May 192017
 
Cover Me

As we’ve noted already, 2017 marks Cover Me’s tenth birthday. We’ll have some more celebratory posts leading up to the actual date this fall, but I’m thrilled to announce one thing that’s on deck for October: the release of my first book, Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time!

Ever since I started this site, friends and readers have suggested that I should write a book about cover songs (surprisingly, a comprehensive book doesn’t really exist). For years, I resisted. “That’s like saying ‘I’m going to write a book about original songs’,” I’d snarkily reply – i.e., that’s a stupid idea. Cover songs seemed too broad a category. There’s no grand unifying theory of cover songs to fit tidily between two book covers; it’s too big and messy and wonderful a tent for that.

Aretha FranklinAfter years of saying no, I finally came up with the solution. I wouldn’t write a book about cover songs – instead, I would write a book about twenty specific cover songs, and through those twenty covers, a broader narrative would emerge.

The story of covers as traced in Cover Me involves artistic triumphs and music-industry shenanigans. It touches on trends in record-making, music videos, and the internet’s impact on music (did you know the first viral song was a cover?). There are beautiful moments of unlikely artists coming together, and some uglier instances of exploitation and racism. Every major change in the music industry since the advent of rock and roll finds some expression in the world of cover songs. Continue reading »

Jan 112013
 

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

“Hello It’s Me” by Todd Rundgren had a very long gestation period. Originally recorded in 1968 and released as the B-side of the Nazz’s “Open My Eyes,” it was re-recorded in 1971 and released on 1972’s Something/Anything? album; a year later, it came out as a single, at which point it went top-five and became Rundgren’s biggest hit. The wait may have been prolonged and inexplicable, but that Carole King-with-soul sound made the wait totally worthwhile.
Continue reading »

May 252011
 

Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.

Sure, Bob Dylan’s birthday may technically be over, but Bob Dylan’s birthweek is still going strong. So we continue our five-part series showcasing covers of every Dylan song today with the biggest installment yet. A full 60 covers await on the following pages, with heavyweights like the Isley Brothers and the Clash and newcomers like Adele and the Morning Benders. The latest chunk spans the letters K (Guns n’ Roses’ “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”) through O (Crooked Still’s “Oxford Town”) and features some of Bob’s best known songs. “Mr. Tambourine Man.” “Like a Rolling Stone.” “Masters of War.” “Lay, Lady, Lay.” The list goes on.

Click the page numbers down below to start listening. If you’re just joining us, here’s where we are so far:

Part 1: “Absolutely Sweet Marie” – “Everything Is Broken”
Part 2: “Father of Night” – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”
Part 3: “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – “Oxford Town”
Part 4: “Peggy Day” – “Sweetheart Like You” [Coming Thursday]
Part 5: “T.V Talkin’ Song” – “4th Time Around” [Coming Friday]

Continued on Page 2…

May 182011
 

Mayer Hawthorne didn’t crash onto the scene the way other soul revivalists did in 2008. Sharon Jones and Raphael Saadiq cast big shadows that year that proved difficult for other soul revivalists to get out from under. Still, Hawthorne managed to get his voice out there and people tuned in to listen found themselves impressed. “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” became a stylish indie hit, shepherding many nerdy white kids into the enticing world of soul music. Hawthorne’s debut album A Strange Arrangement managed to propel him onto the scene, but this new covers EP will give Mayer Hawthorne the sticking power he needs to become an indie powerhouse. If nothing else, it will carry fans over until the long-awaited release of his follow up album How Do You Do this fall. Continue reading »

May 122011
 

A couple days ago we told you about Mayer Hawthorne’s new covers EP and now he’s dropped the whole set for free. It’s called Impressions (though, ironically, they’re not one of the R&B groups he covers). Over six tracks, the Detroit producer-turned-singer positions himself as an archivist par excellence, digging up forgotten cuts from yesteryear (The Festivals’ “You’ve Got the Makings of a Lover”) and nodding to peer funk revivalists (Chromeo’s “Don’t Turn the Lights On”). Continue reading »

Aug 092010
 

At Cover Me, we love festivals. Often a chance for artists to reach out to a new audience, fests offer fertile ground for a genre-bridging cover. As volunteers clean up the last of the trash from Grant Park and fans begin the long drive home, we round up the covers from this past weekend, just like we did with Bonnaroo and Glastonbury.

It’s an eclectic mix. Green Day goes soul, Blues Traveler goes reggae, and Switchfoot goes brat-rap. Check them all out below. What did I miss? Do you have any better videos (particularly of the Switchfoot)? Let me know in the comments! Continue reading »