Saturday, March 22, 2008

Top 5 on Friday: Cover Songs and Covers Albums

From Music Memoirs:

Due to the damn snowstorm, I got home later than normal on Friday evening and thus couldn't get this posted until the wee hours.

Here are 5 interesting covers in my CD collection.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by Lesley Gore- The "It's My Party" girl tackles a song made famous by "The Thunder from Down Under" and does a credible job.

Dust In the Wind by Eric Benet- from his 1999 CD "A Day In the Life", Halle's ex adds some flavor to his version. Toto, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Eleanor Rigby by Aretha Franklin- featuring her superb piano work and vocals, Lady Soul put her spin on The Beatles' classic in 1969.

Positively 4th Street by Simply Red- The British band recorded the Bob Dylan tune for their 2003 release "Home". I picked up a free copy from where I work and listened to it without looking at the track listing. It wasn't until Mick Hucknall sang "You got a lot of nerve...", that I realized what song it was.

Unchained Melody by Vito and the Salutations- recorded in 1963 (8 years after the first version and 2 years before The Righteous Brothers' rendition), Vito & the Salutations did it in an uptempo doo-wop style that makes it almost unrecognizable. I love it!

5 covers albums that I own:

"Chartbusters Go Pop" by Elton John- Back in the days before compilations featuring the original artists became available, budget-priced albums of hit songs by nameless 'soundalike' performers were the norm. Before hitting it big as a solo performer, Elton John recorded this album of hits from 1969/1970. Included are his takes on Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In the Sky", CCR's "Up Around the Bend", Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered", and Nina Simone's "To Be Young Gifted and Black". It's worth it just to hear Elton sing "To be young, gifted and black. Is where it's at".

"Here No Evil: A Tribute to the Monkees" by various artists- This 1992 CD features tunes made famous by Mike, Micky, Davy, and Peter. Highlights include "Circle Sky" by The Diggers, "You Told Me" by Multi-Color House, and "Let's Dance On" by The Doll Squad.

Policia: A Tribute to the Police- Released in 2005, this CD features artists such as Fall Out Boy (Roxanne), Limbeck (So Lonely), and Underoath (Wrapped Around Your Finger) doing songs made famous by Sting and the boys.

Rock Swings by Paul Anka- Recorded in 2005, the former teen idol goes Sinatra with renditions of tunes first done by Survivor (Eye of the Tiger), Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit), and The Cure (Lovecats) just to name a few.

Saturday Morning Cartoon's Greatest Hits by various artists- This 1995 CD features some of the top alternative acts of the day doing songs from 60s and 70s kidvid. Some of the highlights are "The Tra La La Song" by Liz Phair with Material Issue, "Go Speed Racer Go" by Sponge, "Josie and the Pussycats" by Juliana Hatfield & Tanya Donnelly, and "Spiderman" by The Ramones.


The Mistress of the Dark said...

Have you heard Bryan Ferry's cover of Positively 4th Street. I've got to look and see if I have that Simply Red CD.

Oh and I never knew there was a tribute to the Monkees. It's really good? I know there was an indie covers album of Neil Diamond songs that was really interesting.

Lord Mhoram said...

Nice list. I love Rock Swings.

The best place to find the Dino Martini's One hand in Pocket is on the collection Ultra Swing Nouveau. It also has Detroit Swing City. A bunch of different neo-swing artist and fairly fun.

pjazzypar said...

If you ever get a chance check out the Rotary Connection's cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" (actually Aretha's was also a cover). It is totally unrecognizable. Otis Redding said, after hearing Aretha's version, "That little girl done stole my song".

X. Dell said...

One of the things I like about cover versions, especially if there's a lot of disparity from the original, is that they translate musical ideas from idiom to idiom.

Damien said...

Oh those are so classic. The AC/DC cover is hard to fathom :)

Some of my covers collection bests? ... hmmm let me see. Some you may find more arcane than others:

* You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins
* All I Have to Do is Dream - REM
* Keep on Rockin' in the Free World - The Alarm
* Hello - That one chick on American Idol last week


moodymistress said...

I've never heard of that Monkees cover album! Sounds interesting :)

what's a donzer said...

Wow! This post was amazing. My thoughts: Why did Lesley Gore hold back on the "TNT"s and the "Oy"s? She could have taken it all home and then some, yet, she held back. Curious. Second: First you cheat on Halle Berry, Eric Benet, and then you crap all over a Kansas classic? No thank you.

Pop Art Diva! said...

Sorry I missed your radio show - I'm in the middle of an art show in Sedona! Good day - sold the Rainbow Dragonfly that I just finished.

I remember those imitator albums - I had a bunch of them in the 60s. You'd get a truckload of hits for a fraction of the cost - of course, they weren't the original artists, but I didn't have a big allowance, lol.

You must have a whole room dedicated to your album collection!!

Malcolm said...

Mistress of the D: No, I haven't heard the Bryan Ferry cover... but I remember when he released the Dylan tribute CD.

The Monkees tribute CD is pretty good. I stumbled on it when I was browsing in Harmony House back in the early 90s. I can send you a couple of tracks sometime this week.

Lord Mhoram: Thanks for stopping by and for giving me the info on Ultra Swing Nouveau.

Pjazzy: A few years ago, I listened to some snippets of songs by The Rotary Connection. One thing I liked about them is that they truly remade songs, instead of doing note-for-note versions. I have a live version of Otis doing "Respect" and he intros the song by saying what you quoted.

X. Dell: I agree. One thing that disappointed me about Michael McDonald's Motown covers albums is that he didn't do anything different with the originals. Not only that, but he basically covered songs that have been beaten to death. What's the point in remaking songs such as "Reach Out, I'll Be There" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".

Damien: I found the Lesley Gore cover on a compilation called "When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You'd Hear". Here is a link for more info:

Although I haven't heard their version, I can definitely imagine The Alarm doing "Rockin' In A Free World".

Moody Mistress: The Monkees tribute CD was a Canadian release so I don't think it got a lot of press in the States. Probably another reason is that it doesn't include any major acts such as the ones feat. on "If I Were A Carpenter", "Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles", and "Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin".

What's A Donzer: I don't know... maybe Lesley had her head full of Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows when she recorded "Dirty Deeds...".

Aw man, you don't like Eric Benet's remake of "Dust In the Wind"?! If you thought that was crap, you are just gonna love what he is rumored to be doing on his next album. Apparently, he is going to remake The Eagles' "Hotel California"... just kidding!

Pop Art Diva: Through no fault of my own, I didn't do my show last Saturday. Hopefully, things will be straightened out and I will be back on the air this Saturday. Congrats on making a sale at the art show.

Although I don't have a lot of vinyl, I have a bunch of CDs and cassettes. To make room, I have ripped some of the CDs to my computer before selling them off.

pjazzypar said...

Whoa Malcolm, A word of caution about putting those CD's on your computer. Purchase a back up hard drive just in case your computer crashes. You definitely don't want to lose everything.

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: I had been meaning to get a hard drive ever since I talked to Cook late last year and she told me about the one that Jet has. Thanks for the reminder.

Candy Minx said...

I really enjoyed this post. My brother in law collects covers so i keep a watch out for them...

I love the covers by Sonic Youth of the Carpenters Foo Fighters cover of Nicky by Prince and Baker Street...

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