Whatever you typically think of Phish, their Halloween sets are pretty undeniably fun. On and off for years now, they’ve taken the occasion to cover a classic album in full, not announcing which until attendees get there. They’ve done the Beatles’ White Album (1994), The Who’s Quadrophonia (1995), Talking Heads’ Remain in Light (1996), Velvet Underground’s Loaded (1998), the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street (2009), Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus (2010). And last night they added a new album to the roster: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
There are certain things that you always remember. Meeting the love of your life. Seeing your children for the first time. And, of course, the first time you heard Talking Heads’ Remain in Light. Maybe that isn’t a statement of general applicability, but it is true for me.
In October of 1980, I was a college junior and assistant program director of WPRB-FM. It was my responsibility to swing by the post office every day to pick up the station’s mail, including the packages of records. This meant that I got to see the new releases before anyone else. By that time, I had become a pretty big Talking Heads fan (and rued my error in having skipped their show on campus back in my freshman year). We fans knew that the band was moving in new directions after the previous year’s Fear of Music, which had begun integrating more complex rhythms, dance beats and world influences into their sound, and the music press was buzzing with anticipation about what they were going to do next. So, on that cool October morning, when I ripped open the box from WEA as I walked toward the station, I was thrilled to see Remain in Light. After scurrying down into our basement office, I quickly threw the record on the turntable, and was immediately blown away.
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: Which artist/band does the best covers? That’s a lot to bite off, no doubt about it, but many mouths make less chewing, and the many mouths at Cover Me are very good at raising their voices. As always, our answers are not the only answers; feel free to leave yours in the comments section…
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!
Like any self-respecting rock musician these days, David Byrne has a musical currently running in New York, Here Lies Love, a disco extravaganza about Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and today he will celebrate his 61st birthday basking in its excellent reviews and an extended run. Although Byrne will always be known for his work with Talking Heads, he has also released solo albums of wildly varied styles, written books, created visual art projects, directed films and written music for movies, television, ballet and opera (winning an Oscar for his work on The Last Emperor). He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Brian Eno, Fatboy Slim, St. Vincent, Twyla Tharp, Phillip Glass, Robert Wilson, Selena, and Thievery Corporation. Not to mention running a record label and an Internet radio station. Also, he has designed bicycle racks.
When not on tour with legendary psychedelic jamband Phish, you can catch Trey Anastasio touring with his band or lending a hand to Superstorm Sandy victims in Brooklyn. The guiarist, singer and songwriter has just released his ninth solo studio album, The Traveler. The album was co-produced with Peter Katis (The National, Interpol) at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, CT. Musicians include the Trey Anastasio Band, Mates of State’s Kori Gardner, The National’s Bryan Devendorf and Matt Berninger, Bon Iver’s Rob Moose, and Icelandic percussionist Samuli Kosminen.
On Sunday night Phish brought their summer tour to a thrilling conclusion with the last of three shows at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park outside of Denver. Trey, Page, Mike and Fish brought out the heavy artillery and some surprises for the tour finale, including especially awesome versions of their songs “Maze,” “Ghost,” and “Bathtub Gin,” as well as a rare cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” which the band hasn’t performed since 1995. The covers didn’t stop there though, as the quartet also tackled “The Way It Goes,” a track from bluegrass songwriter Gillian Welch‘s new album The Harrow & The Harvest, which came out barely three months ago.