Riley Haas

Riley is a digital marketing trainer and strategist in Toronto. He obsessively writes and talks about music and once had a classic rock radio show in university. His favourite cover of all time is Uncle Tupelo's version of the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog." He's also a movie fan, having seen approximately 4,400 films. You can follow him on Twitter @riley_haas.

Jun 222024
Aloe Blacc

Fresh off his psychedelic soul cover of grunge standard “Black Hole Sun,” Aloe Blacc is back with another transformative cover of a massive hit. This time he’s taking on one of the biggest songs of the aughts, The White Stripes‘ “Seven Nation Army” – a song so big it has joined the canon of sports arena staples along with “Sandstorm” and that dance remix of “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Continue reading »

Jun 122024

“Born in the USA” is one of The Boss‘s biggest songs, but, for non-fans, also perhaps his least understood. The rousing chorus is (obviously) ironic, something that is seemingly lost on lots of casual fans and, particularly, on politicians. Maybe this accounts for why a number of Springsteen’s songs are more popular as covers, despite how big this song was in the 1980s. Continue reading »

Jun 112024
pons can't stand it

“Can’t Stand It” is a deep cut from James Brown’s 32nd album Hot Pants, basically a remake of his 1968 single “I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me.” (Let’s pause to wonder how someone could release 32 albums in 13 years. Remaking songs probably helped.) It’s certainly not one of his better known songs but it is classic early ’70s James Brown funk, lean and full of his classic exhortations, including demanding horns which don’t show up until three and half minutes into the song. Continue reading »

Jun 102024
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

In late 1973, David Bowie released his last album with his backing band, The Spiders from Mars, the all-covers Pin-Ups. Somewhat surprisingly, it contained two covers of songs by The Who, their second single “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” and their first single, “I Can’t Explain.”

This month will see the release of Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, a Ziggy Stardust-focused box set, which includes outtakes from the Ziggy sessions. One of these outtakes is an earlier version of Bowie’s “I Can’t Explain” cover featuring an earlier version of the Spiders from Mars, with Nick Woodmansey, the original drummer, instead of Aynsley Dunbar, who only took over for Pin-Ups.

Bowie’s original cover of “I Can’t Explain” is an extremely slow version of the song featuring saxophone fills from Bowie and another horn player, and ethereal backing vocals.

This earlier version is far closer to the original Who version. Bowie obviously sounds like Bowie not Roger Daltrey, but the backing vocals evoke the original’s. Trevor Bolder’s bass is mixed higher, but he and Mick Ronson’s rhythm parts really do seem to just try to sound louder. However, Mick Ronson’s solos are entirely different from Pete Townshend’s original. No saxophones to be heard.

The cover is an interesting insight into Bowie’s process. Clearly he loved the song but was unhappy with this original approach, or decided it didn’t fit the Ziggy Stardust concept. (There is one cover on that album.) By the time he re-recorded it two years later, he had found his original take on it but in this early version it’s still very clearly a song by The Who.

Check out this nugget:

Jun 042024
reb fountain how bizarre cover

“How Bizarre” by Kiwis OMC is one of the 1990s’ great one-hit wonders. It stood out on the radio for its faux-flamenco guitar, its Polynesian rhythms, Pauly Fuemana’s unique voice and Kiwi accent, that brass, the backing vocals and the incongruous lyrics. It really sounded like nothing else. Its strangeness perhaps explains why there have been so few covers over the years; it sounds inimitable and many people are probably unsure of how to go about tackling it, not wanting to ape the original. At Cover Me, we literally have written up one cover of it over the years. Continue reading »

Jun 032024

Most of the time when we write about covers here at Cover Me, we write about covers of big hits. Occasionally, it’s deep cuts from albums or b-sides that are known to only the most dedicated fans of an artist or band. Well, today we have a cover of song so deep in a band’s catalogue, it was never officially released. “I Think I’m Falling in In Love Again” is an early DEVO song that has appeared in different versions on the internet over the years. There is a slower demo version from 1975-ish that only sort of sounds like the band, and there’s a far peppier version from a live show in 1977 which sounds substantially more like DEVO. It’s never been put out by the band, so there are just these lo-fi bootlegs. Continue reading »