of covers is a challenge. Some of the best moments come from contributors who chose to keep their covers low-key. Dan Auerbach’s vocals gracefully carry the Black Keys‘ quiet, percussion-based opener “Dearest,” while Fiona Apple and Jon Brion trip through a pitch-perfect duet in “Everyday.” My Morning Jacket offers the elegantly subdued “True Love Ways,” embellished with a lovely string section.
Elvis Costello is currently crossing the country on his “Spectacular Spinning Songbook” tour, in which audience members spin a giant wheel with song names and he plays the winner with the Imposters. He first debuted the concept in 1986, but this time he added a few new “jackpots,” aka. longer thematic suites. One labeled “I Can Sing a Rainbow” features a mini-set of color-themed songs: “Greenshirt,” “Red Shoes,” and a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
At the end of May, Paul McCartney launched a competition for the best cover of his hit, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” We showcased a couple of our early favorites, but the time for entries has come to an end and it’s time to see if our picks still stack up to the competition. Just because entries can no longer be submitted, though, doesn’t mean the competition is over – you can still vote until 4PM (GMT) on the 23rd of June by liking your favorites on YouTube.