Saturday, June 2, 2007

Cover songs that improve on the original

Ilyka started a thread about when bad covers happen to good songs, and the topic came up of what cover songs people actually like. We had a really great thread on that last year, and I thought I could post a couple MP3s of some of my favorite songs. These are both versions I think improve dramatically on the original, though I wouldn't go so far as to say that I think the originals are bad songs. I wouldn't gouge my eardrums out listening to the originals of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" or "Ohio", but I'd rather hear these versions in a heartbeat.

Al Green---"I Want To Hold Your Hand"


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At June 2, 2007 at 7:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like the Jack Off Jill version of The Cure's "Lovesong." There's something about a faster, more raw, hi-hat crashing take on it that makes me smile.

At June 2, 2007 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Jimmy Higgins said...

The Devo cut is great. I am forwarding you (if I can figure out how) a nice raw live version doen by the Marah lads and Steve Earle.

Devo was a great cover band. Their jittery re-imagination of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," arguably the best rock & roll song of all time, was gutsy and transformed the song while keeping the alienation at its core. Ihe Bjork and PJ Harvey version is tho only other one that stands up to the original.

At June 2, 2007 at 11:47 AM , Anonymous Matt T. said...

Man, that Al Green cover is a favorite, too. I got a weak spot, though, for Beatles covers by soul singers. Wilson Pickett made "Hey, Jude" his, and Ike & Tina Turner do a killer version of "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window". The best, however, is Fats Domino's version of "Lady Madonna". Funky as hell. I'm also partial to Aretha Franklin's "Elenor Rigby" and Ray Charles' "Yesterday".

At June 2, 2007 at 1:24 PM , Blogger DJA said...

In a similar vein, there's also Al Green's cover of "Light My Fire."

At June 2, 2007 at 11:12 PM , Anonymous Samba00 said...


As far as great covers go, you should check out Love's Secret Domain by Coil, which deconstructs In Dreams by Roy Orbison to emphasize all of its creepy stalkerishness.

At June 3, 2007 at 7:45 PM , Blogger Leslie said...

My favoritest cover ever is Nirvana doing "Son of a Gun" by the Vaselines.

I'm a simple girl with simple tastes. :P

At June 8, 2007 at 12:18 PM , Anonymous Simon C said...

"Marie Douceur, Marie Colere" by Jacqueline LaforĂȘt - there's a small subgenre of non-Anglophone European semi-covers of major US and UK hits of the sixties and this is one of the best, "Paint It Black" with a throaty French woman singing about how her man is an idiot because he thinks she's all about teh fluff.

The lyrics are full of stuff like (rough translation) "Marie Sweetness is what you call me / You like to think you know me best / But it's Marie Anger who's in front of you now / Marie Softness is gone, she's history".

And the Flying Lizards did an amazing covers album, "Top 10", with their versions of Move On Up (which I like better than the original), Sex Machine, What's New Pussycat et al.


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