Oct 262017
free covers album

Ten years ago today, I had a whim.

I was studying abroad one semester and found myself with a lot of free time – school work was light, and a college student’s budget limited my international explorations – so I decided to start a blog. A second blog actually, since for several years I had run a personal blog of concert reviews and bootleg downloads called Dylan, Etc (it had more “Dylan” than it did “Etc”). I’d fallen in love with the cover song after hearing Bob Dylan (who else) play a revelatory cover of “Summertime” on his short-lived radio show. I’d already hosted a Cover Me college radio show, and decided to expand us to the World Wide Web.

These were the days of the so-called “MP3 blog,” which included a vibrant subgenre of cover-songs blogs. That’s right, I’d like to claim credit for inventing the category, but I didn’t – not even close. RIP to Copy Right?, Cover Freak, Fong Songs, and the rest of the pioneers – and shoutout to our fellow survivors from that era, Coverville, which was releasing podcasts before most people knew what that word meant, and the folk blog Cover Lay Down, which began around the same time as us.

A lot has changed over the past decade. We’ve published 3,564 posts as of this one. Oh, and did you notice the pronoun change there? Cover Me is no longer an “I” – it’s a “we”, with over 60 writers contributing over the years. We’ve grown from an ugly Blogspot to our spiffy own domain (which is overdue for a redesign itself, frankly). And in case the large banner ads all over the site weren’t clue enough, I just released a book also called Cover Me, which – back-patting alert – Variety called “one of the best multi-subject music books to come down the pike in years.”

We wanted to do something special to celebrate our tenth birthday. And we wanted to celebrate not just ourselves, but celebrate the cover song itself. So we put together this little album Cover Me Turns 10: A Covers Tribute to Covers as a gift to our readers. We contacted several dozen of our musician friends and asked them to cover a cover. That is, to honor the many great songs we might not even know without an iconic cover – Aretha Franklin reinventing Otis Redding’s “Respect,” Quiet Riot amplifying Slade’s call to feel the noize, Prince learning that nothing compares 2 Sinéad O’Connor.

We’re honored that so many of our favorite musicians contributed, and frankly speechless at how great a job they did. So speechless, in fact, that we asked them all to introduce their own work with a few sentences. A million thanks to all of them, and also to Cover Me writer and art whiz Sean Balkwill for designing the lovely – ahem – cover. The whole thing is free to download at Bandcamp until downloads run out, and free to stream forever.

Enough chatter from me. For ten years this blog has been all about celebrating the music and we’re not going to stop now. Thanks for taking this journey with us.

– Ray Padgett
Cover Me Founder Continue reading »

Oct 292010

You’ve probably seen our birthday tributes to the likes of Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna. Well, today, they say it’s our birthday. We’re gonna have a good time. In fact, we’ve already begun celebrating. This morning we enjoyed a Schoolhouse Rock Song of the Day. We offered up a new vinyl giveaway. We even re-posted our very first post (covers of songs off John Wesley Harding). But this is the big one.

We contacted a bunch of artists we’ve worked with in the past – terrifically talented folk who have all played a role in Cover Me’s history. We asked them to record birthday-themed cover songs for a special three-year celebration album. Find the fruits of their labor below. Eleven brand-new covers of birthday songs both famous (“It’s My Party”) and obscure (“Birthday Boy”), all recorded just for the occasion. You can download high-quality MP3s individually below or the full set (plus a bonus track!) way down at the bottom. Each artist shared their thoughts on the song they chose, so be sure to read those. Continue reading »

Mar 202010

Cover News is a weekly feature keeping you up to date on the goings-on in the world of cover tunes, tribute albums, etc. Plus, at the bottom we post the array of cover tunes we’ve been sent in the past week. Have you recorded a cool cover? Send an mp3 to the address on the right! As always, follow Cover Me on Twitter for the latest news.

