Last year I did a roundup of the Best Cover Songs of 1996. It was a fun project to retroactively compile one of our year-end lists for a year before Cover Me was born. I wanted to do it again this year, but continuing the twentieth-anniversary theme with 1997 seemed a little boring. Turns out 1997 also featured a bunch of Afghan Whigs covers.
So to mix it up, I decided to go a decade further back and look at 1987. Needless to say, the landscape looked very different for covers. For one, far more of that year’s biggest hits were covers than we saw for 1996. The year had #1 cover hits in Heart’s “Alone,” the Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter,” Los Lobos’ “La Bamba,” Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me,” and Kim Wilde’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Plus ubiquitous hits that didn’t quite top the charts, but remain staples of the songs-you-didn’t-know-were-covers lists, Buster Poindexter’s “Hot Hot Hot” and George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You.”Continue reading »
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
The paths of songwriter Graham Gouldman and all-time greats The Yardbirds are forever linked in rock and roll history, but not inextricably. In 1965, a nineteen-year-old Gouldman had the good fortune to begin his career by penning the iconic Yardbirds hits “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” and “Evil Hearted You.” The songs helped establish the now-legendary group as they transitioned from one eventual rock guitar god (Eric Clapton) to another (Jeff Beck), but the hits wouldn’t define Gouldman’s career.
Gouldman, a musician in his own right, neither performed with the band (that we’re aware), nor wrote any further hits for them. However, his career was just getting started. The ‘60s saw him writing additional hits for The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, and the aforementioned Jeff Beck, along with songs recorded by Cher, Wayne Fontana, and Ohio Express. The ‘70s brought hits with his own band 10cc. Additionally, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrack, Gary Wright, and Kirsty MacColl all recorded Gouldman tracks over the ensuing decades.
Today, the 71-year-old consummate troubadour is still at it; he just finished up his appropriately-named “Heart Full of Songs” tour in the UK before he rolls back out to Europe with 10cc in November. Let’s take a look at some standout covers of songs written by Gouldman from the major eras of a career that’s now spanned over fifty years…
Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.
Oh mama, can this really be the end? After one heck of a week, we reach the finale today. This last set of 50+ covers makes it official: Cover Me now includes covers of every single Bob Dylan song, in alphabetical order. 279 songs in 50-60 song chunks. It’s never been done before and, given how much work it took, it probably won’t be again (at least not by us).
We’re not sure if this last set is the best of the bunch, but it’s up there. From Jimi Hendrix’s just-unearthed “Tears of Rage” to Elliott Smith’s transcendent “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” there’s a lot to love here. So join us in our final celebration of Dylan’s birthday with one more cup of covers. Once again, happy birthday Bob.
This March, we pit 64 Beatles covers against each other in what we call Moptop Madness.
Yesterday’s winners: John Tams, “Girl” & Ben Folds, “Golden Slumbers”
Today’s first match pits D.B. against B.D., as David Bowie faces off with oddball cover band Big Daddy. In the second half the double-header, a couple veterans go head-to-head when Booker T. and the M.G.s’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” battles Richie Havens’ “Here Comes the Sun.”
Listen to each pairing below, then vote for your favorite. For added sway, try to convince others to vote your way in the comments. Voting closes in 24 hours.Continue reading »
Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.
Hailing from Chicago, IL, the Smashing Pumpkins helped blaze a trail for the wave of apathy that infected most ’90s alternative rock. They also gave hip kids from the Midwest the first nationally-recognizable band they could take pride in since Cheap Trick. Formed in 1988, the Pumpkins enjoyed over a decade of fame and influence until noted in-fighting brought about their dissolution at the turn of the millennium. After numerous side-projects and member-shuffling, the Pumpkins have once again taken to the stage under the leadership of Billy Corgan, perhaps one of rock music’s true auteurs.
The Pumpkins have celebrated their diverse influences via cover songs throughout their career. A quick scan of their recorded catalog reveals studio takes of tracks originally by acts like the Cars, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, the Cure and Missing Persons. Their live shows are similarly peppered with covers that one might not expect to hear from these iconic slackers. Some of these do seem like a natural fit though: it’s not too hard to draw a line to the Pumpkins from Neil Young, Depeche Mode or Pink Floyd, for instance.Continue reading »
It seems every week a new “Best Dylan Covers Ever” article surfaces, but each new list reads much like the last. Hendrix tops it (fair enough) and Peter, Paul and Mary and the Byrds follow behind (really?). At Cover Me we like to break out of the mold though, so let us present the second and final installment of The Best Dylan Covers You’ve (Probably) Never Heard. This week we tackle songs Dylan recorded after his fabled 1966 motorcycle crash.
Barb Jungr – Things Have Changed
Dylan’s past few albums signaled a comeback, the legendary songwriter finally matching his sharp songwriting with smart production. His greatest song since the ‘70s can’t be found on them though, but rather as an Oscar-winning one-off for the Wonder Boys soundtrack. [Buy]
World Wide Message Tribe – Precious Angel
True, Dylan’s widely reviled born-again period inspired a lot of Armageddon preaching from the stage, but it also sewed the seeds of the most successful dance cover of a Dylan tune to date. [Buy]
Giant Sand – All Along the Watchtower
Once the most recognizable three chords in rock hit, Giant Sand deliver a somewhat conventional cover. But it takes sixty seconds of cello feedback to get there. [Buy]
Elliott Murphy – Blind Willie McTell
Mark this one as one of the best live covers of all time. Discoveries like this utterly brilliant acoustic duet reward obsessive bootleg collectors. [Buy]
The Everly Brothers – Abandoned Love
Dylan recorded this song in 1975, but it didn’t see official release until a mediocre studio recording on 1985’s Biograph collection (track down his 1975 live version at the Bitter End for the definitive reading). That fantastic chord progression makes it a cover favorite, with everyone from George Harrison to Chuck Prophet having a go. [Buy]
Townes Van Zandt – Man Gave Names to All the Animals
Many fans would rank this song up with the worst songs Dylan has ever written. And it would be, except for that final line that turns all the nursery rhyme verses on their head. Dylan’s least ambitious Christian song may just be his most powerful. [Buy]
Thea Gilmore – I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
Gilmore turns up on just about every covers CD Britain’s Uncut magazine compiles, delivering superb performances of The Clash and the Boss. This artist boasts some serious folk cred though; Joan Baez hand-picked her to open a tour and covered Gilmore’s “The Lower Road” on her latest album. [Buy]
Delta Cross Band – Legionnaire’s Disease
What, you don’t know “Legionnaire’s Disease”? Well, a recording of Dylan performing it has never surfaced. Written after a 1976 outbreak of the infectious bacteria known technically as Legionellosis, Dylan handed it off to Billy Cross, his guitar player from 1977-79. [Buy]
Richie Havens – License to Kill
Havens has spent his career covering Dylan — witness his cameo in I’m Not There. His signature guitar tuning and strumming pattern takes the fore, laying the weight of the world upon a mediocre lyric. [Buy]
Tim O’Brien – Father of Night
O’Brien’s Red on Blonde covers album is one of the best out there, giving tunes from the famous (“Forever Young”) to the obscure (“Lay Down Your Weary Tune”) jaunty bluegrass rhythms. [Buy]