Thursday, April 17, 2008

Name Your Favorite Cover Songs

The clips of Young@Heart covering Coldplay’s “Fix You” and Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” – thanks to Scott – have started a thing: name your favorite cover songs. Give the YouTube clips if you can. Maybe I will compile this into a thing later.

Here is mine, the second totally transforming the first:

Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign”

The Mountain Goats’ “I Saw the Sign”


Geoff Klock said...

Pasted from yesterday's comments:

Casey said...
I like the whole idea of a list of the best covers. I vote for "wonderful world" by joey ramone. Which he recorded just weeks before he died, much like cash with hurt.

Ping33 said...
Best cover: Happiness is a Warm Gun by the Breeders. Turns one of the goofiest Beatles songs into a haunting dirge.

scott91777 said...

For me, the all time best cover is Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" because it completely reworks the song into something far more powerful and epic than Dylan's original (which wasn't bad)

But here are some others that are awesome:

Guns N' Roses "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"- If you've ever heard Dylan's original or Clapton's Reggaefied version- you'll know why this is superior.

On the topic of G N'R, "Live and Let Die" is fantastic as well; it's not all that different from McCartney's but, with Axl's voice, it just works better for them.

"Mad World" by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules. This should be familiar to anyone who has seen Donnie Darko or watched CSI... or seen a commercial... but it really is a beautiful song that manages to strip away all the cringe worthy synths of the Tears for Fears original.

Lastly, this isn't really a cover, but Clapton's unplugged version of his own "Layla"... the original is fiery and intense, filled with the passion of a love-lorn young man. The acoustic version is soft and bluesy; it has the sorrow of a regrettful older man.

Ping33 said...

Listened to both... not sure I like my previous description, but the Rage and despair from the Breeders track is palpable.

Beatles version via youtube:

Breeders (audio only):

scott91777 said...

Almost forgot,

The White Stripes cover of "Jolene"

James said...


We Will Become Silhouettes - The Postal Service (original)
We Will Become Silhouettes - The Shins (irrelevant fan video)

The End is Not Near, it's Here - The New Year (original with irrelevant One Tree Hill fan video)
The End is Not Near, it's Here - Band of Horses (irrelevant cleaning video?)

(If none of that html screws up, it'll be a miracle).

James said...

And of course, there's the obligatory "alternative" take on a corporate pop staple. (Actually, I really like that one.)

j.liang said...

covered by Tori Amos (fan video)
originally by Lloyd Cole & The Commmotions

"About A Girl"
covered by Cibo Matto (fan video)
originally by Nirvana

c1c9k72 said...

Tori Amos' cover of the Boomtown Rat's "I don't like Mondays"

Ewan McGregor & Alessandro Safina's cover of Elton John's "Your Song"

Sarah Brightman's cover of the Beloved's "Deliver Me"

Placebo's cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up that Hill"

William Shatner's (Yes, I said it) cover of Pulp's "Common People"

scott91777 said...

Oh, That was recorded during Shatner's ironically hip period a few years ago... I must reccomend his version of "Mr. Tamborine Man" that he did back during the 70s.
It ends with him repeatedly screaming "Mr. Tamborine Man!" My College Roomate used that as the shutdown theme to his computer.... sometimes we would shut the computer down just to hear it.

James said...

Yeah, I quite like Shatner's delivery on the record, but that performance did nothing for me. And Joe Jackson screws the whole thing up anyway.

sara d. reiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
casey said...

Jane's Addiction covering the Grateful Dead's Ripple

Tegan & Sara covering the Boss's Dancing in the Dark

Mark Anthony covering Simon & Garfunkel's Late in the Evening

Ted Leo covering Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone as a medley with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Maps"

Josh Hechinger said...

Goldfinger's 99 Red Balloons and Richard Cheese's Smoke 2 Joints come to mind.

casey said...

forgot one ... Tracy Chapman covering Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin

Chris Millward said...

