Jun 112021

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Nina Hagen – All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose (Woody Guthrie cover)

Her third mentioning in this list, this time a solo one! The godmother of punk, as she is called in Germany, was born into a family of musicians, actors and writers in East Berlin before the Wall came down. She emigrated to the Western part and really started a career there. An extraordinary appearance with an outstanding voice, sometimes a bit strange in behavior. She changed religions like others do with shirts. In her Christian period, there was her album Personal Jesus – you can guess one of the covers – and Woody.

Mick Harvey – Ich Liebe Dich… Ich Dich Auch Nicht [Je t’aime moi non plus] (Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin cover)

A scandalous tune once, but yet so romantic and full of feeling, truly. French weirdo Serge Gainsbourg recorded it with his wife – and everybody was shocked. Mick Harvey, once a member of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds did a German version not too long ago. No idea who the female voice is.

Heiter bis Wolkig – Südbrücke (Zähle die Zeit) (The Pogues cover)

This band is not only a band, but a collective of political activists, rather left-wing. Going to one of their concerts means not only being entertained, but also being taught a lesson. But let’s not be too critical; they are quite funny – and listening to other opinions usually does no harm. The cover of the Pogues is surprising – especially with Shane McGowan as the guest singer (in German!).

Ted Herold – Little Linda (Elvis Presley cover)

When Elvis hit the world, here and there copies were tried. Ted Herold (what a name!) was the German try for that (like Shakin‘ Stevens in Britain, but some thirty years earlier). The music remained the same, but somehow played a little more laid back, and the lyrics had been transferred into German (but very tidy and clean, with no sexual subtext, of course!).

Das Holz – Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover)

It was quite late that I discovered the late great Leonard Cohen – but now I am quite a fan! Do I have to state that I also am a disciple of cover versions? But on all the tribute albums, there are not many female voices – so here we go. This beautiful German voice unites with the soft electric bleeps and the strings. Stunning.

Hong Kong Syndikat – Concrete and Clay (Unit Four Plus Two cover)

The original tune has a nice flow, but the voice of the singer here is so much softer and embracing, the rhythm more South-American. Once more a cover version I got to know before the original.

H-Blockx feat. Dr. Ring Ding – Ring of fire (Johnny Cash cover)

H-Blockx have been a German hardcore band (actually, my sister knew one of the members), the singer is now rather into pop and a judge in talent shows. Here, they cooperate with reggae/ska-artist Dr. Ring Ding. A country tune with some rap parts added… Strange somehow. Fire burn!

Isolation Berlin – Isolation (Joy Division cover)

What other track could you choose to cover, having this name as a band? The choice is far too obvious, but they translate it. By far one of the best new bands in Germany nowadays.

JBO – Ich möchte‘ so gerne Metal hör’n (Truck Stop cover)

Did I promise not to mention German bands covering German bands? I have to explain. Truck Stop are a German band who dress like cowboys – but do simple MOR/AOR songs. Their song about wishing to hear Hank Snow and Charley Pride on the car’s radio is transferred by JBO with the severe wish to hear Metal – ’cause they hate country! JBO (formerly James Blast Orchestra, forbidden name by the famous bandleader James Last) always dress in pink – and have a strange kind of humor.

Jesus Skins – Für Immer Christ [Forever Young] (Alphaville cover)

This band has to be explained. They are skinheads, but in the very tradition of the skinhead movement – rather left-wing, definitely working-class. But furthermore, they are hardcore-Christians – true and faithful in their belief in Christ. But open to everybody else. In Hamburg, the movement of the Jesus Freaks can be found – they are close to this organization. Additional information: they issued a split EP with the band Jewdriver – a Jewish punk band, making fun of the racist, aggressive and horrible Nazi band Skrewdriver.

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  2 Responses to “An Exhaustive History of German Cover Songs”

Comments (2)
  1. Looking forward to listening. By the way, the blog Any Major Dude With Half a Heart posted two lists of Schlager covers, at http://halfhearteddude.com/2017/10/any-major-schlager-covers-vol-1/ and http://halfhearteddude.com/2020/03/any-major-schlager-covers-vol-2/. The password is amdwhah. As always, thanks for all your hard work.

    • Dear Joe,
      that looks stunning – but all the links mentioned there (as well as two others, as well looking nice (Curious German and Stars sing German) are down…
      Is there any possibility of getting them elsewhere?
      Greetz, Karsten

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