May 122022
 
pearl jam cold day in the sun

A few days ago at a show in Los Angeles, Pearl Jam covered the Foo Fighters in a tribute to Taylor Hawkin’s passing. They picked a relative deep cut too: “Cold Day in the Sun” is a classic-rock feeling song from the Foo Fighters album In Your Honor. In the original, which he wrote, drummer Hawkins took the lead by singing and playing, while Dave Grohl manned the drums.

In this cover, Matt Cameron leads with guitar and vocals. In addition to the full band,  Chad Smith (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) also joins in, adding in a bit of tambourine. The brightness of the lead guitar almost gives this cover a southern flair, while Cameron keeps his vocal timbre eerily similar to Hawkin’s own tone. The richness of the song really begins to shine in the chorus, when new vocal harmonies are added in. However, the drumbeat and instrumentation have been kept nearly identical to the original. Continue reading »

Oct 292021
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

learn to fly covers

I sometimes wonder if I’ve heard “Learn to Fly” more times than any other song. This isn’t because it’s my favorite song ever or anything. It’s a quirk of technology.

In the early file sharing days, the days when it was high-speed if your 128kbps MP3 took “only” 20 minutes to download, Winamp was the digital music player of choice. When you added a song to Winamp, it simply appeared at the bottom of a single long playlist. And when you opened Winamp, it would start playing that playlist right from the top. For whatever reason, the first MP3 I ever downloaded was “Learn to Fly,” so every time I opened Winamp, the “Learn to Fly” riff would kick right in. That happened probably once or twice a day. For several years. Hard to think of any other song that can compete for that level of play. Continue reading »

Jul 232021
 

Hail Satin Foo Fighters "Dee Gees"Did I have a Bee Gees cover album from the Foo Fighters on my Summer ’21 bingo sheet? Not at all! However, maybe the recent Bee Gees fever should have foreshadowed this endeavor, from the documentary released at the end of 2020 to Barry Gibb’s album focused on reimagining Bee Gees songs in the country genre released earlier this year. Hey, we even found the Best Bee Gees covers ever last summer. When I first read the news about the impending Hail Satin album, I may or may not have busted out the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and passed along the announcement to all of my fellow Foo Fighters admirers. Then the first single from the Foo Fighters’ alter-egos, the Dee Gees, came out, “You Should Be Dancing,” and it was worthy of the hype (that “back-ety-back” part is a nice touch!).

But now that Hail Satin has been released, it raises an important question: Does the rest of Side A continue the fun-loving, genre-bending homage, or does it devolve into a gimmick?

Continue reading »

Jul 202021
 
dee gees

For this July’s Record Store Day release, the Foo Fighters went disco, releasing the Hail Satin LP, consisting of Bee Gees covers and a live set of tracks from their latest studio album, Medicine at Midnight. Under the moniker of the Dee Gees, the Foos released a video for “You Should Be Dancing.” Continue reading »

Jun 282021
 
Foo Fighters Cover Radiohead and Bee Gees

Foo Fighters have taken the World of Cover Songs by storm with a pair of incendiary news announcements this month. The first (and only slightly more believable of the two) concerns a cover that premiered in the Foos’ recent return to live concerts on June 20th. Playing for a vaccinated/full-capacity/sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, the Foo Fighters offered up a late-set debut of Radiohead’s “Creep” — featuring, in a drop-in of unrivaled proportions, Dave Chappelle on guest vocals. At best, the cover feels like live-band karaoke, albeit scaled up for The World’s Most Famous Arena. Chappelle alternates between “aw shucks” glances at the crowd, and hamming it up with sing-along choruses for the cheap seats. Any honest attempts at artistry aside, however, the pure, sloppy joy radiating from Chappelle, the Foos and the totally-psyched crowd — not to mention the FOMO radiating through my computer screen — couldn’t feel more potent. Continue reading »

Apr 012021
 

‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

best queen covers

There is no Queen without Freddie Mercury. On a fundamental level, we all agree that is true. But, if you want to be literal about it, there is Queen without Freddie Mercury. Thirty years after Freddie’s death, the show must go on, and so the band still exists. Adam Lambert now sings Freddie’s parts on tour, just as Paul Rodgers did before him. The Bohemian Rhapsody movie included some new vocal recordings – not by star Rami Malek, but by Canadian singer Marc Martel. And then of course there are the many singers who fronted Queen at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, broadcast to an audience of up to one billion people. (If you haven’t watched George Michael singing “Somebody to Love” or Annie Lennox joining David Bowie for “Under Pressure,” go do that now, then come back.)

Suffice to say, millions if not billions of people have heard Queen songs sung by singers other than Freddie Mercury. But none of those we just mentioned are covers, strictly speaking, since they feature most or all of the band’s three surviving members. Bassist John Deacon has since departed – and his joining Queen fifty years ago this month, solidifying the lineup, marks the anniversary we’re pegging this post to – but guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor have kept the Queen name alive. No doubt, when touring becomes a thing again, Queen will be back on the road once again.

The forty actual covers on our list do not feature any members of Queen. As such, they’re free to roam much further afield than Adam Lambert or George Michael, turning the band’s hits and the occasional deep cut into genres from polka to punk, a cappella to acoustic instrumental. Queen dabbled in so many different genres during their time – I mean, “Bohemian Rhapsody” alone! – I think they’d appreciate how malleable their songs can be. Even when they’re not the ones performing their songs, Queen will rock you.

Or, in one case, polka you.

The list begins on Page 2.