Willie Nelson’s giant 90th birthday concert in Los Angeles featured a whole host of covers. Some of them featured the man himself. Admittedly, that makes those not really covers, so we’ll feature a couple Willie-less Willie tunes. First up, Beck tackles Willie’s Red Headed Stranger classic “Hands on the Wheel.” (Find another cover of this song in the Best of the Rest list.)Continue reading »
“Cities in Dust” was the first single from Siouxsie and the Banshee’s Tinderbox, their seventh record. Arguably among the danciest tracks they’d yet recorded, it became their biggest non-cover hit in basically half a decade, and their highest charting hit in the US so far (which isn’t saying much). Calling it “dance rock” now might seem a little weird, because the dance rock fusions that followed got a lot dancier (not to mention New Order…), but it is still a noticeably “dancy” song for a band that originated as an extremely gothy and gloomy spin on punk.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that another band that blended dance music with contemporary rock music would want to cover “Cities in Dust.” That’s how Garbage became famous, of course, by blending alternative rock and dance.Continue reading »
We already counted down the 50 Best Cover Songs of 2018 but, inevitably, many of our staff’s personal favorites get left off. So, before we begin scouting for what might become the best cover of 2019, we share the best of the rest, an unranked hodgepodge of worthy covers that only just missed our year-end countdown.Continue reading »
Follow all our Best of 2015 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.
I didn’t realize it until I began laying out our post, but this year’s Best Cover Songs list shares quite a few artists with last year’s. And some that showed up here the year before that. Jack White’s on his fourth appearance. And Jason Isbell and Hot Chip not only both reappear from last year, but have moved up in the rankings.
Though we’re always on the lookout for the new (and to be sure, there are plenty of first-timers here too), the number of repeat honorees illustrates how covering a song is a skill just like any other. The relative few artists who have mastered it can probably deliver worthy covers again and again.
How a great cover happens is something I’ve been thinking a lot about this year as I’ve been writing a series of articles diving deep into the creation of iconic cover songs through history (I posted two of them online, and the rest are being turned into a book). In every case the artist had just the right amount of reverence for the original song: honoring its intention without simply aping it. It’s a fine line, and one even otherwise able musicians can’t always walk. Plenty of iconic people don’t make good cover artists (I’d nominate U2 as an example: some revelatory covers of the band, but not a lot by them). Given the skill involved, perhaps it’s no surprise that someone who can do a good cover once can do it again.
So, to longtime readers, you will see some familiar names below. But you’ll also see a lot of new names, and they’re names you should remember. If the past is any guide, you may well see them again next year, and the year after that.
Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.
Just two weeks into their Fall 2012 tour, Jersey indie punkers Screaming Females have had to cancel the rest of the dates. The word from their publicist:
“Since falling ill with mononucleosis in May, Marissa Paternoster has been experiencing severe chronic pains that have rendered it very difficult for Screaming Females to tour. To ensure that Marissa has adequate time to heal so that Screaming Females can continue, it brings us great sadness to announce that all scheduled dates after October 10th will be cancelled.”