May 192017
 
Cover Me

As we’ve noted already, 2017 marks Cover Me’s tenth birthday. We’ll have some more celebratory posts leading up to the actual date this fall, but I’m thrilled to announce one thing that’s on deck for October: the release of my first book, Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time!

Ever since I started this site, friends and readers have suggested that I should write a book about cover songs (surprisingly, a comprehensive book doesn’t really exist). For years, I resisted. “That’s like saying ‘I’m going to write a book about original songs’,” I’d snarkily reply – i.e., that’s a stupid idea. Cover songs seemed too broad a category. There’s no grand unifying theory of cover songs to fit tidily between two book covers; it’s too big and messy and wonderful a tent for that.

Aretha FranklinAfter years of saying no, I finally came up with the solution. I wouldn’t write a book about cover songs – instead, I would write a book about twenty specific cover songs, and through those twenty covers, a broader narrative would emerge.

The story of covers as traced in Cover Me involves artistic triumphs and music-industry shenanigans. It touches on trends in record-making, music videos, and the internet’s impact on music (did you know the first viral song was a cover?). There are beautiful moments of unlikely artists coming together, and some uglier instances of exploitation and racism. Every major change in the music industry since the advent of rock and roll finds some expression in the world of cover songs. Continue reading »

Dec 062016
 
best cover songs

Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work making our list of The Best Cover Songs of 2016. Narrowing it down to 50 caused some excruciating choices, that’s how many great covers there were this year.

We’ll be posting the full list next week (and “Best Cover Albums” this Thursday), but as a little appetizer, here are our Honorable Mentions, covers we loved and still wanted to spotlight as among the best 2016 had to offer. Continue reading »

Sep 262011
 

“Weird Al” Yankovic first debuted his new “Polka Face” covers medley live last year, and now, 15 months later, we move from shaky concert footage to off-the-wall music video. Now, normally Al’s polkas get music videos for his concerts consisting of the original video clips synced to his medley (like this one), so this marks his polka-video debut. Continue reading »

Jun 202011
 

“Weird Al” Yankovic drops by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight in support of his new album Alpocalypse, but not just as the musical guest. No, the entire episode, he’ll be sitting in with the Roots! From the sound of it, the parody-hop dream team have been having some fun preparing. During soundcheck, they jammed on an instrumental cover of, appropriately enough, Madvillain’s “Accordion” and it’s worth a listen. Continue reading »

Jun 152011
 

No question, music-comedy pioneer “Weird Al” Yankovic is known for his parodies and, to a lesser extent, his original musical numbers. But he performs a third, perhaps underappreciated, category of song: the cover. Every album includes a “polka” medley which, though not labeled as such, fits the dictionary definition of a cover: same lyrics, different music. His latest, Alpocalypse, includes another instant classic: Polka Face. Continue reading »

Jun 142011
 

So far, 2011 has been a pretty good year for “Weird Al” Yankovic. After a heavily publicized semi-battle with Lady Gaga, Alpocalypse, his first record in five years, will see release next week. Right now, though, die-hard Al-oholics can enjoy another new album thanks to music site Bandcamp – a tribute to the Monster of Mock known as Twenty-Six and a Half.

As much as Yankovic’s known for his parodies, the tracks on Twenty-Six and a Half mostly forego the reworked pop songs. Only three parody tributes pop up here – a forgettable, chill “Can’t Watch This” from MC Lars, a relatively straight cover of rarity “Pac-Man” (The Beatles’ “Tax Man”) from Nuclear Bubble Wrap, and a revelatory electronic version of “I Lost on Jeopardy” via nerd-lebrity mc chris. The latter makes me think that some intrepid cover artists out there should reverse-engineer chris’ track to get a really cool cover of Greg Kihn’s original number (“Jeopardy”), but I digress. Continue reading »