Oct 302020
 
best cover songs 2000

Every year, I do a big anniversary post tackling the best covers of a year before Cover Me was born. So far we’ve done 1969 (in 2019), 1978 (in 2018), 1987 (in 2017), and 1996 (in 2016). And in 2020 we circle back to the not-so-distant past with the most recent year yet: 2000.

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.

The list begins on Page 2.

Sep 142020
 

Dozens (hundreds?) of young artists fell for the 2015 song of the year, Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me,” and posted their own version of the hit on social media. But only one of them found herself taking a call from Prince, who saw enough talent and originality in her post to want to hear more. That was just one early “lift-off” moment in the career of singer, song-writer, pianist, and Blue Note recording artist Kandace Springs.

The calls to collaborate kept coming, from artists in diverse genres, locations, and generations: Ghostface Killah, Daryl Hall, Black Violin, and David Sanborn in the U.S., Aqualung and Metropole Orkest in Europe. (We highlighted her Metropole Orkest hook-up in our Charles Mingus celebration back in April.) Springs’ vocal stylings are varied enough, and her roots are deep enough, to deal with all of it: her work reveals clear hip-hop, soul, and R&B influences, but classical music and straight-ahead jazz are her true loves. Her life-long hometown of Nashville may be synonymous with country music, but that’s one form Springs hasn’t taken on. Yet.
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Aug 152019
 
Woodstock Covers

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.

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Jun 222012
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

In 1956, Jalacy Hawkins entered the studio, planning to record a blues ballad he had been performing live with some success. Producer Arnold Maxon had other ideas, and to fulfill them, he brought plenty of alcohol and food and alcohol (not to mention alcohol) into the studio. Hours later, Hawkins staggered up to the microphone and unleashed one of the rawest, bloodiest, most gut-churning vocal performances ever delivered, one that he couldn’t even remember giving the following day. The ballad-turned-reverse-exorcism was banned in radio stations nationwide (they claimed the blast of demented gibberish at the end simulated cannibalism), and the song never charted. Didn’t matter. Jalacy Hawkins would forever after be Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and “I Put a Spell On You” would be his raucous calling card. Continue reading »

Jan 312012
 

When you listen to Jay-Z and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” it doesn’t exactly scream acoustic orchestra performance, so be prepared to be a little surprised by this one. Last week, experimental band Antony & the Johnsons took the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with Symphony Orchestra, and delivered a live performance of the hit, which they’ve covered in the past. Lead singer English singer-songwriter Antony Hegarty sang while a 60-piece orchestra played along with pianos, violins and even some saxophone. While this version doesn’t feature Jay-Z, or a rap interlude of any kind, it doesn’t seem to leave the live audience disappointed. Continue reading »

Jul 012011
 

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

We bring you five instantly accessible tracks today, perfect to groove to over the holiday weekend. Pirate-holler Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, folk Vampire Weekend, and pop-punk Eddie Money are sure to make you the hit of your 4th of July BBQ. Download those and more below. Continue reading »