It’s hard to do a fresh cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” It’s been covered so well by so many at this point, and if you’re trying to compete with Bill Withers or Joe Cocker on their turf, you’re bound to lose. But British singer-songwriter Richard Maule found a novel way to make the song his own. The cover he sent us is inventive, bold, and the right amount of irreverent. Instead of going for big soul belting like so many do, he created a quirky quasi-acappella arrangement looping his voice and handclaps over and over again – and while it seems complicated, it wasn’t.
Sometimes covering a classic song can go, well, poorly. There are a few songs that should never be touched, and several others, such as Bill Withers‘ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” that shouldn’t be messed with unless you really know what you are doing. Or, as in Silent Rider’s case, you completely flip the song, making it something entirely of its own.
“A dark, autumnal inspired re-envisioning of Bill Withers’ classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” is how the Brooklyn-based band described their take on the song, and we think that encapsulates it perfectly. It is dark, moody, and definitely worth a listen on a stroll through a cold autumn night.
Check out more from Silent Rider on the band’s website.
When it comes to classic songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” finding fresh, unique covers can be almost impossible. Originally recorded back in 1971 by soul singer Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” has been covered by everyone from Sting to Michael Jackson to Eva Cassidy. But even a 40-year-old cover-prone song like “Ain’t No Sunshine” can be redone in an original way with a little bit of creativity and a lot of talent. Seattle-based neo-soul musician Anomie Belle happens to have both.
Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.
Tony Rounce, the guy at Ace Records who compiled Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney, had an easier job than most people who put together tribute albums. For one, this wasn’t an album that required all-new recordings by current bands; Rounce got to cherry-pick the best of the best from the ’60s and ’70s. For another, when the greatest songwriting team in the history of rock and roll is being interpreted by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and Little Richard, it’s going to be hard not to put together an excellent product.
When a band hasn’t released a studio album of new music in four years, and then puts out an album made up entirely of cover songs, you might expect their fans to get restless. For Counting Crows fans, though, Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) is no less sweet because the band didn’t write the songs. Lead singer Adam Duritz and the gang have been doing covers, in full or sneakily added as bridges in live shows, since their inception. And, as Duritz says in the liner notes, “I’ve never stopped being a fan” of other people’s music.
Anderson .Paak – Old Town Road (Lil Nas X cover)
Given how thoroughly “Old Town Road” dominated the summer – the longest-reigning Billboard #1 in history, for those under-a-rock-dwellers among you – it seems shocking that it took until now for the first truly great cover to emerge. Less shocking: that it came from rapper/singer/drummer extraordinaire Anderson .Paak. Back in May, he performed a more straightforward version with Lil Nas X himself, but for BBC’s Live Lounge he and his band The Free Nationals reinvented it into a soul groove with shades of D’Angelo.