Thursday, August 11, 2005

Scattered, Smothered, And Covered

Everybody knows that there's only a finite number of really good songs. Great songs, like electricity, or precious gems, are discovered, not created. They are not a renewable resource. Sooner or later there's going to come a time when every good song is simply a remake of a song that's already been recorded by somebody else. I, for one, am okay with this idea. I don't necessarily like it, and I can understand how it would be difficult for others to accept but it is, nevertheless, fact.

Cover songs rule. They rule because it's cool to hear a band you like, playing a song that you already know the words to, but haven't heard them play a million times before. I don't understand why bands like the '80's cover band The Molly Ringwalds haven't become the most popular thing ever. Basically, when you do a cover song, you can go one of two ways:

1) You can try to sound as much like the original as you possibly can.
2) You can try and totally go your own way with the song and drastically reinterpret it in your style.

Both options are equally perilous. I personally prefer for bands to go the first route, because there's a reason the song was great in the first place. If you try to mess with it too much, you can really piss people off about what you did with their favorite song (see U2/Jars Of Clay - All I Want Is You). Grrr.

Anyway- I have compiled a list of my favorite cover songs, and decided to include them here for you. There's a bunch. Look through these and see which ones you've heard, haven't heard. Perhaps there are some versions of your favorite songs here that you didn't even know existed. Perhaps there are some you know of that I didn't list. As I said, this is a list of my favorites, which means it is highly subjective, and necessarily limited to the catalog of songs I am actually aware of. If it's not here, it's probably because I either don't know about it, or know about it and don't really like it all that much. Still there are bound to be some I just didn't think of. This is where comments come in. I would love nothing more than to hear your opinions on my list, and your own additions/amendments to it. FIRE AWAY!

These are listed in an Original Artist/Cover Artist - Song Title format.
In some cases, the cover actually surpasses the original. These cases will be identified by bold print.

Stryper/ Steve Hindalong – To Hell With The Devil

Stryper/ Klank – The Way

Stryper/ The Blamed – Soldiers Under Command

Stryper/ Deliverance – Surrender

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/ Marilyn Manson – I Put A Spell On You

The Rolling Stones/ The Sundays – Wild Horses

The Cure/ Anberlin/ 311 – Love Song

David Bowie/ Deliverance – Beauty And The Beast

David Bowie/ Nirvana – The Man Who Sold The World

Bloodgood/ Mortification – Black Snake

Bloodgood/Tourniquet - The Messiah

Trouble/Tourniquet – The Tempter

U2/Echo Hollow/ Pillar – Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Five Man Electrical Jam/ Tesla – Signs

The Tremoloes/ The Mavericks – Here Comes My Baby

Pete Townshend/ Audio Adrenaline/ Pearl Jam – Let My Love Open The Door

U2/Starfield/dcTalk – 40

U2/ Tobymac – Mysterious Ways

U2/ Tait – One

U2/Grits – With Or Without You

U2/ Chris Tomlin – Where The Streets Have No Name

U2/ P.O.D. – Bullet The Blue Sky

Charlie Peacock/ dcTalk – In The Light

Terry Taylor/ Deliverance – Sanctuary

Paul McCartney/ U2 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Clash/ One Bad Pig – Rock The Casbah

Petra/ Galactic Cowboys – Not Of This World

Petra/ Die Happy - All Over Me

XTC/ Sarah McLachlan – Dear God

Deep Purple/ Vengeance Rising – Space Truckin’

TV/ Relient K – Charles In Charge

TV/ Matthew Sweet – Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

TV/ Sublime – Hong King Phooey

Radney Foster/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Fine Line

Led Zeppelin/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?

