Brandon Flowers has always worn his love and fandom for the artists that have influenced him on his sleeve. He and The Killers have performed countless covers of his particular idols over the years, and his speech inducting The Cars into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 was genuinely moving. Flowers and bandmate Ronnie Vannucci Jr. played a short set on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions last week and, in addition to performing two new tracks. threw in a cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ snarling, gloriously pent-up anthem “The Waiting.”
In the wake of the passing of Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, many musicians have reflected on the influence he and the Cars had on so many. Not only did the band itself leave a major mark on rock and pop music, but Ocasek worked as a producer for bands such as Weezer, No Doubt, and Bad Religion. Brandon Flowers, frontman of The Killers, called him “my first king” on Twitter.
When James Taylor was unable to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week due to illness, The Killers gracefully filled the shoes. Not only did The Killers perform their most recent song “Land of the Free” as well as the Hot Fuss classic “All These Things That I’ve Done,” they also put their spin on a JT standard “Carolina in My Mind”.
This past weekend’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony featured great performances by Bon Jovi, The Cars, and The Moody Blues. Equally worthy were the phenomenal covers highlighting both musical greats taken from us too soon – Tom Petty and Chris Cornell – and tributes to the two artists inducted posthumously, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe (inducted as an “Early Influence”).
We rank the three best covers below. That’s judging from the circulation YouTube footage at least; Lauryn Hill’s Nina Simone tribute may come off better when the HBO version airs next month, but the current videos are hard to watch.
There’s a new word buzzing around the Internet to describe those unfortunate souls who were born between 1977 and 1983: Xennials. It’s a term for those who do not quite fit into Generation X or Generation Y. Born in 1981, The Killers lead vocalist Brandon Flowers falls squarely into this category.
During a recent performance at the New Orleans Voodoo Music + Arts Experience festival, Flowers described a musical induction ritual widely shared by members of his generation. As he introduced a tribute to the Crescent City’s recently departed rock ‘n’ roll founding father Fats Domino, Flowers described how he, and perhaps every other Xennial, first heard Domino’s music while driving in the car with his father. “The station was always set to the oldies,” he told the crowd. “And when Fats Domino came on, we always turned it up.”
When it comes to Brandon Flowers, there are two types of people: 1) those that like him for his music and 2) those that are so over-the-top infatuated with him that it’s borderline psychotic. (Think “Deadheads” who shower regularly and have less body hair.)
I only say this because I have multiple family members and friends that fit into the latter category.