In the States, Modern English is a one-hit wonder due to their hit “I Melt with You,” which got lots of play on MTV. Perhaps it’s the slight jangle under the new wave vibe that Americans gravitated to, but Modern English never had another top 40 hit in the US. The song has become one of those British hits that are constantly associated with the ’80s, making an appearance in Stranger Things in 2016.
Neighbor is a Boston area jam band which formed in 2019. Formed by keyboardist Richard James, of popular tribute band Pink Talking Fish, the band play a mixture of covers and originals very much in the jam band style. Neighbor’s new cover of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” is extremely straight-ahead and traditional. If it weren’t for the keyboard and lack of a second guitar, you might mistake it for a an attempt for a note-for-note cover. Bassist Dan Kelly even tries, at times, to sound like Black Francis, though he drops that pretty quickly.
Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” became a hit as the theme song to the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy when covered by fellow songwriter Harry Nilsson. Whereas Neil’s originally is fairly traditional confessional folk, with a bit of a country affect, Nilsson’s version is pure ’60s folk-rock; there’s a wall of sound behind Nilsson’s iconic vocal, featuring an orchestra and other instruments. It was Nilsson who introduced the wail that became the song’s main hook, and the famous climatic, soaring “leave.” (Check out our “That’s a Cover?” article on “Everybody’s Talkin'” for more info.)
If you asked me, what was Cyndi Lauper’s first #1 hit, I’d have said “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” But no, it was “Time After Time.” It’s the singles equivalent of Chris Molanphy’s “AC/DC Rule”: an artist releases a massive hit which doesn’t quite top the charts and then the follow up does, while actually selling fewer copies. But that’s no comment on the song. “Time After the Time” has endured as one of the great ballads of the ’80s and has now been covered more than 250 times. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” – itself a cover – might have sold more, but “Time After Time” is the standard.
Cigar Cigarette is the alias of engineer/producer/jingle composer Chris McLaughlin. Though usually he engineers songs for major artists, or composes background music for Adidas ads, he has begun releasing music under this new moniker. And his cover of “Time After Time” is one of his first efforts.
Daft Punk’s 2001 single “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” is most famous these days for providing the hook for Kanye West’s massive 2007 hit “Stronger.” The original was a fairly big hit in the UK, but nothing compared to the worldwide platinum-many-times-over Kanye hit. So it’s kind of surprising that the original that has been covered more.
Former Teeth & Tongue leader Jess Cornelius is about to release her first solo LP in July. As part of the promotion for this record, she’s recorded a grimey almost grunge cover of the Eagles hit “I Can’t Tell You Why.”
Timothy B. Schmit’s first and only lead vocal before the Eagles broke up in 1980, “I Can’t Tell You Why” is an atypical hit for the Eagles. Sounding more like a soul song than their typical country and classic rock, it’s notable for its distinctive three note guitar refrain after the chorus and Schmit’s blue-eyed soul vocal.
Cornelius’ version opens at a considerably slower pace than the original, with just her voice and a heavily distorted guitar. She layers an additional spiky guitar on top before she is joined for the second verse by drums, bass and and subtle keyboards. Aside from the tempo, she hasn’t done anything particularly different to the song, and she even mostly cops the solo. However, the vibe is entirely different, due to her heavily distorted rhythm guitar and her vocals, which are a far cry from the soul of a Smokey Robinson or Al Green.