May 102019
 

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

Sara Smile

The timeless tracks of Hall and Oates are often go-to karaoke fodder for non-professionals. They also serve as prime cover material for more seasoned performers. If we asked ten people to name their favorite Hall and Oates song, it is not inconceivable that we would receive ten different answers; throughout their career, they have tallied quite the number of hit songs. But there was a time before their string of gold records. Beyond the oft-covered “I Can’t Go for That” and “Rich Girl” stands “Sara Smile,” Hall and Oates’ first Top 10 hit. It took the duo almost ten years to get into the groove, but this song gave them the momentum they needed.
Continue reading »

Apr 012019
 
best cover songs march
Amaara – House of Cards (Radiohead cover)

We just posted the 45 best Radiohead covers ever, but there’s already a 46th. Unsurprising, really, considering how much this band gets covered. The musical project of actor Kaelen Amara Ohm, Amaara took on the In Rainbows gem “House of Cards.” Her cover carries echoes of the haunting original, but with a smoother electro-ambient sheen.

Chris Anderson – Eh-Hee / Digging in the Dirt (Dave Matthews / Peter Gabriel cover)

Composer Chris Anderson draws from some pretty deep wells of music knowledge on his new Song Cycle. He covers Laurie Anderson and John Cage and Tom Waits – twice. He covers Peter Gabriel twice too, on a beautiful “Mercy Street” and more subtly here, working bits of “Digging in the Dirt” into – of all things – a gospel Dave Matthews cover. “The addition of a choir was important to me to create the feeling of a ground-swell of support,” he writes in an email. “The fact that the song is about ‘knocking the devil to his knees’ made the gospel choir a natural choice.” Continue reading »

Mar 082019
 
the bird and the bee covers

In 2010, LA indie-pop duo The Bird and the Bee released the terrific Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. Sadly, a Volume 2 never arrived. But perhaps their very unexpected new Van Halen cover could point the way forward. The pair turn “Panama” from a huge ’80s rocker into a cute dance-pop song that somehow recalls both Michael Jackson and Imogen Heap. Continue reading »

Mar 152018
 

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

Rich Girl covers

In 1960, Victor and Everett Walker opened the first Walker Bros. Original Pancake House in Wilmette, IL. By the end of the decade, Victor retired, having sold his restaurant and the 15 KFC franchises he owned. At age 50, he was fixed for life – as were his three sons. One of them, Victor Jr., dated a woman named Sara Allen for a while in college. She broke up with Victor Jr. (but remained friends) and began going out with Daryl Hall, who would write “Sara Smile” about her and write many other songs with her.

Hall knew the young Vic and later referred to him as a “burnout.” “He came to our apartment, and he was acting sort of strange,” Hall said in an interview. “I said, ‘This guy is out of his mind, but he doesn’t have to worry about it because his father’s gonna bail him out of any problems he gets in.'” That thought led to a song. “But you can’t write, ‘You’re a rich boy’ in a song,” Hall said, “so I changed it to a girl.” Continue reading »

Nov 162011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Mash Off,” New Directions and rival glee club The Troubletones square off in a friendly competition to see who can produce the best mash-up in preparation for the upcoming sectionals competition. But what starts as jovial quickly turns sour, especially for Santana (Naya Rivera), who’s sitting on a pretty big secret that’s about to come out.

It’s about time for Glee‘s annual mash-up episode. I’ve talked before about how much I enjoy it when Glee travels down that particular road, so I’ll just give a quick recap here: mash-ups give Glee a chance to do something it rarely does otherwise, which is get creative with song arrangements. That’s because the show has no choice; these mash-ups have no precedent and are invented specifically for these episodes, which means they have to be at least somewhat creative, even if that creativity’s misdirected. Continue reading »

Apr 112011
 

Last year retro indie pop duo The Bird and the Bee recorded an entire album of Hall & Oates songs, Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. Could Volume 2 be close behind? A recent posting by the band on their Soundcloud site raises hope that a Madonna bug may have bitten the band. Continue reading »