Jun 182024
 

First LoveDana Gillespie… Now, where do I know that name from…

If you cast your mind back (or possibly your father’s), you’ll remember the name, possibly even the album cover, with which Gillespie is arguably best known. That 1974 album, Weren’t Born A Man, which given her Bowie association, immediately had folk wondering whether she were, despite her pneumatic sleeve appearance. Remember, this was around the same time Amanda Lear was allowing the myth around she being born male to permeate, let alone all the claims Bowie fostered around his sexuality. Well, Gillespie wasn’t born a man, and her relationship with Bowie was understandably under wraps: they were teens at its inception, and remained friends and lovers for the next decade. Bowie’s song “Andy Warhol” was written for her, she including it on that album, it produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson. She also sang backing vocals on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. However, this was insufficient to have her then gain much personal chart traction.

In the intervening decades, blues has been Gillespie’s musical vehicle of choice. She’s recorded a huge stash of albums on a plethora of labels, with greater appeal to audiences of mainland Europe. She has also set up a still-running Blues Festival on the exclusive Caribbean island of Mustique, now nearing its 30th birthday. Her latest album First Love is, in part, a deliberate trip back in time, and reflects her own personal tastes, as well as those of her production team, two old friends, Tris Penna, the Abbey Road studios production and A&R man, and Marc Almond, of “Tainted Love” fame. All but one of the songs are covers, the artists as varied as Bob Dylan, Morrissey and Lana Del Rey.
Continue reading »

Apr 032024
 
drop nineteens white dress

Drop Nineteens is an American Shoegaze band from Boston. The 5-piece group started out in 1990. And while their initial stint was short-lived (with the group splitting after just five years, in 1995) the alt-indie groups’ fans were pleased to learn of a reunion. Twenty-sevel years after their hiatus they dropped the album Hard Light. And now? The quintet has released a muted and romantic shoegaze version of Lana Del Rey’s “White Dress”.  Continue reading »

Mar 012024
 
best cover songs february 2024
Annie Lennox — Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince/Sinéad O’Connor cover)

The emotional highpoint of the Grammys—well, other than Tracy Chapman’s return (covers-adjacent!)–was Annie Lennox’s tribute to Sinéad O’Connor during the In Memoriam. Bonus points because she was backed by two longtime bandmembers of Prince (who, of course, wrote the song), Wendy and Lisa. The teardrop on Lennox’s eye was very Prince, and the political statement at the end was very Sinéad. Continue reading »

Dec 152023
 

Follow all our Best of 2023 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

I like to think that badass lady in the artwork up there (done by our own Hope Silverman!) embodies the spirit of this year’s list. Not that they’re all CBGB-style punk songs—though there are a couple—but in her devil-may-care attitude. “Who says I shouldn’t do a hardcore cover of the Cranberries? A post-punk cover of Nick Drake? A hip-hop cover of The Highwaymen? Screw that!”

As with most good covers, the 50 covers we pulled out among the thousands we listened to bring a healthy blend of reverence and irreverence. Reverence because the artists love the source material. Irreverence because they’re not afraid to warp it, bend it, mold it in their own image. A few of the songs below are fairly obscure, but most you probably already know. Just not like this.

NEXT PAGE →

Dec 172021
 

Follow all our Best of 2021 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

best cover songs of 2021

To come up with our year-end list, we listened to thousands of covers.

That’s not an exaggeration, or loosely throwing around “thousands” for effect. My iTunes tells me I personally listened to and rated 1,120 new covers in 2021. And I’m just one of a dozen people here. Many of those thousands of covers were very good! But “very good” isn’t good enough for our annual year-end Best Cover Songs list. So when we say these 50 are the cream of the crop, we mean it.

They, as usual, have little in common with each other. A few tie into current events: Artists we lost, social justice concerns, live music’s fitful return. Most don’t. But does a doom metal cover of Donna Summer really need a reason to exist? How about African blues Bob Dylan, New Orleans bounce Lady Gaga, or organ ballad Fleetwood Mac? Nah. We’re just glad they’re here.

So dive into our countdown below – and, if you want us to send you a couple hundred Honorable Mentions culled from those thousands, join the Cover Me Patreon.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief

NEXT PAGE →

Mar 312021
 
best cover songs march 2021
Brandi Carlile – I Remember Everything (John Prine cover)

Millions saw Brandi Carlile cover John Prine’s final song “I Remember Everything” at the recent Grammy Awards. Turns out, it was a preview of a new album, a sequel to 2010’s Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, one of the best tribute albums ever. Not much more info out there yet – it’ll be out in the fall, apparently – but it has a high bar to live up to. Continue reading »