R.E.M./ Hootie and the Blowfish – Driver 8

New Grass Revival/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Let Me Be Your Man

The Smiths/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

The Doors/ Stone Temple Pilots – Break On Through

The Doors/ Aerosmith – Love Me Two Times

The Doors/ Days Of The New – The End

Rich Mullins/ Reflescent Tide – Hold Me Jesus

Veggie Tales/ The Channelsurfers – God Is Bigger

The Police/ Blackball – Message In A Bottle

Imperials/ Atomic Opera – Water Grave

Billy Joel/ Garth Brooks – Shameless

Bob Dylan/ The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man

*edited 8-15-05 to add:

Bob Dylan/Billy Joel/ Garth Brooks - To Make You Feel My Love

Simon and Garfunkel/ The Lemonheads/ Pennywise - Mrs. Robinson

Mark Cohen/ Cher - Walkin' In Memphis

Rufus Wainwright/ Jeff Buckley/ Kmax - Hallelujah

also, check out this site for their list of the 100 greatest cover songs of all time.


krysten said...

The Cars / The Insyderz - Just What I Needed

Etta James / Celine Dion - At Last

Dean Martin / Michael Buble - Sway

thats what i got off the top o' my head.

Smunkberg said...

Hmmm...I think you are missing one. What about that song by the pride of Louisiana?

jamie said...

ok, first of all, learn your HTML. What's going on with all that code there? Second of all, give props where props are due. You TO-tally forgot Garth Brooks' Shameless until I reminded you. Third:

Dwight Yoakum/Elvis- Suspicious Minds

k.d. lang/Johnny Mercer- Skylark

Caedmon's Call/Shawn Colvin- Climb On (A Back That's Strong)

Innocence Mission/John Denver- Follow Me

And what about those songs written by famous singers that have been re-done so many times you have no idea who originally wrote them? IE: Charlie Chaplin wrote "Smile." Jerry Jeff Walker wrote "Mr. Bojangles." Harry Nilsson wrote "One is the Loneliest Number," one of the most covered songs in history.

I loooooove cover songs.

jamie said...


How much do I love that you put "Charles in Charge" on there?

And I can't believe that you attributed Sgt. Pepper's to just... Paul. You can't even MENTION the Beatles?


I feel I need to add the entire "I Am Sam" soundtrack, but especially The Vines "I'm Only Sleeping."

J.T. said...

Anybody who sees HTML code when they look at the site is probably using some really lame browser that came with their computer that nobody cool even uses anymore.

J.T. said...

HTML code fixed, suckachump.

Krysten: I love that song! I didn't know the Insyderz had covered it. I'm also 100% certain that Mark has it on CD somewhere. He has all that stuff. I'm getting it. Thanks for the heads-up. Also - Michael Buble almost made the list several times. For "Fever" and for "Crazy Little Thing Called Love".

Smunkberg: Ummm... that can go on YOUR list. Besides, the "Pride of LA" is currently living in L.A. Also, she's L-A-M-E.

Jamie - a.k.a. the code-police. I refer you to the post from Tuesday, August 9th, to remind you that I have no knowledge of HTML. I also refer you to my previous comment on this entry. Get thee Firefox. The previous HTML problems were caused by copy and pasting in to Firefox, and only showed up in Explorer. Also, if you wanted credit for one of my favorite songs, you shouldn't have brought it up before the post was written, sucka.

Thanks for your comments! Anybody else?

jamie said...

So, it wasn't my browser, since you've fixed it now, so in the words of Monica Geller... "Hmm. Bite me."

And also:

Keith Whitley/Allison Krauss- When You Say Nothing at All

Bob Dylan/Billy Joel- To Make You Feel My Love

James Taylor/Carole King- You've Got a Friend

Elton John/Elton John- Candle in the Wind

Harry Nilsson/Aimee Mann- One

Harry Nilsson/Sinead O'Connor- I Guess The Lord Must Be in New York City

Bob Dylan/Joan Baez- Blowin' in the Wind

Mark Cohen/Cher- Walking in Memphis

(I reversed original artist/cover artist in my former post.)

And since I'm such a huge fan of vocal jazz standards, I like Diana Krall's version of "Let's Fall in Love," Harry Connick, Jr.'s version of "It Had to Be You," Blossom Dearie's version of "Manhattan," Chet Baker's version of "Someone to Watch Over Me," and Robbie Williams' entire album "Swingin' When You're Winning," but especially "Have You Met Miss Jones."

