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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