Over our time tracking cover songs (13 years this month!), we’ve written about hundreds of new tribute albums, across reviews, news stories, and, when they’re good enough, our best-of-the-year lists. We also have looked back on plenty of great tribute albums from the past in our Cover Classics series. But we’ve never pulled it all together – until now.
If you are a fan of Elton John and all of his many reinventions, this is the time of your life. It started in late 2017 when Elton along with Bernie Taupin sponsored a worldwide YouTube contest to reimage videos for three of Elton’s most popular songs, “Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” and “Tiny Dancer,. It continued with his announcement that his upcoming three-year tour will be his last. Suffice to say, our eyes and ears will be treated to various projects with the volume turned up to “all Elton, all the time” for the foreseeable future.
It’s the end of the era of Etta and her more than fifty year stretch of hit singles, cross-genre awards and industry-shaking influence concludes with a dream. A dream that features Axl Rose… without being a nightmare!
With her most recent release, The Dreamer, Etta James announced her retirement from the music business. Her family recently disclosed that the 73-year-old suffers from leukemia, along with a number of other physical complications, and revealed her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2009. While her decision to end her career is no surprise, what does startle is the nature of the final album with which Etta chose to take her bow. A curious collection of covers in which a handful of true blue soul and R&B standards rock alongside the likes of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”
Best (So Far) finds the finest first-round covers of the latest pop hits.
With its infectious whistling hook and taut digital disco groove, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera’s “Moves Like Jagger” is endearing a whole new generation of music listeners to the frontman of The Rolling Stones in a way Ruby Tuesday never could have expected. To those hip to the ways of classic rock, Jagger stands for a cragginess, for experience, for a libido-driven dude who’s seen a whole lot of life. But in this funky tag-team single, he’s all slickness and sultry dance beats — the key to Adam Levine’s soaring vocal seduction of a swiftly yielding Xtina, and the fuel for a very different demographic of backseat makeouts.
There’s been no shortage of covers of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” – the song has been so inundated with covers that we were able to assemble a Five Best Covers (So Far) post for it within a week and a half of its release, and there was a hefty pool to choose from even then.
Of all of them, it seems only Katy Perry had the gall to change the lyrics; it’s possible that she just didn’t quite know the lyrics, but she was met with controversy for it either way. In the song’s most recent high-profile cover, country-pop group Little Big Town has changed the lyrics a bit as well for the latest installment in their “Scattered, Smothered, and Covered” video series. The change is a minor one – rather than talking about the mother helping the singer with hair and makeup, the mother is simply doing her own hair and makeup. While the change may be seen as something of an affront to the song’s status as a gay anthem, it’s no more drastic a change than the gender switch so commonly found in covers. It’s certainly less offensive than Perry’s alteration of “I was born this way” to “you were born this way,” after all. Little Big Town keeps the first person perspective on that chorus and ultimately doesn’t change the song’s meaning.