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Thread: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Alright, here is one of my pet peeves. I used to think there should be law against cover songs, since most turn out so awful, but there are a few artists who have made a song their own simply by putting their own stamp on it. What do you guys think are the best and worst ones?

    Some of my faves (off the top of my head, so go easy on me):

    Best

    Always on My Mind- Willie Nelson. I don't even want to hear Elvis or anyone else sing this one. Anyone who does this for karaoke should be required to pinch their nose through the whole song.

    Broken Arrow- Rod Stewart. Robbie Robertson is a great songwriter, but his voice leaves a bit to be desired. The last of the great Rod Stewart songs, his version is simply gorgeous.

    If I Can't Have You- Yvonne Ellman. Hard to top the Bee Gees, but she did.

    California Dreamin'- The Beach Boys. Believe it or not, this version is kinda dark, which was totally unexpected (not better than the original, but wholly listenable.)

    Blinded By the Light- Manfred Mann & Because the Night- Patti Smith. I love the Boss, but liked these versions better than when he did them.


    Worst

    I Will Always Love You- Whitney Houston. I say this not because Whitney's version is so bad, but because I think Dolly's version is so much better. Hearing the writer sing about a true-life breakup is so much more appealing than hearing someone flexing their vocal chords for the sake of doing it. I always loved this song for its quietness and to hear it with early 90s production added is simply sacrilege.

    Can't Help Falling In Love- Both Richard Marx and Corey Hart covered this. Elvis not only rolled over in his grave, he nearly broke through his tombstone, caught a train to Hollywood and killed all living descendants of these two cheeseheads.

    Don't Go Breaking My Heart- Elton John and Ru Paul. This song was the reason I thought there should be a law against remakes. I can see Rick Santorum before Congress right now..."When the First Amendment was passed, the framers had not yet heard the words Ru Paul uttered on this soil...."

    My Prerogative- Britney Spears. What's so awful is she sings it note for note with the Bobby Brown version in her robotic voice. She sounds like that munchkin who sang, "We represent the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild..."

    Satisfaction- Britney Spears (Oops she did it again). Britney, I served with Mick Jagger. I knew Mick Jagger. Mick Jagger was a friend of mine. You get the idea.

    Brian Wilson- Brian Wilson. Okay, I never heard this version, but hearing Brian Wilson sing today is like watching Marlon Brando act after 1979. I'm sure it was a thrill for BNL, so at least it made someone happy.

    Every Breath You Take- Various artists. I have heard this one done by several people - including an Indian trio at our fairgrounds here in Tampa- and I don't think there is a way to do it any better than it was done in 1983.

    Boys of Summer- Ataris. The band may have big screen T.V.s and fancy cars from the money they made with this, but they don't have anything close to a good version of this song. They'll tell you the record company made them release it, how they hate how people think they are a new band, blah blah, blah, but it doesn't change the fact they recorded it.

    It was much easier coming up with lousy ones than good ones. Hopefully someone can improve upon my lame list.
    Last edited by Dom Heffner; 12-29-2005 at 10:56 PM.
    If you're watchin' a parade, make sure you stand in one spot, don't follow it, it never changes. And if the parade is boring, run in the opposite direction, you will fast-foward the parade. --Mitch Hedberg

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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Good thread
    BEST: (these covers are not only corking, but took a really creative approach that worked)
    Mekons: the lost highway (orig. by Hank Willliams)
    Nick Cave (and friends) : Death is not the end (orig. by Bob Dylan)
    Yo la Tengo: By the time it gets dark (orig. by Sandy Denny - YLT does so many good covers, one of their specialities)
    Gram Parsons: To Love somebody (orig. by the BeeGees - another artist who did so many good covers)
    WORST:
    Jesus and Mary Chain's "frequency - a re-worded and awful cover of Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman - one of my favorite s

  4. #3
    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Best - Gram Parsons - Love Hurts
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    This one is easy for me. For my money, the best cover ever done is The Beatles' version of "Twist and Shout," originally done by the Isley Bros.
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    13th Floor Elevators (Roky Erickson's old outfit)--"It's All Over Now Baby Blue" (Dylan)--Note perfect; far better than Dylan's.

    Minutemen--"Ain't Talkin Bout Love" (Van Halen)--Roughly 45 seconds long, which is what the original should have been.

    Will Oldham--"Horses" (Sally Timms)--the only song on earth that actively scares me.

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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    That is a good Palace bros. cover. Thanks for the reminder.
    I want to share the opinion that Will Oldham is one of the best songwriters of our time and Superwolf is one great 2005 release.

