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July 26, 2007



Wow, some really good stuff on these lists! Some of my favorites, with originals in parenths and genre change where appropriate:

Everything I own-Ken Boothe (reggae cover-Bread)
Dear Prudence-Siouxie and the Banshees (Beatles)
Happy Together-Mel Torme (Turtles)
Jenny (867-5309)-Less Than Jake (ska-core-Tommy Twotone)
Pressure Drop-The Clash (Toots and the Maytals)
Slow Down-The Jam (Beatles)
Respect-Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
YMCA-The Skunks (ska-Village People)

Plenty more where that came from!


re: OnkelWim's list

Oh yeah, I had forgotten about the Pistol's version of "Substitute". That's also great.


OK, let's do this. In no particular order:

1. PJ Harvey, Highway 61 (Bob Dylan)
2. Johnny Cash, The Beast in Me (Nick Lowe)
3. Israel Kamakawiho'ole, Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Standard)
4. Bauhaus, Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
5. DEVO, Satisfaction (Stones)
6. Royskopp, Go With the Flow (Queens of the Stone Age)
7. Redd Kross, Yesterday Once More (Carpenters)
8. Sex Pistols, Substitute (The Who)
9. Beck, Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime (Corgis)
10. Smith, Baby It's You (Shangri-Las?)

Counterpoint -- Covers I Hate Like Foaming Poison:

1. Wallflowers, Heroes (Bowie)
2. Anyone Ever, American Pie
3. Any Smirking White Kid with a Guitar, Any Gangsta Rap Track Ever
4. Orgy, Blue Monday (New Order)


Why am I not surprised that you would be a 1st generation fan of Coverville, Jenn? This explains why someone of your scholarly acumen and botanical expertise would hang around here where the invasive species posts are so few and far between! I bet you were a liberal arts major as an undergrad!

Now regular readers of this blog know I revere the very air that Richard Thompson breathes, and among his many musical talents is a penchant for covers. Here is my top ten list of songs Thompson has covered which are readily available in recorded form.

From The Songs Pour Down Like Silver (one of 5 discs in the boxed set):

Danny Boy - a big band, headbanger version - what the Pogues might have done if they were lounge lizards...

Substitute - Hot licks on a Who classic

Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastique Bertrand revisited with a vengeance, as over the top as it gets.

The Story of Hamlet - an old Frank Loesser tune, swinging and o so hep, Daddy O.

From 1000 Years of Popular Music CD

There is Beauty - Gilbert and Sullivan reduced to a three piece: outrageous

Kiss: Does for Prince what Michael Hedges did for Sheena E

Orange Colored Sky: Nat King Cole goes acoustic

From 1000 Years of Popular Music DVD and CD set:

See My Friends: The Kinks lament gets a new lease on life.

Oops! I did it again: A traditional song from Britney...

1985: Bowling For Soup closes out 1,000 years of popular music.

Any folk singer is covering someone elses work, so I have omitted most traditional songs from consideration. Otherwise, I would have added Sumer is Icumen In and So Be Me ca bon Tempo from 1000 years. Stunning.


Huge fan of Coverville, since episode 1! My favorite eps, if you are finding your way through the archives, are the "Originalville" ones where he plays the originals you've never heard (because only the covers were hits) and the acapella ones (AcaPodcast is another fave of mine).

Not 10 but here goes:

- I have had this argument before but I am sorry, the best "Hallelujah" cover is by Jeff Buckley! :-P
- "Video Killed The Radio Star" by Presidents of the USA (The Buggles did the original)
- "Ring of Fire" by Social Distortion
- "Metro" by Alkaline Trio (Berlin did the original)
- Tom Jones does Prince's "Kiss." Why do I like this song, why???
- "Constantinople" by They Might Be Giants
- Absolutely ANYTHING by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the ultimate punk rock cover band.

Now excuse me while I try to track down that Neil Diamond does Jane's Addiction.....


Via e-mail, my friend Theo chimes in:

"good covers is the kind of thing one can spend a lot of time on. my list so far would include hendrix's version of watchtower, the sex pistol's "my way", and neil diamond singing 'jane says' while accompanying himself on 12-string acoustic. pat methany's 'giant steps' from one of his latter day live albums ain't half bad either. on smokin at the half note wes montgomery and miles' rhythm section at the time--the wynton kelly trio--do a version of a monk tune, i forget the name of it, highly modal sounding, and one monk never recorded himself, but i had to pull the car over the first time i heard it.

i'm sure i'll think of something else."

Theo, incidently, is the man to see for all your fuzz effects pedal needs:




1. Indeed there are so many fine Leonard Cohen covers - I'd go with John Cale's version of Hallelujah (and honourable mention to Kate Gibson's version of Dance Me to the End of Love)

2. Judy Mowatt's verson of Row Jimmy (from a reggae Grateful Dead tribute that came out about 10 years ago)

3. Spacemen 3 - Transparent Radiation (Red Krayola)

4. Tricky - Black Steel (Public Enemy)

5. Radiohead - The Thief (Can) They were encoring with this on the Amnesiac tour, giving credit where it was due - Thom Yorke telling the audience "If you like us, you really should listen to Can." Alas Can is an entirely different ball game, but fantastic too.

6. Which reminds me - Thin White Rope or Geraldine Fibbers doing Yoo Doo Right? I think TWR by a thread.

7. Nouvelle Vague - This Is Not A Love Song (Public Image Ltd), though really, both of their albums are pretty ace all the way through.

8. White Stripes - Moonage Daydream (Bowie) The blog from which I copped this claimed it to be from their first ever gig.

9. Dresden Dolls - My Doorbell (White Stripes) - on which Amanda introduces herself and the drummer as "I'm Jack and this is my sister Meg."

10. David Bowie - Amsterdam (Jacques Brel) - 'cause I'm moving to the Netherlands and won't be far. Though I'm guessing it's been decades since Amsterdam was really Brelian. (Mind you, in the Brel covers category, Scott Walker's version of Jackie is ace too.)


I love covers. And I love lists. So I love lists of covers. :) In no order:

I am very fond of the Cash covers, no matter how overhyped. I particularly like his version of "One". He means it more than Bono ever did.

Shonen Knife does a great cover of "Top of the World"

Luna's version of "Bonnie & Clyde" is pretty faithful to the Serge Gainsbourg original, but I still like it.

"Gloria" by Patti Smith, which I was delighted to hear live when I saw her a few weeks ago. Van Morrison has to be proud.

St. Etienne covers Neil with "Only Love Can Break Your Heart". I never thought I'd say this, but I like it better than the original.

Lots of wonderful Cohen covers, but I gotta go with Nina Simone's version of "Suzanne". honorable mention to James and "So Long, Marianne".

I have a sentimental affection for the Burning Sensation's cover of "Pablo Picasso". (Am going to see Mr. Richman in September, and looking forward to that.)

No cover list is complete without mentioning "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin. Was that really ever someone else's song?

Marianne Faithful has a wonderful version of "Working Class Hero". Listening to her sing it was the first time that I really heard the song.

I love the Kinks, but Kirst MacColl was born to sing "Days"

Wyclef Jean does a wonderful version of "Wish You Were Here". Both ironic and from the heart. I like the edge.

Finally, even though it's more than 10, I'm going to be really annoying and argue that Melanie does the best of all possible versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man". So there.

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