We’ve seen Mannen met Snorren before with their bizarre but welcome cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” The Amsterdam based rockers are back in the cover game with this infectious, club-ready rendition of Blondie‘s “Heart of Glass.”
To successfully attack a song that’s as much of a classic as Blondie’s “Call Me,” an artist needs more than just a certain level of talent. The artist needs originality; she needs swagger. Luckily for us, California’s Dev (and production team the Cataracs) has all that in spades. It’s no surprise that the vocalist who was sampled (or featured, depending on how you look at it) on Far East Movement’s “Like a G6” is enough of a badass to do a good Blondie cover. What’s refreshing is just how she does it.
Blondie has a history of churning out quality covers, but they tend to select songs by ’70s peers. David Bowie, T. Rex, and the Nerves have all enjoyed the Blondie treatment, but the band’s latest foray offers a very different choice of source material. It’s Beirut, the world-folk band beloved by indie fans but still well under the mainstream radar. Blondie gives Beirut a push towards a potentially wider audience by covering “A Sunday Smile” on their new album Panic of Girls.
At Cover Me, we like to give stuff away. Read on to learn how that stuff can be yours.
When Queens of the Stone Age took a break in 2009, bass player Michael Shuman wasted no time finding a new musical endeavor. Shuman called up a few Los Angeles buddies and psychedelic pop trio Mini Mansions was born.
Mini Mansions released a nine-song EP in 2009 and are now gearing up for the release of their self-titled debut on November 2. The vinyl version of the album’s lead single “Monk” features a B-side cover of Blondie‘s 1979 new-wave smash “Heart of Glass.” Shuman told us about why he chose the tune:
Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist covers a reader-selected song for this blog. Any artists interested in participating, email me at the address on the right.
When Blondie released “Heart of Glass” in 1979, the New Wave pioneers were accused of abandoning their roots for the emerging disco sound. For once the critics may have a point, since the tune was written as a funky blues number before producer Mike Chapman got his hands on it.
“We didn’t expect the song to be that big,” guitarist Chris Stein responded. “We did it as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album. It’s not selling out; it’s only one song.”
November Cover Commissions artist Brady Harris takes “Heart of Glass” back from disco. He takes it way back. Here’s what he has to say:
I always admired how Blondie could move comfortably from genre to genre – hit to hit. “Heart of Glass”, like most well written songs, lends itself easily to multiple stylistic interpretations and genres. Perhaps unconsciously taking a cue from The Lovin’ Spoonful, I decided to go with an Americana-30s kind of vibe when recording this arrangement.
I laid down the acoustic guitars and a scratch vocal here at my own humble home studio then I took the song to my friend, multi-instrumentalist John Adair and his studio in Santa Monica. John laid down the mandolin, banjo, upright bass, lead guitar, piano, backing vocals, etc. I re-cut my lead vocals there and we were done but for the mixing, which John did the following week.
Musical geek-out note on the recording: I love how on the last “Ooh-ooh, ooh-oh” you can hear the bass reach up and grab the melody riff that the mandolin’s been playing the whole song, like some poor grunt reaching for the spotlight at the last possible moment.
Thanks to John Adair!
And thank-you, Ray!
No, sir, thank you. The rich folksy swing is sure to revitalize this oldies classic for anyone sick of the disco-cheeze original.
Brady Harris ft. John Adair – Heart of Glass (Blondie)
This mp3 may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post it on your blog, send it to your friends, tweet it to the world. When you share this though, please include a link to this site. Cover Commissions is a monthly occurrence. Check back for future installments.
In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.
When you hear a Johnny Thunders guitar riff, you know it’s Johnny Thunders. The sloppy Chuck Berry meets Dick Dale with a sprained wrist guitar solos combined with a Keith Richards meets Ray Davies rhythm – always punctuated with slides down the neck and hammer-ons – is as distinctly Thunders as is his voice – sarcastic, sweet, taunting, and offensive in one disheveled package. No other guitarist – whether it be The Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones or Guns N’ Roses’ Izzy Stradlin – could replicate his sound no matter how hard they’ve tried.