Earlier this month, a beardless Robin Pecknold covered Fred Neil‘s “The Dolphins” during the Fleet Foxes frontman’s solo set opening for Joanna Newsom’s “special guest” at Seattle’s sold-out Paramount Theatre. Pecknold ended his short performance with a stripped-down interpretation of one of the best songs by the cult ’60s Greenwich folk-rocker.
In 1965, a 16-year old Jackson Browne wrote the song “These Days.” It was first recorded by German model Nico in 1967, then Gregg Allman, and then Browne himself in 1973. These three versions in differing styles have created the foundation for one of the more popular cover songs in the last 45 years. Other notable artists to cover the track include; Nitty Gritty Band, John Cale, Tom Rush, 10,000 Maniacs, Fountains of Wayne, and St. Vincent.
Twelve years ago today, the Magnetic Fields released 69 Love Songs. Initially conceived as a theatrical revue performed by drag queens, 69 Love Songs took a different status entirely as a beloved pillar of indie pop. Though hardly a best-seller then or now, it retains a certain mystique as an album one could devote years to (witness this book or this project documenting each song in graphic form). Everything Stephin Merritt had been building with the Magnetic Fields over the previous six albums came to fruition here and then some.
Sprawling even by Merritt’s standards, 69 Love Songs covers a mind-boggling array of genres. So, in honor of its anniversary, we’ve selected a set of 12 covers that do the same. Some songs will make you dance; others will make you weep. It’s a barely-coherent smorgasbord of sounds, sources, and interpretations. Given the source material, that seems appropriate.
Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.
We began our celebrations yesterday, but today, in fact, is the big day. On May 24th, 1941, Bob Dylan was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. Twenty-one years later he released his first album and ever since…well, you know.
We continue our week-long series presenting covers of every single Dylan song with “Father of Night,” one of several Dylan songs that Manfred Mann rescued from obscurity. From there we hit songs by Jeff Buckley, The White Stripes, George Harrison, and, oh, about 54 more. Hours of music, and we’re not even halfway done!
Traditional folk music consists of a library of songs, passed between performers and down generations, with no real, identified songwriter. Each performer would change the lyrics and arrangements to suit themselves, or out of failures of memory. Only since Bob Dylan popped on the scene did the focus change from the performer to the songwriter.
Robin Pecknold, the front man for the folksy wonders, Fleet Foxes, is quite the indie darling. After releasing a critically acclaimed EP and full length with his band, he went on tour with Joanna Newsom as a solo act, recording a few songs in the process. Now he has an album coming out in May with his band, but that didn’t stop him from releasing a few gems yesterday.