Jump to content
BizBuzz

Covers: The Good, The Bad, The Meh

Recommended Posts

Okay something that has been bothering me for ages that I have to get off my chest:  Someone (I don't remember who) made an AWFUL cover of Van Halen's "Jump," and I hate it so much that I sometimes think of it when another Van Halen song comes on the radio, and I have to change the station.  That's how much I hate this cover.

In other news, the Foo Fighter's version of "Band on the Run" is better.

And also, I'm in love lately with this version of "Sexual Healing":

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

For me, a cover is usually not that interesting if it’s just a different singer, using a similar arrangement and so forth. My preference is for a cover in which the new singer/group takes the song in a slightly different direction, such as the mood of the song, very different arrangement, etc. That said, if the mood is different, it has to be something that is supported by the lyrics. So, if the lyrics focus on someone having a broken heart because his/her lover left, the mood for that might be sorrowful or possibly angry, but it shouldn’t be upbeat or happy.  Many people have mentioned Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt, and it’s an excellent example of what I mean. When Trent Reznor sings the original, he is full of regret but he still sounds a bit tentative, as if there is still a remote chance he might turn his life around. When Johnny Cash sings it, he’s also full of regret but it’s the regret of a man who knows there is no time left in his life to make anything different.

The very first cover I remember making an impression on me was one of a song that the Supremes had done, You Keep Me Hangin’ On. When I heard the Vanilla Fudge cover of it, I understood immediately that they had given the song their own interpretation, with vocals that conveyed the agony someone in that position would be experiencing. Then years later Kim Wilde did her own cover, and with that cover, the song had morphed from the sadness of the Supremes version to the agony of the Vanilla Fudge cover, to Wilde’s simultaneous sorrow and anger at being manipulated and used.

My favorite cover is a cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. The original is moody and melancholy, with a tone of helplessness. The Finnish group HIM’s version (both the studio version they first did and then subsequent live versions) is instead more energetic, with hints of resentment and self-reproach at having been duped. It’s hard to explain, but when I listen to Chris Isaak sing the song, I feel like he’s going to spend the next 6 months moping about the object of his desire. When I listen to Ville Valo of HIM sing it, I feel like he’s reached the point of being angry about the emotional duplicity, but ready to move on with a sense of having learned a very hard lesson. That is, he may still be in love with the woman, but he no longer likes or respects her because of the way she has treated him, and he knows he’s been taken for a ride.  

Another cover that I love is Linda Ronstadt’s cover of Karla Bonoff’s Someone to Lay Down Beside Me. Ronstadt is a superior vocalist in a technical sense, but she also just invests that song with an incredible emotional range, from fatigue to sorrow, and in the last line “You just can’t ask for more,” to a passive despair. The arrangements are almost identical, but I prefer Rondstadt's because of the quality of her voice and expression. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
12 hours ago, BookWoman56 said:

My favorite cover is a cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. The original is moody and melancholy, with a tone of helplessness. The Finnish group HIM’s version (both the studio version they first did and then subsequent live versions) is instead more energetic, with hints of resentment and self-reproach at having been duped. It’s hard to explain, but when I listen to Chris Isaak sing the song, I feel like he’s going to spend the next 6 months moping about the object of his desire. When I listen to Ville Valo of HIM sing it, I feel like he’s reached the point of being angry about the emotional duplicity, but ready to move on with a sense of having learned a very hard lesson. That is, he may still be in love with the woman, but he no longer likes or respects her because of the way she has treated him, and he knows he’s been taken for a ride.

Corey Taylor, lead singer of both Slipknot and Stone Sour, also did an acoustic cover of "Wicked Game" that I really like:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Two covers that I love:

XO-John Mayer...it is a vastly superior version of Beyoncé’s song.

This may be an unpopular opinion here but, I enjoy John Mayer’s version of Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty more than the original.  Not to take anything away from Petty’s version, but, Mayer’s slower, more melancholy take hits me right in the feels.

Share this post


Link to post

From 1982: Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band cover Buck Owens.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 12/2/2014 at 8:15 PM, Wiendish Fitch said:

The Sundays cover of "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones is way better than the original to me. One of my favorite songs of all time.

I like it, but I don't like that they chopped the last verse. Sing the whole song if you're going to sing it! So, regardless of Mick Jagger being kind of nasty, I must still give the edge to the original, even if I do like the cover.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm going to need to take an afternoon soon here and pour through this entire thread of covers :D. Listen to the ones I know and love, and check out the ones I'm not familiar with :D. 

Will post a few picks from some of my favorite artists.

Crowded House: She's Not There

Franz Ferdinand: What You Waiting For?

Oingo Boingo: California Girls (I love what they do with the lyrics in their version :D.)

