Feb 112010

Five Good Covers is an occasional series in which we look at a song that has supplied a variety of cross-genre cover versions. One mark of a well-written song is versatility, so we celebrate such songs with five totally different interpretations.

Time for a new semi-regular feature: Five Good Covers. Lots of websites showcase exhaustive lists of every version the writer could find of a certain song, which is great if you want 35 covers of “Umbrella,” not so helpful if you only want the best few. Here we whittle it down, presenting only five covers of any one song. Fewer songs than you might think can support five varying but valid interpretations.

We start off with a Valentine’s Day-appropriate song: “Be My Baby,” by the Ronettes. This song is often described as the crowning accomplishment of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound production, with Brian Wilson calling it the greatest pop record ever made. It works equally well without that million-dollar gloss.

Paranoiacs – Be My Baby

The adorable harmonies of Ronettes have been replaced by a sketchy guy in the corner of the bar assuring you your drink doesn’t taste chalky. [Buy]

Jocelyn Scofield – By My Baby

Soft piano gives a tragic twist to this cover. The singer here is probably destined to remain baby-less. [Buy]

We Are Scientists – Be My Baby

Waves of distortion cannot mask this bouncy chorus. [Buy]

Linda Ronstadt – Be My Baby

Linda veers away from her country-folk roots on this twee little nugget of adoration. [Buy]

Steve Carlson – Be My Baby

What begins as a basic acoustic jam takes on a groovy finish with some reggae-inflected riffing. [Buy]

Got an idea for a future Five Good Covers feature? Leave a comment!

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  6 Responses to “Five Good Covers: Be My Baby (The Ronettes)”

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  1. How about them:

    – Bachman Turner Overdrive – You ain't seen nothin yet
    – R. Kelly – I believe I can fly
    – Ace of Base – All that she wants
    – ACDC – TNT
    – 10cc – I'm not in love
    – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
    – Beach Boys – Like ice in the sunshine
    – Bill Withers – Ain't no sunshine
    – Billy Joel – For the longest time
    – Bloodhound Gang – Along comes Mary
    – Bon Jovi – Its my life

  2. Sam Cooke – A change is gonna come

  3. Ronstadt did some great covers Tracks of my Tears and First Cut is the deepest are two that come to mind

  4. DM Smith – Be My Baby
    John Lennon – Be My Baby (Alternate Version)

  5. Not to be missed:

    Hurray For The Riff Raff — Be My Baby


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