Aug 162018

‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

madonna covers

Today is Madonna’s birthday, when the Material Girl herself turns – well, one isn’t supposed to talk of such things, so let’s just say it’s a nice round number. Round enough for us to devote this month’s Best Covers countdown to her many hits and, in a few cases, underexposed deep cuts.

A very few cases, to be honest. More than anyone we’ve done these lists about before, Madonna remains best known as a singles artist (even Beyoncé now gets thought of as an album artist). As a result, it’s the singles a cover artist tends to focus on – f’rinstance, the song “Like a Prayer” has been covered more than every other track on the album Like a Prayer combined. The repeated dipping into the same dozen or so songs sets the bar pretty high. You can’t just tweak a tune here and adjust it there. To stand out amidst the million other “La Isla Bonita” covers, an artist needs to attempt something radical.

Many have taken up the challenge. Not one cover on our list would you confuse with Madonna’s version for a second. These artists translate her dance-pop smashes into garage-punk, gypsy-jazz, reggae-soul, and a few genres that no amount of hyphenates will do justice (just wait ’til you reach that Sonic Youth side project).

So get into the groove below. And, if you have any favorite covers we missed, express yourself in the comments! Continue reading »

May 042018

“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty years.

despacito covers

The idea behind this new series is that the random-number generator will pull up one random Billboard Hot 100 number-one from 1958 through 2018, the chart’s 60th birthday. For whatever reason, though, so far said generator is only delivering me either super old hits – my last was 1963’s regrettable “Hey Paula” – or very current – a late-period Britney Spears hit. And the trend continues today when we look at covers of one of the most recent hits out there, 2017’s #1 hit “Despacito.”

And not just one of the most recent hits, but one of the biggest. Ever. Last year, “Despacito” last year tied Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” for the most weeks atop the Hot 100 in history. This wasn’t just a number-one hit. This is objectively one of the biggest hits of all time.

So there must be a million covers, right? Not really. Despite being so massive, “Despacito” never caught that wave of semi-ironic indie rock covers that so many pop smashes do. Continue reading »

Nov 022016

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, from Cover Me staffer Mike Misch: What cover song makes you laugh?
Continue reading »

Feb 082014

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

Joe Raposo taught America’s children how to sing. – Charles Kuralt

Joe Raposo died a quarter century ago this week; today would have been his 77th birthday. The name might not ring a bell, but the music sure does – he was the very first person to ask, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”

Yes, Raposo’s songs helped many a sunny day sweep the clouds away, whether they were performed by Cookie Monster or Frank Sinatra (who called Raposo “the genius”). His melodies were catchy and uplifting, while his lyrics were simple enough for kids to grasp, but sophisticated enough that adults could find true meaning in them. Put together, they defied you to not sing along.
Continue reading »

They Say It’s Your Birthday: Rivers Cuomo

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Jun 132012

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!

Since the age of 22, Rivers Cuomo has headed up one of the world’s most beloved alternative rock bands: Weezer. For the last 20 years, Weezer has guided millions of angsty youths through glorious highs, soul-shattering lows and everything in between with hits like “Island In The Sun,” “Say It Ain’t So” and “Hash Pipe.” Continue reading »

Apr 292008

I spent this past weekend sick in bed (Woo! Start the pity party!) so that inspired this theme.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: My server got mad at me for hosting too many files on it and cut off my access. So I will be switching to, but until I move all the files over the next couple days the posts below this will not work.

La Lupe – Fever (Peggy Lee)
A Cuban swing version of this oft-covered staple, it’s got as much balls as a female vocalist can naturally muster. Turns out she’s got a pretty sweet bio too; check out the non-academia-approved version here.

Jill Sobule – Don’t Let Us Get Sick (Warren Zevon)
It’s not one of Zevon’s better-known tunes, but this cover is absolutely gorgeous, a mournful prayer all the more heart-wrenching when you realized Zevon did get sick, and died, far too young. Off the excellent Enjoy Every Sandwich tribute album.

The White Stripes – Love Sick (Bob Dylan)
Everything I like about Jack White in this song: slow singing, organ playing turning into guitar freak-out, banshee screaming, and singing Dylan. Doesn’t get better than that.

The Lounge-O-Lizards – Flagpole Sitta (Harvey Danger)
The artist name should tell you all you need to know about this cover.

Richard Cheese – Down With the Sickness (Disturbed)
What, two novelty easy-listening lounge covers in one post? Yeah, deal with it.

Michael McDaeth – Pennyroyal Tea (Nirvana)
Sounds somewhat like Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged version, but with a singer doing his best Neil Young impression.

“Weird Al” Yankovic – Germs (Nine Inch Nails…sort of)
This isn’t a cover or parody of any specific song, but what Al calls a “style parody,” a cover of a song they should have done. It sounds like their sound, as is no more paranoid than anything Trent would write.

The Delta Cross Band – Legionnaire’s Disease (Bob Dylan)
Another Dylan one, this is hard to compare to the original as there is no original. If Dylan ever recorded it, no recording circulates. This version is good enough to be definitive though.

Status Quo – Getting Better (The Beatles)
What I hope to do. If you thought the production of Sgt. Pepper’s was glossy, this takes it to the next level, making it sound like a TV holiday special.