Elvis Costello: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Muse: Feeling Good

And another one by Muse, and this one I'm embedding, because it's just as awesome to watch as it is to listen to. Hearing/seeing one of my favorite bands cover a song by another one of my favorite bands, and with a member of that band joining in on the performance to boot? Well, it just doesn't get any better than that:

Edited by Annber03
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

While the original of this song isn't really well-known, I think Mudhoney's cover is better than the original (warning: controversial lyrics as you may have guessed by the title):

And now for something completely silly...a chorus of elderly men and women covering "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire (aka what my generation will be doing in 50 years):

Edited by BuyMoreAndSave

Share this post


Link to post

Another one of my favorite covers is Pantera's cover of "Proud to Be Loud," an unreleased song by the band Keel. Their version was later released about 10 years after Pantera's version came out, but I think Pantera's version is better. This was the last album of their "Glamtera" phase (therefore the hilarious in hindsight album cover) and the first with Phil as the singer. Even though the living members of Pantera have since tried to pretend like their glam phase didn't exist (I'm not sure why because they had some really good songs in the 80s), this song actually was in the movie Donnie Darko.

Share this post


Link to post

What do you all use when you embed videos? I'm not in the US, but on this page I was able to see AnnberO3's, but none of UYI, for instance.

Share this post


Link to post

I keep forgetting to look up who's singing that Africa cover, so thank you.  It keeps faking me out - I get several lines into it before I realize it's not the "real" song.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 7/28/2018 at 4:37 PM, Silver Raven said:

Weezer has a new cover of Toto's "Africa". Why make a cover if you're going to redo it note for note?

 

I agree, and what's more, it only exaggerates that one singer has a stronger voice than the other.  (The other being Rivers Cuomo.)

Share this post


Link to post
On ‎07‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 6:15 PM, cpcathy said:

The bridge is what is wildly different.

And terrible.

I said this in another thread before I remembered this one but here goes:

Bishop Briggs' cover of Never Tear Us Apart is a crime against humanity.  She takes a gorgeous, slow-burn masterpiece of a song and renders it unrecognizable in the worst possible way.  To say that it sounds like shit is the understatement of the year.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

For obvious reasons, I've been on an Aretha kick. Respect is her most famous cover, but these two may be my new favorites:

The Long and Winding Road:

and The Weight (with Duane Allman on slide guitar)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Just heard a cover of Wicked Game by Theory of a Deadman.  Haven’t been able to decide how I feel about it.  

I love the Goo Goo Dolls cover of Give a Little Bit.  I loathed the Supertramp original.  The cover seems very close to the original though so I assume the ptoblem is me?

Share this post


Link to post

As much as I love Emmylou Harris, she was (and is) WAY too classy and dignified a performer to have ever brought the cheese factor needed, IMO, for this song to work. Dave & Sugar MORE than made up for that (and yes, that's a bit of a backhanded compliment here on the latter's part, lol):

 

Share this post


Link to post

Behold, the OTHER version of "Friends in Low Places", by Mark Chesnutt. Imagine how different country music history might have been if THIS had been the hit instead of Garth's.

Share this post


Link to post

I LOVE Lynn Anderson's version of "Sunday Morning Coming Down." I love her, but I NEVER would have expected a song like that to fit her, but it was better than I thought it would be (although the fact that it was on the same album as her signature song, "Rose Garden", is HILARIOUS to me).

 

And here is Sammi Smith's version. She of course is best known for singing another song written by Kris Kristofferson, "Help Me Make It Through the Night". 

Share this post


Link to post

Anderson's version does not work at all for me, but Smith's - which I'd never heard - does, so thanks for posting that.

Speaking of Help Me Make It Through The Night, thinking about how many covers of that song I like (Sammi Smith, of course, but also Tammy Wynette, Elvis Presley, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez), many of them better than Kristofferson's original (that's not uncommon for me; I love his lyrics, but his voice I only really get into on certain songs) made me realize that is one frequently-covered song!  I know Anne Murray recorded it, too, and Engelbert Humperdinck, plus several others, I'm sure. 

Edited by Bastet

Share this post


Link to post

Ha - I'm pretty sure I even have that album and still forgot about her cover; that just speaks to how many artists have recorded it.

Edited by Bastet

Share this post


Link to post
On 1/1/2019 at 12:11 PM, AntiBeeSpray said:

Love this cover of A-ha's song, Take On Me...

 

I can't praise Caleb and his singing partner, Jonathan Young, highly enough.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

One of my favorite covers; "Purple Haze" in a Devo-esque mode, with vocals that sound like Kingfish from Amos & Andy, as preformed live by Frank Zappa's band:

Talk about taking a song and making it your own.

Share this post


Link to post

Really like this cover of Alphaville's song, Forever Young. Tiffany brings another layer of emotion to the song. Gives me chills every time I listen to it.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Weezer just came out with a whole album of covers with all of the songs available to listen to on their YouTube channel. They even covered No Scrubs by TLC and it really is awesome.
 

Share this post


Link to post

 

I've only just discovered this and I am obsessed. It doesn't hurt that I love the Beach Boys and Paul Simon. Also, I don't think Paul gets enough credit for his guitar work, which is beautiful. Anyway... I love it deeply.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not blown away by the vocals, but that is probably because that song is so tied to Brian Wilson.  That being said, that is a beautiful acoustic version of the song - I had no idea Paul Simon was that good!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×