Jun 152018
 
best cover songs 1978

Welcome to the third installment in our Best Cover Songs of Yesteryear countdown, where we act like we were compiling our usual year-end list from a year before we – or the internet – existed. Compared to the first two, this one has significantly less grunge than 1996 and less post-punk than 1987. It’s hard to have post-punk, after all, before you have punk, a new genre starting to hit its peak in 1978. And don’t forget the other big late-’70s sound: disco. Both genres were relatively new, and super divisive among music fans. Lucky for us, both genres were also big on covers.

Disco, in particular, generated some hilariously ill-advised cover songs. We won’t list them all here – this is the Best 1978 covers, not the Most 1978 covers. If you want a taste (and think carefully about whether you really do), this bonkers take on a Yardbirds classic serves as a perfect example of what a good portion of the year’s cover songs looked and sounded like: Continue reading »

Jun 082018
 
anthony bourdain music

Others can offer more on Anthony Bourdain’s massive impact on the worlds of food, or travel, or recovery, or just living life to the fullest. But anyone who followed his work closely knew in additional to all that, he was a music superfan. He adored 1970s punk from his early days working in New York kitchens in particular; he wrote a must-read essay on that thirty years later for SPIN.

So we’re going to pay tribute the only way we know how: With covers of Bourdain’s favorite songs. Which we know from playlists he made over the years for Rolling Stone and KCRW. We hope he would have liked these covers of the soundtrack to his life. Continue reading »

Jul 262016
 
Vega1

Suicide singer Alan Vega died last week at age 78, and since then a whole host of artists have paid tribute by covering his songs. As was the case with “Purple Rain” when Prince died, one song has become the go-to tribute song for the occasion: the uplifting “Dream Baby Dream.”

Bruce Springsteen, who has regularly covered the song solo on piano over the past decade, delivered a full-band version to open his Denmark show. Pearl Jam did the same at a festival show in Canada, while Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler who tweeted a very laptop-dj take on the tune. Continue reading »

May 222015
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

dreambabydream

When Bruce Springsteen was touring behind his 2005 album Devils and Dust, he closed his shows with a cover of the song “Dream Baby Dream” by the protopunk band Suicide. Most fans of the Boss were unfamiliar with it, and didn’t know how to take the moody mantra, sung over the drone of a pump organ and an offstage synth – “Glory Days” it ain’t. It turned out Bruce had been a fan of Suicide’s since meeting them in a studio in the ’70s, and had claimed in one interview that “You know, if Elvis came back from the dead I think he would sound like Alan Vega.” As for Vega, once he’d heard Springsteen’s interpretation, he said, “Now I can die…. He interpreted my song, he did it his way, and such a great way that I’m going to have to sing it that way, or not sing it at all anymore…. On my death bed, that’s the last thing I’m going to listen to. I’ll play it at my funeral.” So it’s safe to say he liked it.
Continue reading »

Aug 172011
 

On their website, HTRK (formerly Hate Rock Trio) claim their new album encompasses “submission, dysphoria, sentimentality, tech-noir and corporate life.” That sounds strange, spooky, and sinister. It also sounds like something that could describe Suicide. The duo of Martin Rev and Alan Vega crafted dark synth epics that touched on all those things (except maybe “corporate life”). Their dystopian vision led to such No Wave classics as “Frankie Teardrop” and “Ghost Rider.” Continue reading »

Apr 042011
 

After three albums and decades’ worth of critical acclaim, LCD Soundsystem called it a career Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Dubbed “The Long Goodbye,” the four-hour party found guests like Arcade Fire and Reggie Watts joining James Murphy and co. and, despite all the drama leading up to the event, it proved by all accounts to be a smash success.

The 29-song setlist allowed room for a few covers. Fittingly for their last show ever, the two performed were older chestnuts – no point debuting new material in your victory lap. Halfway through Set #3, the group reprised their cover of Alan Vega (of Suicide)’s “Bye Bye Bayou.” Then, for their second-to-last song, the group dug up “Jump Into the Fire,” a super-rarity Harry Nilsson cover originally the B-side to the “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” vinyl single. Continue reading »