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

AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” is a three-and-a-half minute clarion call about the joy of sex. No “take my heart” sentiments, no “our love’s gonna last” – just one loud, raunchy, glorious celebration of a one-night stand, bypassing the brain and going directly to the gut (and points lower). There’s something primal about it – the simple beat, the easy to remember words, the sheer volume of the performances – that gives the listener a feeling both of power and control over that power. Little wonder that the song is de rigueur for pole dancers: it empowers both the men and the women; its instant familiarity makes hearing the opening notes like welcoming back an old friend; and by God, it’s fun. Continue reading »

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

It’s hard to invent new praise for Stevie Wonder, but because today is his birthday I must rise to the occasion. The high priest of soul turns 61. That means it’s been exactly fifty years since Stevie Wonder first signed with Motown Records at age 11 and began to amass his more than 30 top ten US hits and 22 Grammy awards. As the ultimate luminary of soul music, Wonder’s influence has pervaded nearly every other genre. He is one of those few artists where anyone claiming he’s overrated is only embarrassing himself. This puts him on the same level as Dylan, the Stones, and the Beatles, and above iconic but more disputable artists like Aerosmith, Prince, and Madonna. Continue reading »

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

Here’s one of those situations where the cover is actually more widely-known than the original. The song was originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1964. Unlike the later covers of the song  that have been chart-climbers (like Soft Cell’s), Jones’ version nearly fell into complete obscurity until a British DJ, Richard Searling, stumbled upon her CD My Bad Boy’s Comin’ Home almost ten years later. The song garnered enough underground success on the UK Northern Soul scene (the ’60s mod-twist on American soul music) to prompt Jones to re-record the single in 1976, but the tainted track once again got no love from the charts. Continue reading »

Hair Metal

Posted by Ray Padgett at 2:00 pm 4 Responses »
Mar 152010

When The Darkness hit the scene in the 2003, critics began braying about the “hair metal revival.” Well, as it turned out that “revival” was pretty much confined to one band and, really, to one song. Once college kids got sick of shredding their vocal chords trying to hit the “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” high notes, hair metal slunk back to 1984. This is probably a good thing, though it did produce some memorable songs the first time around.


Bran Van 3000 – Cum on Feel the Noize (Slade / Quiet Riot)
[Buy]
Slade had a hit in the U.K. with this rock and roll tribute to poor spelling, but it took Quiet Riot’s glammed-up cover to bring it stateside. Sadly, the subdued dance version by Montreal electronica collective Bran Van 3000 (best known for “Drinking in L.A.) didn’t have the same impact.

My Morning Jacket – Home Sweet Home (Mötley Crüe) [Buy]
After three hours of heavy rain, it was 3 a.m. and all but the most devoted fans had left My Morning Jacket’s epic Bonnaroo 2008 set. Those who remained were treated to this one-time-only Crüe cöver, with a special appearance by Zach Galfianakis (dressed as Little Orphan Annie).

The Swirling Eddies – Sing Along Song (Stryper) [Buy]
When Christian music apes a popular trend, it tends to be accused (fairly) of presenting a watered-down version of the real thing. Not Stryper. If anything, they made hair metal more outrageous with yellow and black spandex, extra makeup, and songs about Jesus. [more Christian rock covers]

The Diamond Family Archive – Here I Go Again (Whitesnake) [Buy]
DFA’s Laurence Collyer says a friend described this song as the soundtrack of his life. A lingerie-clad model splayed across a Jaguar? I wish this was what my life sounded like! [more Diamond Family Archive covers]

The Breeders – Lord of the Thighs (Aerosmith) [Buy]
In their “60 Cover Versions That Rattle the State of Song” article, The Wire wrote, “As sung by Josephine Wiggs, The Breeders’ version of Aerosmith’s ‘Lord Of The Thighs’ did as much to upend 1970s and 80s cock rock as anything in the grunge era.” A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but still, good song.

Reel Big Fish – Nothin’ But a Good Time (Poison) [Buy]
Reel Big Fish’s 2009 covers album Fame, Fortune and Fornication took on not one, but two Poison songs (the other was “Talk Dirty to Me”). The horn part reminds me of “Disco Inferno.” [more Poison covers]

Emm Gryner – Pour Some Sugar on Me (Def Leppard) [Buy]
Girl Versions finds Gryner putting here piano chick-pop spin on songs by male songwriters from Ozzy to Fugazi. Somehow even the most unlikely choices sound like lite radio staples. [more Def Leppard covers]

Pernilla Andersson – Don’t Let Me Down (Twisted Sister) [Buy]
White taking hair metal to its natural transgendered extreme, Twisted Sister created two of the most enduring headbangers in “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” (each featuring a fantastic Animal House-spoofing music video). Sweden’s Pernilla Andersson makes the quiet case for one of their lesser-known tunes.

Toy Dolls – The Final Countdown (Europe) [Buy]
Someday someone will find a way to cover this song that isn’t fantastic. From Laibach’s heavy industrial to these guys’ kazoos though, I haven’t heard it yet.

The Lost Fingers – You Give Love a Bad Name (Bon Jovi) [Buy]
In 2008 the Lost Fingers gave the world Lost in the 80s, a fantastic cover album that brought everyone from AC/DC to Technotronic to a funky bluegrass hoedown. The fact that the lead singer sounds like he’s losing his voice here only adds authenticity.

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