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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Quote Originally Posted by Betterread
    That is a good Palace bros. cover. Thanks for the reminder.
    I want to share the opinion that Will Oldham is one of the best songwriters of our time and Superwolf is one great 2005 release.
    Thank god for Matt Sweeney's electric guitar--it appears, for the time being, to have awakened Will Oldham from his torpor. I hope he hangs around Sweeney for a while--I absolutely love his guitar-playing, songwriting, as well as his harmonies with Will. Oldham really needed that shot in the arm.
    Last edited by Falls City Beer; 12-29-2005 at 11:38 PM.

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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    13th Floor Elevators (Roky Erickson's old outfit)--"It's All Over Now Baby Blue" (Dylan)--Note perfect; far better than Dylan's.
    But The Chocolate Watchband's version is better .

    But heck here's both

    www.deadballart.com/redszone/13thbaby_blue.mp3

    www.deadballart.com/redszone/CWB_baby_blue.mp3

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    Never say Nevermore marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Can't Help Falling In Love- Both Richard Marx and Corey Hart covered this. Elvis not only rolled over in his grave, he nearly broke through his tombstone, caught a train to Hollywood and killed all living descendants of these two cheeseheads.
    When the Corey Hart version was out, I discovered that using a little vocal trick, I could reproduce his voice almost perfectly. At this point, I started paying close attention and realized he had pretty much no actual vocal talent. It was a weird thing, really.

    Best covers? For sentimental reasons, I'll go with ELO's version of Roll Over Beethoven, which I first heard played as filler between games of a Reds doubleheader when control was returned to the local station (back when AM stations played music). Jeff Lynne's vocals get a bit weird toward the end (particularly the way he pronounces Beethoven), but the bent classical music interludes are interesting, and they still managed to hang on to the Chuck Berry feel more than the Beatles version did. I also liked Mental as Anything's "Just Like Romeo & Juliet" (always like their sense of humor). And I still like the Stones' version of "Harlem Shuffle" from the mid-eighties. All of these are a bit pedestrian, I guess, but it's late, and I can't remember any really daring covers off the top of my head (and when you think about it, if you're going to do a cover, you should do something interesting with it).

    Covers are hard to rate, because your reaction has to do with how you feel about both the original and the remake. What one person likes can send another person running from the room (as with any type of music, but in this case, with a slight tweak in the why).


    late add--extra credit for any of br549's versions of Johnny Horton songs.


    The worst? I've mentioned this before, but that male/female duo that did "Free Bird" and one of Frampton's songs was unbelievably horrid.
    Last edited by tixe; 12-30-2005 at 12:00 AM.
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    But The Chocolate Watchband's version is better .
    I very respectfully, but very emphatically, disagree. 13FE's version captures the overpowering sadness that lies behind the lyrics--never has an Echoplex been put to better use than on their cover.

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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Cake's version of I Will Survive is good.

    The best? Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower. Of course.

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    The worst? I've mentioned this before, but that male/female duo that did "Free Bird" and one of Frampton's songs was unbelievably horrid.
    Will to Power was the band. Then they ditched one of the singers and covered 10cc's "I'm Not in Love."
    If you're watchin' a parade, make sure you stand in one spot, don't follow it, it never changes. And if the parade is boring, run in the opposite direction, you will fast-foward the parade. --Mitch Hedberg

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    Never say Nevermore marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom Heffner
    Will to Power was the band. Then they ditched one of the singers and covered 10cc's "I'm Not in Love."
    Thanks. Someone told me the last time I mentioned them, but my mind just refuses to associate them with Neitzsche.
    No Victims, by me

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    What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin. --Straka

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    Best:

    Knocking on Heaven's Door - Guns n Roses
    You Really Got Me - Van Halen
    Signs - Tesla

    ...and I'm surprised that Johnny Cash's version of Hurt hasn't received mention, although it didn't strike the chord with me that it did with so many others...

    Worst:

    Take My Breath Away - Jessica Simpson (hearing her sing it is bad - watching her sing it is unbearable)
    Sweet Child O' Mine - Sheryl Crow
    Faith - Limp Bizkit (they took a horrible song and made it even more annoying)

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    Never say Nevermore marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: Cover Songs: The best and the worst

    .
    Faith - Limp Bizkit (they took a horrible song and made it even more annoying)
    Fred Durst's rendering of "Behind Blue Eyes" was, otoh, a horrible version of a good song.

    One recent cover I liked was Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal".
    No Victims, by me

    The rest is drama.


    What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin. --Straka


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