Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cover Me

Just what is it that makes a great cover tune? Is it a great tune to begin with but covered by your favorite band? A tune you never knew exited simple done better? This blog is driving by an Aussie friend who posted that a band had covered one of her favourite (I will spell it this way because that is how Aussies spell it) songs and essentially - she felt they ruined it.
So my mind at first was going to write something about what makes a good cover song. But then I decided upon cover songs you might not realize are cover songs. The first would have been merely an opinion piece, I wanted something to make you go - wow, I never know so and so really write and performed that song first.

Red, Red Wine

By far, this usually shocks people the most. I actually bet my entire music reputation on this one once. No one ever knows that Neil Diamond wrote and sang Red Red Wine originally.
It wasn't until those crazy kids of UB40 decided to cover it that the song in their signature sound and took off.
Nothing Compares 2 U

The next song was written by Prince and performed by the band, The Family. While that song never hit the charts, it would be controversial Irish singer Sinead O'Connor that would capture the world with not only her performance, but the haunting video that went along with it. Nothing Compares 2 U.
Blinded by the Light

Bruce Springsteen originally wrote and performed the song made famous by Manfred Mann, Blinded by the Light.  In fact, it was the first song on the album Greetings from Asbury Park. Bruce's version was changed lyrically by Manfred Mann and also became one of the most popular misheard lyrics ever.

If Bruce had recorded it as he performed it in Dublin, this song might have been a hit for him originally.

The whole blues - rock world is very incestuous when it comes to songs. While Stevie Ray  covered it most don't know that it was Jeff Beck that helped lay down the track, Superstitious with Stevie Wonder.
Black Magic Woman

Not many get this one. If you say Black Magic Woman, most will say Santana. And most would be wrong. In 1968, it was Fleetwood Mac that actually recorded the song written by Peter Green and made famous by Santana two years later.

Me and Bobby McGee

Be honest - you have never heard of Roger Miller. I had never heard of Roger Miller.  You might have heard of Gordon Lightfoot (he did a version of this song as well). You've heard of Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin though.
Me and Bobby McGee is a song that was made famous after Janis' death. Kris Kristofferson has written more songs than you know and this is only one of the gems. It almost went to The Statler Brothers (yes, the ones whose song Flowers on the Wall appears in Pulp Fiction). But it was Me and Bobby McGee that has been covered time and again, making it one of rocks most famous songs.

This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody)

The Lumineers have been in heavy rotation and pay homage to possibly one of their influences, The Talking Heads, by covering This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody). Great news is that they take an already awesome song and don't destroy it.
And not messing up the song is really important because, David Byrne intended it to be a love song.


 Well, there you have it. Some cover songs that maybe you didn't know were cover songs, or didn't know who originally wrote and performed them. Have any that I didn't include? Send 'em my way.

No comments:

Post a Comment