Jun 042019
 

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

sugar sugar covers

I used to work in the music department of a chain bookstore. One day a customer came in and asked, “Do you have a copy of the song ‘Sugar, Sugar’?” We did, of course; I took him to the Various Artists section and handed him a copy of Billboard Top Rock ‘n’ Roll Hits: 1969.

“Thanks,” he said. “I have to learn this song for a lip-sync for work.” He grimaced.

“Wait,” I said. “If it doesn’t matter what version you lip-sync to…”

In a twinkling he was holding a Very Best of Wilson Pickett CD, containing Pickett’s classic “Sugar, Sugar” cover. “Yes!” he said, eyes alight. “This has songs on it I’ll actually want to listen to more than once!”

The Wicked Pickett’s version is indeed eternally worthy of relistening, but I don’t want to slight the Archies song. Sung by Ron Dante and backed up by Toni Wine (who turns 72 today!), it’s the perfect AM rock song, the #1 song of 1969, one that Lou Reed once admitted he wished he’d written. It’s been remade for Archie-related live-action TV shows, not once but twice. And it’s raked up a lot of covers – including some by artists you never would have guessed…

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Jun 052015
 

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

bobmarley

His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation. – Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, in his eulogy to Bob Marley

Maybe it’s a cheat to include a greatest hits album in the Full Album Covers category, but when the suggestion of Legend was put forward, I was intrigued. Only as I started searching did I perhaps discover why this best-of was the album suggested, instead of Catch a Fire, say, or Natty Dread. One of Bob Marley’s “normal” studio, or even live, albums might have been, well, a much duller choice, actually. If not dull, then uninnovative and samey, because anyone can do karaoke, and by golly, there are a lot of copycat Marley covers out there! By focusing on Legend, at least there is  opportunity to steer a little clearer of identikit versions.
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