Great topic!

I am quite partial to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's recent cover of "The World's Greatest".
Original ly by R. Kelly (video).

It doesn't have quite the same sway as the 'Hurt' cover, but the recontextualizing is wonderful. Plus, I love the nod to the original where he uses the "ax" instead of "ask".

Geoff Klock said...

I have not had time to hear all of these but Chris -- I did hear yours, because I am such a huge Will Oldham fan. Awesome. it reveals R. Kelly's country roots, doesn't it?

Chris Millward said...

Haha. Truly, this song sounds like it was always a country song the way its present by BPB.
This is off his most recent EP, 'Ask Forgiveness,' a collection of 9 songs, eight of which are covers. Pretty solid.

DoktorJericho said...

This is not my absolute favorite, but it is a recent one. The Wrong Trousers do "Video Killed the Radio Star."

Geoff Klock said...

keep this coming with youtube clips. I am going to turn this into a big post filled with youtube clips of covers and originals, and then add it to the best of the blog.

tomdarko said...

Neil Young: Powderfinger

Cowboy Junkies version

Ping33 said...

of course there's also the one I mentioned a while back:
Lithum coverd by the Polyphonic spree:

Björninn said...

Here's one: The Return of Jackie and Judy covered by Tom Waits (the clip lays it over some crying anime for whatever reason, but it's the only one I found) - Original by The Ramones.

sara d. reiss said...

sorry kids, i deleted my own comment above so I could repost it with fancy musical links!!! ignore the video that goes with the raincoats link, just listen to the song.

The Raincoats cover of The Kinks "Lola"


Shonen Knife's cover of The Carpenters "Top of the World

Chris Millward said...

I like that Ted Leo 'Since U Been Gone' cover a lot too. It toes the line between kitsch and um... non-ironic covers. Not sure how to explain that, but either way, I think it works well because that song is such a great pop song. I have a hard time not getting it stuck in my head.

Another cover that I think is amazing, but pretty obvious is Jeff Buckley's version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'. Also, the John Cale version is excellent as well.

Ignore the video on the Buckley version, the one from his record company was a non-album version, and wasn't as good as it. Though you can find it in the related videos if you want to compare.

Gar said...

Ok, I can't find a good youtube version right now, but you have to hear the studio version of "Comfotably Numb" by the Scissor Sisters...Pink Floyd by way of the Bee Gees, and its even more awesome then you would expect from that description.

scott91777 said...

Here is that Shatner cover I mentioned earlier, made even better by the fact that it is sung my Green Lantern.

This and New Frontier make me have respect for Hal Jordan.

Chris Millward said...

Ok, so I used the wrong idiom earlier. I meant, walks the line (between kitsch and non-irony), not toes the line. Err... pardon my misfire.

Mitch said...

The fifty versions of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" (if not my very favorite song, then surely in my top five) in one youtube:

Jason Powell said...

The King's Singers cover of The Beatles' "Honey Pie."



scott91777 said...

Ok, this one is groan inducing and, while not one of my 'favorite' covers still worth mentioning; Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"

As sick as I've grown of the song over the years, I have to admit, that the first dozen times I heard it, the a capella opening gave me chills. Also, while the Dolly Parton original was a hit country tune in the 70's, Whitney's became something much more than a mere hit; it became a full-fledged pop culture phenomenon.

Coligo said...

Dylans Watchtower again, this time covered by Yul Anderson (No one has posted this on the tube so this clip is all I could find).

Also Cat Powers cover of Velvet Undergrounds I Found a Reason.

I completely agree with c1c9k72's suggestion of Tori Amos' cover of Boomtown Rats 'I Don't Like Mondays', and I'd add to that her cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

sara d. reiss said...

as a long time tori fan, I've always been partial to her version of "angie"

i never bought "Scarlet's Walk" which, I think, is her album of cover songs (specifically, songs about women by men?) is it any good?