If you were a sentient human in the 1990s, you know Sinead O’Connor‘s cover of Prince‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” It’s one of the bigger, more enduring hits of the decade in part due to its iconic video. And it’s one of the most famous covers of all time. (It was such a big hit of such an unknown song that not everyone knew it was a cover.) So, for anyone new taking a stab at this song, it’s a tall order.
We’ve featured singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen, until recently of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, on Cover Me a number of times over the years, as she’s covered songs from the past from multiple genres. Now that she’s gone out on her own, she’s chosen to cover a slightly more recent song. The surprising thing is that she picks, as she explains in the video, a song she doesn’t even that well: Björk’s “Human Behavior.”
The Todd Terry remix of “Missing” changed Everything But the Girl’s entire career. “Missing” was the band’s biggest hit ever, going to #3 in the UK and #2 in the US. Originally a jangle-pop/alternative pop duo with a bit of a jazz, they altered their sound to follow up on the surprise success of the remix, and they began incorporating much more dance music.
“Love Gun,” the title track to KISS’ 6th album, is not one of their bigger hits but is regarded by lead singer Paul Stanley as one of their signature songs. Like most of KISS’ repertoire, it’s fairly straightforward arena rock with lyrics that don’t leave much to the imagination. But it features a fun, scale-climbing solo by Ace Frehley, some bolero-esque breaks and the bass part practically dances.
Bacharach and David’s oft-covered “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” was first a hit outside of North America for Dusty Springfield and then in North America for Dionne Warwick. For younger people, the most famous version is probably that of The White Stripes, whose version did pretty well in the charts too.
The most famous covers of the song stick to a pretty similar tempo and feel – even the White Stripes cover, despite upping the volume considerably. But, on his new version from forthcoming EP Love Letters, Bryan Ferry slows down the pace of the song considerably and, despite the presence of a string section, he dials back on the emotion considerably. It’s pretty subdued performance for a song that routinely lends itself to histrionics.