Apr 212017
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

new sell out

It couldn’t miss – a music genre’s Who’s Who paying tribute to the Who.

These were some of the biggest names in the power-pop world (a small underground world, granted, but one with a truly devoted population) taking on The Who Sell Out, the band’s concept album that saluted pirate radio and served as a bridge to the world of Tommy. Like the original album, the tribute would feature fake commercials and promos – “every word, every chunk, in order,” said Keith Klingensmith, the head of Detroit indie label Futureman Records. “My partner, Rick McBrien, and I had this idea for a while now, and we knew we would never get another compilation idea this good, so we decided to do it ourselves.”

The power pop intelligentsia waited for the album’s release with bated breath and more than a little drool. And waited. And waited…
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Feb 142017
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

sean

Sean Balkwill makes his home in North Carolina. He’s been writing for Cover Me since 2013, and has also served as the site’s art director. Of all his Cover Me essays, he especially likes his pieces on Glen Hansard and the Replacements, both of which feature Sean’s artwork.

When I thought of the idea of writing about the personal connection to cover songs, I thought it would be great to also extemporize on the question, “What is a cover song?” So I’ve decided to write about a list of songs that changed the way that I looked at cover music itself, both on a personal level and on a wider trek to define what a cover song is. Here’s my thoughts…
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Mar 092016
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s a favorite live cover song?
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Sep 102015
 
hollywood v

Back in the 1970s, Alice Cooper was president of The Lair of the Hollywood Vampires.  It was a drinking club of various rock stars that hung out in the loft at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in L.A.  Members included  Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson and Micky Dolenz.  (John Lennon was also an honorary member.)

Recently, Cooper brought back the Hollywood Vampire name for a super group that includes Johnny Depp, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Paul McCartney, Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters), Brian Johnson (AC/DC), Robbie Krieger (The Doors), Slash (G-n-R), Joe Walsh (Eagles), Orianthi and Kip Winger.  (And that’s not even all of them.)

The album, which hits stores on Friday, features covers from Led Zeppelin, T. Rex, Small Faces and Badfinger.  (Along with a couple of new songs written by Cooper.)

Here is their cover of The Who’s “My Generation”.

More about Hollywood Vampires can be found on their website and on Facebook.

Jun 272015
 

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

johne

On June 27, 2002, John Entwistle died at the age of 57. Four days later, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend began a tour as the Who. The show began with Daltrey announcing, “Tonight we play for John Entwistle…. He was the true spirit of rock & roll, and he lives on in all the music we play.” It goes without saying that all the music they’ve played since hasn’t been the same as it would have been with ol’ Thunderfingers in front of his Marshall stack, stone still except for his amazing hands.

While Townshend’s songs were the lifeblood of the Who, Entwistle carved out a distinctive part in the band’s voice with his own writings. Where Townshend’s work could take itself very seriously, Entwistle’s was able to be both lighter and darker – lighter in that it showed a sense of humor, darker in how ghoulish that sense of humor could be. He leavened the band even as he bolstered it.
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Mar 132015
 

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!

When you consider their longevity, the sheer number and variety of their live performances, and influences as diverse as bluegrass, country, soul, rock, psychedelia, blues, and jazz, it is likely that the Grateful Dead may have recorded and/or performed more covers than any other band that is best known for its original songs. (There’s probably a wedding band out there that has a bigger songbook, but that’s not really the point.) Grateful Dead fans have been trading and cataloging their favorite band’s performances since long before the idea of digital music and the Internet even existed, and now there are numerous databases available online — one of which shows 343 separate covers performed by the band (and solo projects and offshoots), including soundchecks and performances with guests.

Therefore, it is somewhat surprising that Cover Me has never turned its lovelight directly on the Grateful Dead. We have written numerous times about covers of Dead songs, but a quick review of the archives indicates that only three covers by the band have been featured—Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” and Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee” and “Mama Tried.” So, that leaves us a mere 340 to choose from today. To make this project (inspired in part by Phil Lesh’s 75th birthday this Sunday and by the recent announcement of the band’s 50th anniversary shows in Chicago this summer) somewhat less insane, we will limit ourselves only to recordings or performances by the Grateful Dead, proper — no solo projects or anything from after the death of Jerry Garcia.
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