There's definitely more. Don't even get me started on Christmas songs. Let's re-visit this in December.

The Bagboy said...

Leonard Cohen/Any number of very talented artists, but particularly Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

Radiohead/John Mayer (yes, I know, I hate myself too) - Kid A

The Postal Service/Iron & Wine - Such Great Heights

Cher/Some indie band I can't remember the name of - Believe

I'm sure there's more that I simply can't remember right now. Nice mention on the Bowie/Nirvana The Man Who Sold the World. I tend to think that's a case where the cover surpasses the original, but that could be just me.

Oh, and Krysten? I'm sure you're a lovely person (how bad could you be if you have Teen Girl Squad as your icon?), but you're INSANE if you think Celine Dion could EVER sing that incredible song better than Etta. I'm just saying.

jamie said...

Bill, ITA on the Etta/Celine comment.

And YESSSSSSSS! on the "Such Great Heights" call. I have both versions and I think I like Postal Service's better, which is odd because I like Iron & Wine better in general.

And J.T., I've never heard of this Reflescent Tide, but better than Rich Mullins? Really? I don't buy it.

krysten said...

bagboy: you're probably right...i only just heard the etta version recently and after having such a long time crush on celine, well, i just sided with her. no disrespect to Ms. James. ;-)

That's kinda how i felt about Jason Thomas' thought about garth brooks' cover...i'm sure that the consensus sides with ol' garthy boy...but billy joel is just hotter. haha! i stand behind him all the way to rehab, baby!

confession: after reading everyones entries and not recognizing MOST of them....i realized i must be a pop princess. shame on me, i'm sure i'm missing a lot.

jamie said...

I'll help you follow Billy Joel all the way to rehab, Krysten. ALL THE WAY.

abby said...

tori amos also does a kickass cover of "love song" by the cure. also, there's

joni mitchell/tori amos - a case of you
joni mitchell/sarah mclachlan - blue
the beatles/wilson pickett - hey jude
the beatles/tori amos - happiness is a warm gun
dolly parton/the white stripes - jolene
hank williams/norah jones - cold, cold heart
simon & garfunkel/pennywise - mrs. robinson (one of the most fun versions of this song)

plus the entire 'strange little girls' album of tori's where she covers "new age" by lou reed, "time" by tom waits, and several, several other classics.

abby said...

oh, and LEST WE FORGET, placebo's version of "where is my mind" by the pixies...

abby said...

oh, AND the tori amos cover of "amazing grace." okay, i'll stop, but i could go on like this for DAAYYYS.

Brian Ingram said...

JT...I'm sure you inadvertently overlooked EVERY song by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Country roads, Mandy, I Believe I can Fly,...there's too many good ones to mention. Oh, there's a great Madonna cover...ShowOff (an indie band I love) covered "borderline". Awesome cover...I highly recommend it. I could list probably about 40 of my personal favorite covers, all that you seem to have missed.

J.T. said...

Ingram: Funny... I KNOW about Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, but I've never actually heard their stuff... so I didn't think it'd be fair to put it on the list. Part of the reason for making the list, though, is for people to reccommend stuff like that - so thanks. A cover of Barry Manilow's Mandy? Sounds killer. LOVE that song.

BTW gang... I'm going to edit the list to add some of your suggestions... but only the ones I know. Thanks for your input. Keep it coming.

The Bagboy said...

You posted Hallelujah attributed to Rufus/Jeff, but it's actually a Leonard Cohen song. FYI.

J.T. said...

Well, how the heck am I supposed to know? You suggested it. How come you didn't list Cohen in the first place? Are you trying to sabotage the integrity of THE LIST! Are ya? Huh? Huh?

The Bagboy said...

I'd like to point out that Leonard Cohen is the first artist in my posting of that song. Maybe you should get some new eyes, huh Blindy?

abby said...

i first read that to say "blendy," but after that, i laughed and laughed...

Jon-Paul LeClair said...

Hey there! Thank for putting Reflescent Tide on your list! I'm flattered. Jeff and Brian would be also.

Thanks for remembering us!