Los Angeles jazz singer Samantha Sidley titled the first single from her upcoming record “I Like Girls,” but on the song we’re premiering today, she covers some Boys. And she digs deep for this Beach Boys tribute, eschewing the oft-covered classics for a true deep cut: “Busy Doin’ Nothing,” from 1968’s Friends, a relatively obscure album without any big hits but with a few passionate defenders. One is Sidley herself.
No one knows Mike Love’s place in rock n’ roll history better than Mike Love himself. In his 2016 memoir Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, Love summed up his legacy perfectly, writing: “For those who believe that Brian [Wilson] walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist.” In a move sure to send the legions of “Love-haters” into fits of online rage, he recently recorded a cover of the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach.” The track was released as a single in advance of Love’s upcoming solo record 12 Sides of Summer.
On “Spring Cleaning,” the opening track to his 2014 album ‘til Life Turns Over, Micah McCaw declared: “I’m free to be anything that I want to be.” With the record, the Oregon-based singer/songwriter took his words to heart singing songs about love, faith and death. For his latest release, McCaw takes on the sanctity of marriage with an acoustic cover of the Beach Boys’ classic “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”
Beyoncé – Before I Let Go (Maze cover)
Last week, Beyoncé surprised-dropped her live album Homecoming. It accompanied the Netflix film of the same name, which immortalized her lionized 2018 Coachella performance. The biggest surprise of all was the bonus track: a cover of Maze’s 1981 “Before I Let Go.” The original song wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out, but has grown to be referred to sometimes as the “black national anthem.” Beyoncé brings it right up to the present with a big production including marching band, new rap verse, and a sample of New Orleans bounce artist DJ Jubilee.
There are great drummers and then there was Hal Blaine. As a member of the famed Wrecking Crew of Los Angeles studio musicians, Blaine provided the backbeat to the soundtrack of the ‘60s and early ‘70s. He played drums on countless hits, backing such artist as the Association, the many Phil Spector Girl Groups, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Carpenters, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, Sonny & Cher, and the Mamas & the Papas (we could go on all day). With such a pedigree, it’s little surprise that he not only played on a number of cover songs, he played on some of the greatest covers of all time!
Since his death last week at the age of 90, tributes to have been popping up everywhere. We’ll simply add our own, the only way we know how – by going through some of his best covers.
So to Hal Blaine, we count it off one last time: 1-2, a 1-2-3-4…
In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.
Beloved power-pop stalwarts The Posies turn 30 this year, and are celebrating with an ambitious round of reissues of their first three major-label albums: 1990’s Dear 23 (out this Friday), 1993’s Frosting on the Beater (out August 3), and 1996’s Amazing Disgrace (out October 28). All feature new remasters from the original tapes and unheard bonus tracks. While we wait, relive the original version of one of their biggest hits, “Dream All Day.”
The band is currently on a lengthy 30th anniversary tour (upcoming dates at the bottom, and also here), but founding members Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer took some downtime in the van to tell us about their favorite cover songs. As will not surprise anyone who’s heard their music, they really like Elvis Costello! Also not surprising: These two guys know their stuff, digging deep into the crates of soul, college-rock, and beyond.
And now, join Ken and Jon as they lead you on a guided tour through their cover-song collections…