Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
1967 found the Rolling Stones still struggling to find their true voice. Sure, they’d had their across-the-board number-one hit a couple of years earlier with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” but both their singles and albums found them following the trends of the day, not truly leading the way. It wouldn’t be until 1968’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” that they would really break free of the pack and enter their glorious Golden Age.
That’s not to say that the pre-1968 Stones didn’t put out some brilliant tracks. Take “Ruby Tuesday,” for instance. Released as a double-A side with “Let’s Spend the Night Together” in January 1967, the track hit Number 1 in the U.S. and the U.K. Penned mostly by Keith Richards, with a bit of help from Brian Jones, the song acts as a farewell to a lover lost to a drug haze. Jakob Dylan recently reminded us of the song’s greatness with his performance at Stones Fest. We went digging and found another five good covers which you can check out below.
Melanie – Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones cover)
American folk singer Melanie rose to prominence in the late ’60s, appearing at the Woodstock Festival. The performance inspired her to write her first U.S. Top-Ten hit, “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” Drawn from the same album, her version of “Ruby Tuesday” hit Number 9 on the U.K. chart in 1970. Her voice is perfectly suited for the track, delicately speak-singing the verses, but soaring on the chorus.
Don Williams and The Pozo Seco Singers – Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones cover)
You may not think of folk-pop schmaltz when you hear “Ruby Tuesday.” That’s exactly what Don Williams and the awesomely-named Pozo Seco Singers (what does it mean?) give you here. Replete with cheesy horns and a bouncy beat, the track sounds like the theme to an early ’70s TV show. Soon, though, you get sucked into the schmaltz and find yourself bopping your head along with the beat.
Vic Chesnutt – Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones cover)
Quadriplegic from the age of 18 after a car accident, Vic Chesnutt was no stranger to loss. His emotional struggles ended on Christmas Day 2009 with his death by suicide. Here, he lays bare his sensitivity with a deeply personal performance during the verses that he blows up with an explosive chorus. His plaintive cries of “goodbye” during the last chorus seem to reach down into his very depths and expose his pain.
Katey Segal – Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones cover)
Yep, that Katey Segal. The Married with Children mom turned badass motorcycle mama on Sons of Anarchy does double-duty on the latter series, singing several songs on the soundtrack. Here she turns in a delicate, lush version of “Ruby Tuesday” that plays up the sadness and loss in the lyric. Though she runs the risk of wandering into the overwrought, Segal treads carefully, leaving us with a simple, poignant interpretation.
Scorpions – Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones cover)
Okay, I’ll admit it – when I first came across this version, I though it was going to be terrible. Come on – Scorpions? Really? This could so easily have just been a cheesy, hair metal anthem attempt by a band well past its prime. Instead, the band turns in a surprisingly strong and vital cover that has all of the elements of a metal anthem, but stays tasteful and respectful, never overblown.
You can download the original track on Amazon.
The best for me is the Nazareth’s version.
Love Katy. Surprised how good her voice is, but covering a Stones song is risky business for anyone, and she just doesn’t seem to feel it. In my opinion, Melanie does it better than the Stones, and of course, it’s a GREAT song with the Stones. In fact, it might be the only Stones cover I’ve heard that I like at all.