Cat Power

This Week’s News

Our latest Cover Commissions is in: two covers of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with a John Maus bonus! [Cover Me]

Garden on a Trampoline is collecting covers of songs from musicals. Just remember: the world doesn’t need another ironic High School Musical cover. [CLLCT]

The question isn’t “Why is Cat Power singing ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ to trees?” The question is “Why aren’t you?” [Pitchfork]

The AV Club at the Onion debuts the first in a 25-part cover series. First up: Ted Leo doing Tear for Fears. [The AV Club]

Beck’s Record Club 4.0 is off and running. The latest album: Kick by INXS. [Vimeo]

Lady Gaga gave “Telephone” a typically outrageous video. Pomplamoose gave it a typically sassy cover. [YouTube]

“Dark Eyes” is often labeled one of Bob Dylan’s most underrated songs. The Dirty Projectors apparently think so, though personally I’d give that prize to “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky.” [Stereogum]

Jimmy Fallon announces a full week of Exile on Main Street covers on his show in May. He can’t say who the special guests are (but it’s Jagger and Richards). [Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]

Huey Lewis and the News are recording a Stax tribute album. No word on the track list, but you’re probably safe expecting some Otis. [Ardent Studios]

Glenn Beck is pro-American. Bruce Springsteen is anti-American. I bet they’d be best friends. [Media Matters]

This Week’s Submissions

Melissa Bel – Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers) [more]

John Dissed – Dancing in the Moonlight (Thin Lizzy) [more]

Electra – The Israelites (Desmond Dekker) [more]

G.Rag y los Hermanos Patchekos – Nervous Breakdown (Black Flag) [more]

G.Rag y los Hermanos Patchekos – Old Fashioned Morphine (Jolie Holland) [more]

G.Rag y los Hermanos Patchekos – Viper Drag (Fats Waller) [more]

Ruth Dolores Weiss – Ain’t No Cure for Love (Leonard Cohen) [more]

Send your cover to the address on the right for inclusion!

Tom Petty

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Nov 302009

Petty’s back, baby! His career resurgence began with his Super Bowl Halftime slot in ’08 (and history has already forgotten that he was purportedly the NFL’s second choice, after Bruce Springsteen), continued with sell-out summer shed tours, and has recently hit a new peak when his four-disc Live Anthology dropped last week to a combination of critical acclaim and some why-don’t-more-artists-do-this speculation. The quirkiest Petty honor has to be the Courteney Cox show Cougar Town though, where each episode is named after a Petty song. Is the producer just a fan, or has Tom Petty become “Official Music of Cougars”?

Melora Creager – American Girl
One of the best covers I’ve ever heard. Period. The cello-goth Rasputina frontwoman wails the darkest minor-key duet you’ve ever heard. Rasputina have an entire cover album themselves, The Lost & Found, that is to die for. Literally? [Buy]

Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down
As Johnny Cash began recording 2000’s American III: Solitary Man, he began getting sick. He had been forced to stop touring due to a variety of ailments and he would never fully recover. This election-season staple thus takes on a whole new meaning from country’s most resilient badass. Petty himself chimes in on vocals and organ here (he had previously backed Cash on the entirety of Unchained [American II]). [Buy]

Allred – Free Fallin’
A bearded Petty played this one in his 2008 Super Bowl Halftime Show set (in fact, the first three songs I’ve posted are 3/4 of his Super Bowl set list). Watch the whole thing here and marvel at the sweet guitar/heart stage. Petty played four songs with the Heartbreakers, but all except for “American Girl” originally appeared on his solo albums. Irony. [Buy]

Mobius Band – You Don’t Know How It Feels
The lead single from 1994’s Heartbreaker-less Wildflowers, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” featured the controversial line “let’s roll another joint.” Yes, those were simpler times. However, reactionary consumerism being what it is, MTV reversed the word “joint” for the music video. [Buy]

John Dissed – Even the Losers
Dissed produced a top-notch cover of T.Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get In On)” for our Cover Commissions last month. Check that out on this page if you haven’t already. Then come back here and listen to his take on Petty. [Buy]

Taking Back Sunday – You Wreck Me
Warner Bros. produced Covered, a Revolution in Sound to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with classic Warner songs covered by younger WB artists. The Flaming Lips do Madonna, The Black Keys do Captain Beefheart, and Taking does Tom. [Buy]

Mark Erelli w/ Jeffrey Foucault – Alright For Now
This one originally appeared on Full Moon Fever, Petty’s first solo album. “Free Fallin’” and “I Won’t Back Down” come off there too. He couldn’t match these sensitive-guys duets. [Buy]

