Bob Dylan – I Can’t Seem to Say Goodbye (Jerry Lee Lewis cover)
Bob Dylan doesn’t change his setlists much anymore. In fact, on his recent UK and European tour, he played the exact same setlist every single night…except one. The day it was announced Jerry Lee Lewis passed away, Dylan returned to the stage after his usual finale “Every Grain of Sand.” As anyone who’s read his new book knows, Bob knows his music history. So he skipped the obvious picks and tackled the quite obscure Sun Records-era outtake “I Can’t Seem to Say Goodbye.”
Christine “Kingfish” Ingram – Red House (Jimi Hendrix cover)
Buddy Guy’s protege Kingfish performed “Red House” on the roof of Jimi Hendrix’s actual house. Well, okay, it’s not red, and it is really a hotel Jimi last lived in, not a house, but close enough. Hendrix would have turned 80 this month, and there are few better young guitarists who can both shred and bring sensitivity and soul than the 23-year-old Kingfish. Anyone who’s ever heard him will not be surprised to learn he slays this cover.
Dopapod – Albuquerque (Weird Al cover)
Boston jam-band Dopapod won Halloween this year. Not only did they all dress up as Weird Al and associated characters, but they covered his music in concert. And not just one Al song, but eight. Including, as if that still wasn’t ambitious, the epic “Albuquerque.” Somehow singer Eli Winderman remembers all the words, and keeps the energy going until the very last minute. “We hope you had as much fun living in the weird, wild world of Weird Al as we did,” he says at the end. Watch out Phish; Dopapod is coming for your Halloween-jam-covers throne. The whole show is worth checking out at Bandcamp (the vamp during the “Weird Al Theme” alone is worth your $4.99).
Emma Zander – Last Resort (Papa Roach cover)
I occasionally joke amongst our staff that one day I’m going to make the subject of our monthly Best Covers Ever lists the terrible nu metal band Papa Roach. If I ever follow through on the threat, I think we’ve got a contender for the top spot.
Harry Styles – Hopelessly Devoted to You (Grease cover)
Halloween 2022 runner-up goes to Harry Styles, who for his “Harryween” show donned a custom Grease getup with his name in rhinestones on the back and led a pretty amazing “Hopelessly Devoted to You” singalong.
Laibach – The Future (Leonard Cohen cover)
Laibach has been creating insane industrial covers for over 40 years now. They’re growly and dark and almost never anything like the originals. They’re also generally political, though, as their Wikipedia notes, the politics are unclear: “Initially the lyrics handled war and military themes; later, the focus turned to any highly charged political issue of the moment, sending intentionally ambiguous messages.” “I’ve seen the future, brother, it is murder” certainly takes a position.
Nameless Ghost – Kimiko’s Dream House (Mark Lanegan cover)
For the B-side of his new single, Nameless Ghost tackled “Kimiko’s Dream House”, which late Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan released on his 2001 solo album Field Music. Nameless Ghost’s Dave (not so nameless after all) writes in an email, “Field Songs was my introduction to Mark Lanegan as a solo artist, and it might still be my favourite album of his. I had intended to cover ‘Kimiko’s Dream House’ for some time, but when we lost Mark earlier this year, I decided to sit down and record it. Approaching it was tricky; I certainly don’t have his voice, so I ultimately tried to make up for that instrumentally. I hope I’ve done it some justice.”
Rage of Light – Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover)
Has there been a single one of these lists in the last six months that didn’t include a “Running Up That Hill” cover? They continue coming fast and furious – and, against all odds, are mostly pretty good! As you might guess from the band name, Rage of Light’s version gets loud, but the Swiss metal band excels at the quieter moments too.
Samantha Tieger – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Go’s cover)
Nashville artist Samantha Tieger goes dark and gothy on her new Go-Go’s cover. She said, “I absolutely love recording cover songs and re-telling the original story from a new lens. In this case, I wanted to dig into the darker side of the message, as I’ve always found that the lyrics would lend themselves well to a more haunting version.”
Wilson Phillips – Boyfriends (Harry Styles cover)
As Rolling Stone notes, Wilson Phillips’s last single, in 2012, was a cover of “Good Vibrations” – a song written by Brian Wilson, father to two of the veteran trio’s members. Ten years later, though, they are back with a cover of a much younger artist: Harry Styles. They tackle “Boyfriends,” off his recent chart-topping album Harry’s House. “We are all such big fans of Harry Styles and we are honored to cover such a well-written and recorded song like ‘Boyfriends,’” the band said in a statement. “We have daughters and nieces, as well as many heartbreaks, loves, and boyfriends in our own history, so the lyrics and harmony spoke to us on many levels. We are so proud to share our version of his already beautiful song with the world today.”