You know the story – on August 15, 1969, an estimated 400,000 people coalesced on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in upstate Bethel, New York, for “3 days of Peace & Music” at a music and art fair that ultimately defined a generation. Today marks the golden fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock, and to celebrate the occasion, the staff at Cover Me are going “back to the garden” to wrap you in the Top 50 covers performed by the legendary artists who graced the stage during that long weekend.
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 »
Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
Sticky Fingers is the third of the Rolling Stones’ three records (the other two being Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed) that defined their transition from great singles band to “the greatest rock and roll band in the world,” which at the time seemed no mere hyperbole. Furthermore, the 44 years on re-issue set is just out, both uniting and dividing its critics, and the band have just revisited the album by way of a complete live concert performance, arguably their strongest work this century (and it’s now available on iTunes).
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Listen: The Flaming Lips, Metallica, Iron Maiden “Re-Machine” Deep Purple for 40th Anniversary
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Deep Purple’s hard rock classic Machine Head. In recognition of Deep Purple’s influence some of rock music’s biggest names have contributed a version of their favorite track from the album for a tribute. The result is Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head. There are two very differing versions of the album’s most famous track “Smoke On The Water”, one from guitar legend Carlos Santana with vocals by Jacoby Shaddix and one from alternative rockers The Flaming Lips. Continue reading »
Every Wednesday (or Monday), our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
Wow, what a game! Did you see the Green Bay Packers do all those things with the ball? But they just weren’t quite equal to the things which the Pittsburgh Steelers did, or maybe they were! What do you mean you don’t think I watched the Bowl? Those puppies were adorable!
Anyway. That most popular, prolific cover-creating machine in American culture known as Glee has returned with new episodes following a two month break. For their half-season kickoff, they scored the coveted post-Super Bowl timeslot, which has traditionally led already-popular television programs to incredibly high ratings. It’d probably be an exaggeration to suggest that the eyes of the world were on Glee last night, but it’s fair to say that a whole lot of people were watching. Continue reading »
An album subtitled Santana Performs the Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time has the potential to be a truly limp affair, a guitarist’s version of Rod Stewart Sings the Great American Songbook. The album pairs him with the likes of Chris Cornell, Chris Daughtry, and “Smooth” buddy Rob Thomas, which seems even shakier. Can Santana Plays Nickelback be far behind?
Maybe it can. Our first taste of the album indicates there’s hope yet. On his version of AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” Carlos Santana rocks harder than a 63-year old has any right to. This ain’t classic rock lite. It’s hard, it’s edgy, and it’s got Nas spitting some solid rhymes. Oh, and I guess there’s a guitar solo or two. Continue reading »