Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

Richard Thompson is a Cover Me favorite, and for good reason. His songwriting and playing are brilliant, and his songs are often covered by musicians who recognize his genius, even if he has escaped widespread popularity. Not only that, he has, since his early days as a teenaged guitarist in Fairport Convention, performed many wonderful covers of other artists. Thompson also has a wicked sense of humor, which is hinted at in his lyrics, but more often displayed in his writings, interviews and stage shows. Rarely does Thompson perform without unleashing a zinger or ten, often directed at audience members who mistakenly believe they can best him in a battle of wits.

So when Playboy magazine came to him in 1999 and asked him to join other musicians in providing a list of the ten greatest songs of the millennium, it is not surprising that he mischievously took them literally. As Thompson wrote:

Such pretension, I thought. They don’t mean millennium, do they? Probably about 30 years is the cut-off: Tears for Fears might sneak in, Cole Porter probably not.

He called their bluff and did a real thousand-year selection, starting with a song from 1068 and including one effort from the 20th century. Playboy, which is rumored to have articles, chose not to print Thompson’s list, sparing their “readers” the opportunity to consider a toe-tapper by St Godric.
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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?
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“Nothing Compares 2 U,” although originally written by Prince for his side project Family, is infamous due to Irish singer/pope-photo-shredder Sinéad O’Connor. While MORRISMCCLYMONT’s cover may not gain as much renown, it is definitely something else. Continue reading »

When Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs recorded their first Under the Covers collaboration, they were surprised that it was released with the subtitle “Vol. 1.” Whatever genius at the Shout! Factory label chose to do that deserves a raise and a promotion, as it led Sweet and Hoffs to record two more volumes. Where Volume 1 consisted of songs based in the ’60s, and Volume 2 was made up of ’70s songs, Volume 3, released this week, is all about the ’80s, the decade when Hoffs came of age as a musician and Sweet wasn’t far behind.
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With the combination of his poetic coming-out tumblr post and the release of his debut album channel ORANGE, Odd Future member Frank Ocean has been on nearly everybody’s radar. The New Orleans native, who has written for the likes of Beyonce and Justin Bieber, has been touring in support of his debut and has treated his fans with a rendition of one of his favorite songs, Prince‘s “When You Were Mine.” Continue reading »

For those familiar with Hot Chip‘s debut album, it is very clear that the band does not appreciate it when people try to tell them that they’re ‘down with Prince.’ Because, in case you didn’t know, Hot Chip is very down with Prince. While promoting its upcoming album, In Our Heads, the band stopped by Radio One with Zane Lowe and performed a funky version of Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend.” Continue reading »

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

The sister of the Yours Truly founder passed away recently, and L.A. indie pop artist Nite Jewel recorded this gorgeous cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” in her memory. It’s just a keyboard and that voice, which is all you need.
MP3: Nite Jewel – Visions (Stevie Wonder cover) Continue reading »

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

The soundtrack to Purple Rain came out ten thousand days ago today. It feels like forever and that’s a mighty long time, but we’re here to tell you there’s something else…the full album, covered.

Purple Rain won an Oscar and two Grammy Awards, sold more than 20 million copies, and held the number one selling album slot in the US for twenty-four consecutive weeks (despite being released just three weeks after Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.). The only debate that remains worth having: great Prince album, or greatest Prince album? Dirty Mind and Sign o’ the Times both have their backers, but neither of those albums tapped into the zeitgeist the way Purple Rain did. Continue reading »

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