Jun 222016
 
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Like most people who say they love Guns N’ Roses, I’ve only listened to Appetite for Destruction, “November Rain,” and the deep cuts like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Cherry Pie.” Like most jealous people, I make fun of the things I love the most, and I know that I’ll never write as good hard rock music as Guns N’ Roses. Continue reading »

Mar 302016
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

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Guns N’ Roses’s “November Rain” is a huge song. Its size doesn’t just come from its length (it’s almost nine minutes long, making it the longest single ever in the Billboard Top 10). It’s not its long gestational period, either (Tracii Guns says that Axl Rose already had a working version of it in 1983, back when he was still with the L.A. Guns). Nor is it only the cryptic video (Axl lost somebody, for sure, but otherwise who knows was was going on exactly?). “November Rain” is an epic because in addition to all these elements, it takes the listener on a journey, and it’s one we’ve all been on before.

When the song begins, we’re dropped into a relationship on the edge. It’s been on-again, off-again, and both parties are unsure of where they stand. Slash’s first two solos during this part of the song soar, making you feel like everything is going to work out for these two. The last verse reinforces this feeling. When Axl sings “Never mind the darkness, we still can find a way. And nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain”, we feel like this couple has turned the corner and is on the right path.

And then comes the apocalyptic coda. Instead of tenderness, we get intensity. Between the thunder of the piano and the snarl of the third guitar solo, it’s clear that we ended up getting two songs for the price of one. This is the story of a relationship on the rocks, surviving through its ups and downs; and then the bloody aftermath, when nothing is left but loneliness and the need to rage.

Because of all the territory the original spans, any cover of “November Rain” has fertile ground for interpretation. An artist could focus on any part of the myriad emotions crammed into the original and explore further. Here are three covers that did a particularly good job with this power ballad.
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Feb 212014
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

Over 40 years after its initial release, the Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” still thunders across the forefront of popular culture. Its appeal lies as much in its lyrical ambiguity as in the music itself. Is it about Keith’s contrition for leaving his newborn son at home for yet another tour? Is it about Marianne Faithfull? Maybe it’s about some other graceless lady, a nameless muse immortalized between the bars of Mick Taylor’s Nashville-tuned guitars. Whatever the case, “Wild Horses” endures – not just for its beauty, but because it enables listeners to imbue it with their own experiences, however bitter or sweet. It’ll go on living long after we die, and nothing could drag it away.
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Jul 312013
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s a song you hated until you heard it covered?

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Dec 012011
 

Clearance Alert is a joint series with Limelight, “the simplest way to clear any cover song.” It spotlights new cover songs licensed through the company. Find out more at Limelight.

Slash pops up everywhere these days, appearing to play his “Sweet Child o’ Mine” lick whenever you say his name three times (see: Super Bowl). Thankfully, jolly old Vunter Slaush stayed dormant when Scott Gagner recorded his cover of the Guns n’ Roses classic. This delicate acoustic ballad would most certainly not benefit from top-hatted heroics. Continue reading »

Nov 222011
 

This week, Cover Me celebrates Freddie Mercury 20 years after his passing. Read Part 1 here.

On April 20, 1992, one of the most impressive collections of musicians ever assembled for one show gathered together to pay tribute to Farrokh Bulsara, better known to the world as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who had passed away due to complications from AIDS some six months before. Today, as we approach the 20th anniversary of his passing, Cover Me looks back at this monumental concert event, a celebration of covers and of one of the most unique talents ever to grace the performing arts. Continue reading »