Jan 182021
 

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

Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing"

Hot Chocolate’s career actually started with a cover. They covered John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” in a reggae style, but had to go through Lennon himself to get approval. Although Hot Chocolate then went on to have a stable career of hits in the UK in the ’70s, “You Sexy Thing” is the standout. The song has helped sell products from the Double Whopper to cameras and cars, and it’s been featured in many movies and TV shows. It’s become iconic.

However, this song was originally a B-side track when it was released in 1975. Big mistake, huge! Once re-released as a remix, it took off. It was even headed for the top spot in the UK, but an obscure song beat them there. Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” ever heard of it? How did they know this song would “be the one” to stand the test of time? It ended up being the only song to stay in the UK top ten across the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

Whether you believe in miracles or not these days, let’s hear five different takes on this unabashed tune.
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Jan 152021
 

“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty-odd years.

mother in law covers

Few embraced their one-hit wonder status as enthusiastically as New Orleans R&B singer Ernie K-Doe. “Mother in Law” went to number one in 1961 – the first ever chart-topper out of New Orleans – and he never again came close. Eventually, he stopped trying, and leaned into it. With the help of his wife, he founded the live music venue Mother-in-Law Lounge in New Orleans. He would perform there regularly – and if people wanted to hear “Mother in Law” a whole bunch of times during one set, he’d play it a whole bunch of times during one set!

Back in 1961, the song became a standard almost immediately upon release. That didn’t help Ernie all that much, though; he didn’t write it. The great Allen Toussaint did, but he considered it a throwaway – so much so that he literally threw it away, before a backing singer rescued it from the trashcan and handed to K-Doe. Here’s a video of K-Doe performing with the song’s writer on piano in the ’90s (starts at the ten-minute mark):

“Mother in Law” has been covered hundreds of times (maybe thousands if you count cheeky wedding bands). Here are some of the high points… Continue reading »

Jan 142021
 
jeff tweedy neil young

“Sorry, we are closed,” reads the sign on the outside of iconic Chicago music venue The Hideout. Closed, but not entirely empty, as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and his band (including sons Spencer and Sammy) are on stage, covering Neil Young’s American Stars ‘n Bars classic “The Old Country Waltz” to a roomful of empty chairs. At one point, they cut to a recording from outside the venue so you can hear what this concert would sound like to people walking by: Muddy and muffled, but like you want to go inside. It’s a poignant reminder of what we’re missing, and what could be lost forever. Continue reading »

Jan 122021
 
bridgerton covers

If you are currently binge-watching the Netflix show Bridgerton, yes, that was an orchestral cover of Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, next” you heard. The soundtrack to Bridgerton,a Shonda Rhimes 1800s period piece filled with wealth, lust, and betrayal, is overseen by composer and musician Kris Bowers. Bowers worked with Alexandra Patsavas, who is responsible for the six pop covers scattered through the series. Patsavas told Parade “the choices and their respective placements are each very deliberate, and that the Grande and Swift covers specifically ‘were able to tell the musical story and amplify a female perspective.” Continue reading »

Jan 122021
 
caroline polachek breathless

The Corrs’ turn-of-the-millennium hit “Breathless” is very of its era, with pleading vocals and smart and snappy snare drum that’s perfect for late afternoon summer afternoons with your crush. A new cover from Caroline Polachek, formerly of indie-pop favorites Chairlift, keeps this same romantic vibe, but has updated it with a modern dance floor sound. Continue reading »

Jan 112021
 
Fleshgod Apocalypse

Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” was inescapable in 1999. Everywhere you went, there it was. I thought they were saying “If I was green I would die” (trying singing it instead of “dabadeedabadi”) and generally did everything I could to get away from this ubiquitous song. Now, over 20 years later, Eiffel 65’s fellow Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse have given me something to celebrate, a crazy symphonic death metal cover of the song. I didn’t know I wanted this, but I absolutely did. Continue reading »