Dec 152017

Follow all our Best of 2017 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

best covers 2017

Year-end lists are a time to look back. That’s something we’ve been doing a lot of this year.

See, we turned ten years old in 2017 – practically ancient in internet-blog terms – so we’ve indulged in what we feel is well-earned nostalgia. At the beginning of the year, each of our writers picked the ten most important covers in their life (see them here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). We even listed the ten most important covers in Cover Me‘s life, from the song that inspired the site to our very first Best of the Year winner.

Then, to cap things off, in October we commissioned a 25-track tribute to the cover song itself – which you can still download for free. We love the covers everyone contributed so much, incidentally, that we didn’t consider them for this list. It’d be like picking favorite children – if you had 25 of ’em.

Oh, and have I mentioned I wrote a book? … What’s that you say? I mentioned that constantly? Well, I’m quite proud of it. It’s called Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time and it makes a great Christmas gift and – ok, ok, I’ll stop. You can find plenty more about it elsewhere.

Suffice to say, there’s been a lot of looking back this year. And we hope you’ll indulge us this one last glance rearward before we leap into 2018. Because if it’s been a hell of a year for us, it’s certainly also been a hell of a year for the cover song in general. Some of this year’s list ranks among the best covers we’ve ever heard, period. So dig in, and thanks for your support this past decade.

– Ray Padgett


May 142013

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!

Like any self-respecting rock musician these days, David Byrne has a musical currently running in New York, Here Lies Love, a disco extravaganza about Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and today he will celebrate his 61st birthday basking in its excellent reviews and an extended run. Although Byrne will always be known for his work with Talking Heads, he has also released solo albums of wildly varied styles, written books, created visual art projects, directed films and written music for movies, television, ballet and opera (winning an Oscar for his work on The Last Emperor). He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Brian Eno, Fatboy Slim, St. Vincent, Twyla Tharp, Phillip Glass, Robert Wilson, Selena, and Thievery Corporation. Not to mention running a record label and an Internet radio station. Also, he has designed bicycle racks. Continue reading »

Nov 152011

Every year, city of Melbourne, Australia puts on the Melbourne International Arts Festival. The event combines local and international artists of all sorts in a two-week program of events, exhibitions, and concerts. A few weeks ago, the festival wound up with an all-star protest concert titled Notes from the Hard Road and Beyond. It featured Joss Stone, Mavis Staples, and local favorite Paul Dempsey covering songs of hope and struggle. The whole thing was recorded by national station STVDIO for broadcast next Friday, but you can watch clips now. Continue reading »

Nov 052010

Back in February Quincy Jones brought together a bunch of young celebrities to remake “We Are the World.” He extended no invitations to any of the dozens original performers. Huey Lewis, one of these performers, took the news hard. Never one to bask in self-pity though, Lewis re-recorded his own version of “We Are the World” for Haiti. Given that it’s only him, he has to change it to “I Am the World.” Recorded for Jimmy Kimmel Live (that show is on a roll!), the video finds Lewis dressing up as “We Are the World” vets like Willie Nelson as he tries in vain to recreate the magic. Somehow, “I come together as one” just doesn’t work as well.

The real reason Lewis was on Kimmel was to perform two tracks off his new Stax Records covers album Soulsville. Watch Huey Lewis and the News strut through “Never Like This Before” and “Respect Yourself” below. Continue reading »