For all the talk of how the Internet perpetuates falsehoods, rumors could take on a life of their own long before the advent of the World Wide Web. They could even help define an artist’s career, as was the case of the singer/songwriter known as Rodriguez. He recorded two albums in the early ‘70s that went nowhere commercially in the U.S. However, according to the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary Searching For Sugarman, in the waning years of apartheid South Africa, Rodriguez’s music found new life among young people protesting the government. His popularity was propelled by rumors of his suicide, which in the days before the Internet, were impossible to correct. After he was tracked down by journalists in the ‘90s, Rodriguez toured South Africa and revived his music career.
Our first song kicks off what will be a theme here. A lot of these came out at the very top of the year (or the very end of 2020) to kick a garbage year to the curb and hope for something better. Shires said: “’That’s All’ is a song that I have played a lot on tour. The song defines 2020 for me. It’s a true Covid anthem and I dare you to not dance to my version when you hear it!”Continue reading »
Cover Me began in 2007 and we did our first year-end list in 2008, so 2000 isn’t that long before we were following this stuff in real time. But, in music eras, 2007 and 2000 seem eons apart. 2000 was nü-metal and Napster, Smash Mouth and the ska revival. Beyoncé was in the quartet Destiny’s Child; Justin Timberlake only had a one-in-five chance of being your favorite member of N’Sync (or maybe one-in-four…sorry Joey). By the time this site started seven years later, all this seemed like ancient history.
There were a lot of extremely prominent covers in 2000. “Prominent,” of course, doesn’t necessarily meaning “good.” This was the year that Madonna covered “American Pie” (not to be outdone, Britney Spears then took a stab at “Satisfaction”). It was the year a Jim Carrey movie soundtrack inexplicably asked bands like Smash Mouth and Brian Setzer Orchestra to cover Steely Dan. It was the year of “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Bet you didn’t even know that one was a cover (unless you’re a faithful Cover Me reader).
None of those are on this list (though, if you want more dated trainwrecks like those, stay tuned Monday for a bonus list I’m calling the “The Most Extremely ‘2000’ Covers of the Year 2000”). But 2000 offered a wealth of wonderful covers, often flying just under the mainstream radar. Some of them still seem of the time – anything ska, basically – but most could have come out decades earlier. Or yesterday.
YouTube was still a few years away, as was streaming more generally, so covers still mostly came out through “traditional” avenues: on albums, as the b-sides to singles, etc. As I wrote in my new book, tribute albums were big business by this time too, which means that many 2000 covers emerged through that format. Even narrowing this list down to 50 was hard, which is why Cover Me’s Patreon supporters will get a batch of 150 Honorable Mentions.
Check out the list starting on Page 2, and stay tuned for the best covers of this year coming in December.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
One of the best-reviewed documentaries of 2012 has been Searching for Sugar Man, the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter who was fast forgotten in America and became a legend half a world away. Rodriguez released two albums – 1970’s Cold Fact and 1971’s Coming From Reality – that didn’t sell, and his label dropped him. He vanished like a breeze, not knowing that in South Africa, he was becoming bigger than Elvis; Cold Fact sold more than half a million copies in a nation of 40 million. Two fans there decided to find out what happened to him, what became of him, and how he died; the film follows them as they make discovery after discovery. Continue reading »