Thursday, January 08, 2009



I talked about accents the other week, in context of my favourite singers. Today I was thinking about cover versions as an allegory for life and love. Someone just gave me a copy of this early White Stripes cover of Bob Dylan's song 'Isis' (the video below is crappy but the audio is perfect). It's bold to make something so well known your own, or at least to have a go. I am very pro-cover versions and have listed a top five inviting you to offer your own.

There are, after all, a finite number of musical notes and, ultimately, a finite number of ways to arrange them. In the end all that can really change is the tonality with which you play those notes. Where this takes me is here: someone has loved as hard as you, before you did. You are not the first to cry for what you've cried for, mourn what you mourn, fight for what you fight for, get turned on by the things that turn you on. This sounds harsh, but when you accept that you aren't feeling anything new, only feeling it in your own way, your own's very freeing.

This is also a pretty interesting one, though many of you will know it already - the Israeli singer, Yael Naim, doing Britney Spears' 'Toxic':

Some faves of mine:

Happy Mondays - Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees
John Lennon - Be My Baby by The Ronettes
Townes Van Zandt - Dead Flowers by The Rolling Stones
Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man by Gladys Knight (yes she came before Aretha)
Aretha Franklin - Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles

I'm ambivalent. The examples you've quoted all seem very personally motivated, but looking at something like "Hallelujah" gets hashed out for Christmas number one by whoever's won the latest reality show.

But then again I think I'm crossing this over with my perennial rant about TV shows being unnecessarily remade.

I should think this through further.
shteyngart once mentioned an old russian man covering "oops i did it again" on an accordian in the moscow subways...

the cover is a chance to translate a song from one mechanical existence to another...
LOVE Dusty Springfield and Son of a Preacher Man. One of those songs you HAVE to sing along.
"You are not the first to cry for what you've cried for, mourn what you mourn, fight for what you fight for, get turned on by the things that turn you on."

This is so true. We believe our lives our sooo different but really we're all the same. We all need love, physical touch, and to feel appreciated. People who have gone before us had the same hopes and dreams we have.

Life is like a film that is rewound and played over and over. With different actors in each role each interpreting life differently. Thats all we do really, interpret life.
Sorry some of my favourite covers:

Johnny Cash.... Hurt.
Leona Lewis ....Run.
U2.......Night and Day.
I collect covers of Be My Baby, Brian Wilson said he thought it was the best pop song ever recorded, and I think he might be right.
So that's definitely top of the list.

I'm also a sucker for covers of Bruce Springsteen tracks, such as Florence and the Machine (featuring Kid Harpoon) covering I'm Going Down, Ed Harcourt's cover of Atlantic City. I'm not so fond Frankie Goes To Hollywoods cover of Born To Run though!
Best covers: CSNY's cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock"; Jimi Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"; Santana's cover of Buddy Holly's "Well All Right"; Talking Heads' cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River."
Oh Elizabeth I like all of yours.
I'm with Cathusmax. I prefer originals. But one comes to mind. U2 doing Helter Skelter. "Charles Manson stole this from the Beatles, and we're stealing it back!"

And ... there's John Lennon doing Stand By Me.
You had me at Johnny Cash
I seriously like that Toxic cover :-P

My favourite covers are inexcusably pop and mainstream, them being The Corrs with Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) and Dixie Chicks with Landslide (also Fleetwood Mac). I also like Fleetwood Mac's own versions, mind you :-P
Love Yael Naim, I discovered her on "les dix commandement " by Élie Chouraqui a french Musical theatre.

My fav' cover sorry but french ^^ is :

Tété - A la faveur de l'automne
First, from reading this post I can see how musically challenged I am.

Second, Yael Naim did a damn good job with that cover. I haven't heard it in quite some time.

Third, sometimes I am listening to a cover that I didn't even know was a cover! For shame...

Fourth, I'd say currently Seal's cover of "Change is Gonna Come" has been moving me lately:

Seal is covering Sam Cooke's song of hope. I also read it was believed to be inspired by Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind."
Ok Ok, I'm late...but better LATE THAN NEVER.

Best cover version EVER: Jeff Buckley's interpretation of L. Cohen's "Halleluja"...the lyrics are like a prayer, the text alone is SO beautiful, but Buckley's interpretation of the song is heart-breakingly drives me to tears - literally.

Another cover that I like: Joe Cocker's version of "With a Little Help from my Friends" - originally performed by Ringo much as I LOVE the Beatles, Cocker's rendition is a zillion times better than Ringo's.
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