Ray Padgett

Ray Padgett founded the blog Cover Me in 2007 and has run it ever since, growing it into the largest blog devoted to cover songs on the web. His music writing has appeared in the New Yorker, SPIN, MTV, Vice, Mojo, and more and he’s been interviewed as an expert on cover songs by NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and SiriusXM. He lives in Burlington, Vermont and also works as a publicist for Shore Fire Media. His book Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time is out now. His 33 1/3 book on tribute albums and Leonard Cohen is out September 3, 2020. Find more info on him and the books here.

May 082024
 
Cover Songs Steve Albini

Steve Albini died today. In addition to being a musician in his own right, he was a legendary engineer (he refused to be credited as “producer”) who recorded Nirvana’s In Utero, Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, and many others. He recorded hundreds of albums, for bands big and small, right up through his passing.

There are a million ways to honor him, but, for now, I thought I’d share some covers that he produced recorded. Not for his own bands like Big Black and Shellac—we may have a separate post devoted to that—but for other people’s.

The first couple covers are iconic, mainstays of “The Best Covers of All Time” type lists. The rest are more obscure. But they all have the Albini touch—which, as he would be the first to point out, was a light one. These lean towards the alt-rock and punk, with some weird-folk excursions, but ultimately as an engineer he worked to help the bands get the sounds they wanted. Including when they wanted to do covers. Continue reading »

Apr 302024
 
best cover songs
The Dirty Nil — Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler cover)

I’m honestly surprised there weren’t more “Total Eclipse” covers during this month’s total eclipse. Perhaps because our total eclipse was of the sun, rather than the heart. Or, more likely, because this song is hard as hell to sing. Best of the bunch came this garage-rocking version from Ontario trio The Dirty Nil. Gritty and raw, and singer Luke Bentham sells the hell out of it. Continue reading »

Apr 012024
 
best cover songs
Aoife O’Donovan — The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (Bob Dylan cover)

Bartees Strange — You Always Hurt The Ones You Love (Mills Brothers cover)

Beyoncé — Blackbird (The Beatles cover)

Continue reading »

Mar 012024
 
best cover songs february 2024
Annie Lennox — Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince/Sinéad O’Connor cover)

The emotional highpoint of the Grammys—well, other than Tracy Chapman’s return (covers-adjacent!)–was Annie Lennox’s tribute to Sinéad O’Connor during the In Memoriam. Bonus points because she was backed by two longtime bandmembers of Prince (who, of course, wrote the song), Wendy and Lisa. The teardrop on Lennox’s eye was very Prince, and the political statement at the end was very Sinéad. Continue reading »

Jan 312024
 
best cover songs january
BABii — Lovefool (The Cardigans cover)

Brent Amaker And The Rodeo – Gut Feeling (Devo cover)

Continue reading »

Jan 022024
 
james elkington the winner takes it all

On his new double album Me Neither, Chicago singer-songwriter James Elkington recorded an array of instrumental guitar improvisations, ditching words entirely in favor of 29 evocative soundscapes. 28 of those 29 are original compositions. The final track, however, is not. It’s a cover of ABBA’s classic “The Winner Takes It All”—although, without words, anyone not listening closely might early miss that. In Elkington’s literal hands, it fits right into the John Fahey style of American primitive guitar. Continue reading »