Tomás Doncker has wanted to cover Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power” for years. As the soul singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and head of True Groove Records told AM NY, he’s heard the song everywhere from a U2 concert to a YouTube choir as it has become an all-purpose protest anthem. Inspired by last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, he finally gave it a shot – but soon got stymied.
“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty-odd years.
Despite topping the charts in 1991 – for five weeks, no less – Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush” was not a song with legs. I myself had never even heard of it, being a couple years too young to be paying even peripheral attention to popular music at the time. It was named by music journalist Alfred Soto to his list of the “Worst Songs Ever,” but I’d say it’s less aggressively terrible than supremely unmemorable. Well, the song that is. The video, featuring floppy-haired Keanu Reeves, is something:
Earlier this year, Brandi Carlile memorably covered John Prine’s “I Remember Everything” at the Grammys. Shortly thereafter a studio version surfaced, from the upcoming sequel to the phenomenal 2010 tribute album Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine. At the time, details on Volume 2 were scarce, but now there’s a release date – October 8th – and a second cover: Sturgill Simpson’s “Paradise.”
Dave Richardson – Bright Phoebus (Lal & Mike Waterson cover)
Vermonter Dave Richardson digs deep into folk-rock history on his new album Palms to Pines, covering the title track of Lal & Mike Waterson’s 1972 album Bright Phoebus. Deeply obscure at the time – only 1,000 copies were initially pressed – it became known as “folk music’s Sgt. Pepper” among the very, very few people who actually heard it. The record has seen a recent resurgence with champions like Arcade Fire and Jarvis Cocker leading to a 2017 re-release on überhip Domino Records. Richardson makes it sound like a classic all along.
It’s been a long time since we heard from dreampop duo Memoryhouse. In fact, the last time they appeared on these pages, their cover of the Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year” appeared on our Best Covers of 2012 list. Yes, 2012.
One reason for the long absence is they both got real-life jobs. They weren’t sure the band was broken up, but they weren’t sure it wasn’t broken up either. But the pandemic led them to a source of renewed inspiration: The Beatles. It turned into the five-track EP Mania (as in, Beatle-), out now.
Brandi Carlile – I Remember Everything (John Prine cover)
Millions saw Brandi Carlile cover John Prine’s final song “I Remember Everything” at the recent Grammy Awards. Turns out, it was a preview of a new album, a sequel to 2010’s Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, one of the best tribute albums ever. Not much more info out there yet – it’ll be out in the fall, apparently – but it has a high bar to live up to.