Jun 152018
 
best cover songs 1978

Welcome to the third installment in our Best Cover Songs of Yesteryear countdown, where we act like we were compiling our usual year-end list from a year before we – or the internet – existed. Compared to the first two, this one has significantly less grunge than 1996 and less post-punk than 1987. It’s hard to have post-punk, after all, before you have punk, a new genre starting to hit its peak in 1978. And don’t forget the other big late-’70s sound: disco. Both genres were relatively new, and super divisive among music fans. Lucky for us, both genres were also big on covers.

Disco, in particular, generated some hilariously ill-advised cover songs. We won’t list them all here – this is the Best 1978 covers, not the Most 1978 covers. If you want a taste (and think carefully about whether you really do), this bonkers take on a Yardbirds classic serves as a perfect example of what a good portion of the year’s cover songs looked and sounded like: Continue reading »

Jun 122015
 

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

Reginald Maurice Ball was born 74 years ago today. Two and a half decades later, he took the stage name of Reg Presley. He may not have been the most famous person to take his identity from the King (right, Mr. Costello?), but he and his band, the Troggs, had as great an impact on rock and roll as anybody, thanks to the lewd, crude attitude of “Wild Thing.”

But while the Troggs were masters of expressing primal urges, they were awfully good with gentle, melodic pop as well. Presley can take credit for this, as he wrote most of the band’s material (“Wild Thing” being a notable exception). Result: the band has a far richer back catalog than the general public realizes, and if today’s artists were to plunder its caves, they would make some valuable finds.
Continue reading »

Sep 222011
 

As you’ve surely heard by now, R.E.M. broke up yesterday via an understated note on their website. Just as it began, the entire enterprise ended not with a bang, but with a murmur. The quartet-turned-trio performed together for 31 years, 15 albums, and countless “R.E.M. changed my life” exclamations in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Over the course of their career, the band performed countless covers. From the very beginning, they seemingly relished every opportunity to pay tribute to their influences, tacking covers onto singles, compilations, and their annual Christmas fan club records. In the whole lot, there are few duds. Through a combination of smart selections (no novelty rap covers here) and a rare ability to extract the essence of a lyric or melody, they made just about every song they tackled sound like an R.E.M. original. To remember the beloved band, we look back chronologically at some of their most important and best-known covers. Continue reading »

Aug 252011
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

San Francisco indie-pop purveyors Lemonade began making blog buzz with last year’s Pure Moods EP. Now they dig up “The Place Where You Belong,” making a lively jam of the 1994 Shai single everyone vividly remembers. Wait, don’t tell us you forgot the Beverly Hills Cop III soundtrack…
MP3: Lemonade – The Place Where You Belong (Shai cover) Continue reading »

Aug 092011
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

For most of their existence, Athens, GA quartet (later trio) R.E.M. has been synonymous with college rock. As early pioneers of the alternative movement that bucked popular trends like hair metal and new wave, R.E.M. gained significant notoriety among their core fan base with strong ’80s efforts like Murmur and Life’s Rich Pageant before finding mainstream success with hits such as 1987’s “The One I Love” and 1991’s monster single “Losing My Religion.” They continue to record to this day, and still have legions of devoted fans. In fact, they released their 15th studio album, Collapse Into Now, only a few months ago, taking them into the 31st consecutive year of their career. Continue reading »