May 272024
prince fatty smells like teen spirit cover

Even now, over three decades later, there is probably no more iconic Nirvana song for non-fans than “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It’s their biggest hit and far and away their most covered song, with basically double the number of covers of any other of their songs.

British reggae and dub producer Prince Fatty figured there still weren’t enough. He just released a 7″ with not one but two “Smells Like Teen Spirit” covers on it. The a-side is an instrumental version featuring a prominent horn section and the b-side features a slightly different mix with guest vocalists.

The a-side begins with a classic reggae groove and The Soothsayer Horns immediately playing the chorus rather than the verse. There’s a trumpet solo on the chorus before they head back to the verse to take a different approach. The bridge features some breaks and a sax solo. After a third trip through the chorus there is an organ solo and then the horns vamp on the outro.

The b-side throws you for a bit of a loop at first as it begins with prominent guitar playing the iconic intro – completely absent from the a-side – but it dies away almost immediately to be replaced by the same intro as the a-side. This time a guitar does play the famous ringing notes, though only occasionally. Famous Jamaican reggae singer Little Roy takes the first verse. Former Slits vocalist/keyboardist Hollie Cook takes the second verse and the two trade lines on the final verse.

The versions are remarkably different given the similarities of the backing tracks. It’s two fun plays on a song that many of us of a certain age have heard way too many times.

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