Oct 262017
free covers album

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 »

Mar 042011

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

Some songs are tied in music fans’ minds to a particular instrument. “Under Pressure” would be nothing without the bass. “In the Air Tonight” conjures four bars of epic drums. No Jimi Hendrix song can be separated from the guitar. But these are all common instruments, with many rock songs tied to them. The cowbell is only associated with one song. But through that single song two words have forever entered the pop culture lexicon: More cowbell. Continue reading »

Oct 292010

You’ve probably seen our birthday tributes to the likes of Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna. Well, today, they say it’s our birthday. We’re gonna have a good time. In fact, we’ve already begun celebrating. This morning we enjoyed a Schoolhouse Rock Song of the Day. We offered up a new vinyl giveaway. We even re-posted our very first post (covers of songs off John Wesley Harding). But this is the big one.

We contacted a bunch of artists we’ve worked with in the past – terrifically talented folk who have all played a role in Cover Me’s history. We asked them to record birthday-themed cover songs for a special three-year celebration album. Find the fruits of their labor below. Eleven brand-new covers of birthday songs both famous (“It’s My Party”) and obscure (“Birthday Boy”), all recorded just for the occasion. You can download high-quality MP3s individually below or the full set (plus a bonus track!) way down at the bottom. Each artist shared their thoughts on the song they chose, so be sure to read those. Continue reading »

Sep 242010

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist covers a reader-selected song for this blog. Any artists interested in participating, contact us.

Back in July we introduced you to the Peptides. First we presented three of their best cover videos (with commentary) in an Under the Radar feature. You liked that so much we quickly signed them on for a Cover Commission. They selected ten disco tunes, you voted, and Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” edged out Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” for the win. Continue reading »

Jul 262010

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist covers a reader-selected song for this blog. Any artists interested in participating, contact us.

What’s left to say about The Peptides? A couple weeks ago we introduced these Canadians to you in a popular Under the Radar feature. Frontman Claude Marquis told us about their covers of “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Fallen Leaves,” “Silver Dagger,” and “Jealous Guy.” A pretty wide spectrum there, from traditional folk to pop-punk, but they haven’t done any disco. Until now. In the Cover Commissions tradition, they will cover one of ten disco hits, as determined by you, the reader.

Before we get there though, let’s present a little more background. The band has two covers we held back from the previous feature. One is a harmony-happy version of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home),” the sequel he wrote to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The other is a mandolin-and-strings “Mary’s Prayer,” the sole hit by British band Danny Wilson (which included no one name Danny or Wilson). Both come accompanied by typically vintage videos from old films. Can you name them? Continue reading »

Jul 162010

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Quoting a Facebook comment in your press release is kind of lame. Unless that comment describes your sound as “Lori Anderson meets Austin Powers with back up from the Beach Boys and the Bangles.” In case, quote away! Misspellings notwithstanding (Laurie Anderson), you’re not going to write better PR copy than that.

That description of the Peptides is off in one way though: This Ottawa group has already released more material this summer than all those artists/pop-culture phenomena have in the past decade. They just dropped the brilliantly-titled For Those Who Hate Human Interaction, a 25-song three-act journey into hate. Apparently worried that a mere 25 songs could be viewed as slacking though, they simultaneously released a second album, North Hero, with 15 more. Forty songs at once, no big deal.

The Peptides have popped up on Cover Me before – we named an earlier recording one of the Best Covers of 2008 – but North Hero contains four new covers that more than justify a return.From the slow-burn “Don’t Fear the Reaper” to the slower-burn “Jealous Guy,” they infuse every moment with haunting beauty.

Each download comes with a terrific video, pairing the songs with some classic film footage. Plus, Cover Me checked in with singer Claude Marquis, who shared his thoughts on the new songs with us. Listen/read/watch below, and pay attention. You may see the Peptides back here sooner than you think… Continue reading »