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – Here Comes My Girl
Another duet here, with the rare female voice appearing in a Petty cover. This comes from Sweet & Hoffs’ recent Under the Covers Vol. 2. Well worth a listen. I always think of this song as a companion piece to Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man.” [Buy]

Wilco – Something In the Air (Thunderclap Newman)
A lot of people thing this was originally by Petty, but in face they just covered a 1969 song for their 1993 Greatest Hits album. Wilco played Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve ’04 and once the ball dropped they went into an epic cover marathon. Judas Priest, Captain and Tennille, Bob Dylan, this, Randy Newman, Blue Öyster Cult and Devo. Epic. [Buy]

Setting Sun – You Got Lucky
Tom gets the spacey synth treatment here from the free second volume of the Buffetlibre compilation (downloadable here). It would all be a little much without the hauntingly distant voices. [Buy]



Oct 302009

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog. The song to be covered is usually chosen by blog readers via a poll or suggestions form. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, please email me at the address on the right.

Just last week we held a last-minute run-off to pick the winner of October’s Cover Commissions ( it came down to Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round” vs. T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”). Well T. Rex took the prize and, in record Cover Me turn-around, we’ve already got the tune!

It shouldn’t be a surprise that John Dissed turned this around so fast though. After all, this guy’s a cover expert. The price of an email address at his site gets you access to the dozens of free covers he’s recorded. His cover of “Bang a Gong,” though, you can only get here. But first let’s hear a bit about it.

I have never been a fan of this song, but listening to it after realizing that it had a good chance of winning the most votes, I began to recognize its brilliance. I always knew it was a catchy song, but it has a classic Stonesy type of feel that could have only happened in the early ‘70s. I consider ‘70s rock n’ roll to be the height of recorded music and this song is up there with the best of that era.

I also listened to Ministry’s cover of the song which contributed a bit to the way I muted the guitars. Aside from that, I tried to keep the vibe of the original, but with acoustic guitars. I played the acoustic parts to the track, then overdubbed the vocals, bass and electric guitar. I noticed after I recorded the vocals that I had changed the melody slightly, but kept it that way since it was my natural memory of the part. The bass and lead parts are similar to the original as well, except for the horn melody before the final chorus, which I played on electric.

I like to use a single voice for lead vocals, but this time I went for a doubling effect that seemed appropriate. This effect is the biggest departure in sound from my other acoustic music.

That tells you all you might want to know about recording this cover, but it doesn’t hint at this bad-ass performance. Words wouldn’t do it justice anyway. This will:


This mp3 may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post it on your blog, send it to your friends, tweet it for the world. When you do share this however, please include a link to this site. Cover Commissions is a monthly occurrence here, and the more attention this project draws the more exciting we can make future installments.

Oct 162009

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog. The song to be covered is usually chosen by blog readers via a poll or suggestions form. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, please email me at the address on the right.

October may be half over, but at Cover Me we’re making up for lost time by announcing a true cover artist extraordinaire to take on this month’s Cover Commissions. His name’s John Dissed, and this guy knows covers.

Based in Los Angeles, John’s been recording his tunes since 2007 (many of which are available at his website), but has been earning a reputation as a songwriter par excellence for longer than that. In 2006 “Mr. Madness,” a song he co-wrote for Manda Mosher, earned the “Rock Single of the Year” accolade from the Los Angeles Music Awards. Check out Mosher’s glam-folk video at the ‘Tube.

As tends to happen here, it was his cover songs that first caught our ear. And this guy’s got cover songs coming out the…well, he’s got a lot of them. He’s taken on everyone from the Rolling Stones to Duran Duran, each time with stripping down the song to lyrics and melody. We’ve got a few choice picks for ya here, but dozens more Dissed covers can be had just by giving him your email address at his website.

Dissed has got a special cover up his sleeve just for Cover Me. What song, you ask? As always, the choice is yours. Below are eight songs, each linked to their YouTube video. Listen to Dissed’s tunes, listen to these originals, then pick which one you’d like to hear him do in the poll on the right! The winner will be posted exclusively on Cover Me in a month or so.

Berlin – Take My Breath Away
The Cars – Candy-O
The Cure – Doing the Unstuck
Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round
Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
The Outfield – Your Love
Social Distortion – So Far Away
T. Rex – Bang a Gong (Get It On)

Voting closes in one week, so get deciding! Vote on the right.