Feb 232024

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

beatles covers

Sixty years ago this month, The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show. You don’t need us to tell you what a momentous occasion this was; entire books have been written on the subject. Suffice to say we’re using the anniversary as our excuse to finally devote a Best Covers Ever to perhaps the biggest band of them all. We’ve done Dylan. We’ve done the Stones. We’ve done Dolly and Springsteen and Prince. But there was one last giant remaining.

Though it’s difficult to measure this precisely, The Beatles are the most-covered artist of all time according to the two biggest covers databases on the internet (SecondHandSongs, WhoSampled). And that certainly feels right. “Yesterday” is often cited as the most-covered song of all time, though that needs qualifiers (a ton of Christmas standards would beat it). But, again, it feels right. The Beatles were ubiquitous in their day, and they’ve been ubiquitous ever since. They just had a chart-topping single last month, the A.I.-assisted “Now and Then,” which was duly covered widely. If “Carnival of Light” ever surfaces, no doubt a carnival of covers will soon follow. Continue reading »

Mar 172011

This March, we pit 64 Beatles covers against each other in what we call Moptop Madness.

Yesterday’s winners: Ike and Tina Turner, “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” and Sukilove, “Love You To”

For our final matches of Round One, we have not one but two stylistically-appropriate pairings. First, it’s rock and roll at its finest when Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” goes tooth and nail with Gary U.S. Bonds’ “It’s Only Love.” Then, things get a touch more delicate as two acoustic masters face off: José Feliciano on “A Day in the Life” and Laurence Juber on “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Listen to each pairing below, then vote for your favorite. For added sway, try to convince others to vote your way in the comments. Voting closes in 24 hours. Continue reading »

Jul 292010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Gary U.S. Bonds is often overlooked in the annals of rock history. To some degree, this is fair. His presence didn’t change much. While his sound was never particularly innovative though, his one hit “Quarter to Three” is 1950s rock and roll bliss (despite the fact it dropped in ’61). These days more fans remember the song for Bruce Springsteen than U.S. Bonds though. The Boss closed his shows for decades with “Quarter to Three,” sometimes stretching it out to fifteen minutes or more, complete with James Brown passing-out shtick.

Bonds made a moderate comeback in the ‘80s and once again, the world has Springsteen to thank. For Bond’s 1981 album Dedication, Bruce wrote three songs, sang on one, and co-produced the whole thing with Little Steven. If Bonds’ backing group sounds like the E Street Band, that’s because it is the E Street Band. Having gotten many miles out of “Quarter to Three,” the whole gang repaid the favor by giving Bonds the muscular sound (and star power) his talent demanded.

The album includes covers of the traditional “Jolé Blon,” Bob Dylan’s “From a Buick 6,” and this, Jackson Browne’s lite-FM staple “The Pretender.” Bond goes high octane on it, bringing in a backing chorus to boost the E Street sound even further. It won’t get you dancing ‘til quarter to three, but it’ll show you just what can happen to a faded has-been when the right people remember. Continue reading »