« dinner is served | Main | the bush lied(tm) juggernaut claims a victim? »

great cover songs that weren't

All Music Guide (AMG) is one of those indespensible sites. I check it often for details on bands, artists, songs, etc., in order to maintain the accuracy of my blog posts regarding music.

Accuracy seems to have gotten by AMG on their track listing for Jukebox Hits of the 80's. Obviously, it's some kind of data entry error, rather than a error of truth but, nonetheless, it inadvertently makes for a track listing of the best cover songs album ever (They will probably get around to fixing it eventually, which is why I took screen shots [1 2]).

Imagine Earth, Wind and Fire performing The Romantics' What I Like About You(#1). Can't you just hear that song with some funk/jazz thrown into that hand-clapping break in the middle?

Quiet Riot performing Toni Basil's Mickey(#9), oh what a delightful mess that would be. The cheerleader cries of Hey Mickey! would mean something entirely different.

Oh, what I would give to hear Aretha Franklin crooning J. Geils' Centerfold(#19), or Glenn Frey turning Funkytown (#61)into a watered down synth pop study in blandness.

I bet Culture Club could pull off Only The Lonely quite nicely, and Toni Basil wouldn't have to change Safety Dance at all.

If only these songs were real. As you know, I am obsessed with cover songs and nothing makes a cover better than a band remaking a tune that is completely out of character for their genre of music, and then making it their own.

There's no point in covering a song if you are going to make an exact replica of it. I love to see what bands/artists can do with other people's music. It's all about interpretation; no one is going to hear the words in their head the way the artist heard when he first came up with the lyrics.

The best cover songs - the imaginary version of Quiet Riot's Mickey notwithstanding - are the ones where the tune is almost unrecongnizable, where the newer artist has taken the song and interpreted it their own way, rather than just making a carbon copy of the original artist's tune.

Vanilla Fudge doing You Keep Me Hanging On comes to mind and I imagine that Vanessa Williams singing Bang a Gong(#21) would have quite a similar effect.

I still have dreams of starting a band that does death metal versions of Broadway show tunes.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference great cover songs that weren't:

» Making up the covers from Inoperable Terran
The All Music Guide website (which users of e.g. Musicmatch Jukebox are familiar with) has a list of the top hits of the 80s. Except they mismatched the artists and songs. Michele points out the best and worst of the... [Read More]

» Chains of cover songs from Around Here Somewhere
The Covers project is a database of "covers": songs performed by an artist other than the original performer. I just love these sort of songs, especially when the covering artist takes a song totally outside their own genre and makes... [Read More]


I assume you've seen The Covers Project?

Glenn Frey can't turn Funkytown into anything more bland than it is. It's the politics of contraband!

Worst combination of bad song and bad artist on the screwed-up jukebox: "Ghostbusters" performed by Toto. This hypothetical song is undoubtedly playing in hell on infinite repeat for Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

Don't worry, I don't really believe in hell.

I subscribe to XM satellite radio. On its 'weird music' channel, from 4pm to 6 pm (ET) Mondays to Fridays, they play "Cove Songs That Give You a Burning in the Esophagus". They include old chestnuts like William Shatner singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and newer ones like Pat Boone's cover of Smoke on the Water.

If you look at the Graphic of the CD cover on the upper left side of the page, it says "The original hits by the original artists". The songs being credited to the wrong artist is most likely a database matching error.

Yes, Uzi. That's why the post says "Obviously, it's some kind of data entry error, rather than a error of truth"

I love that they are listed as "Geils, J. Band" and "Miller, Steve Band" - too amusing! But Rick James performing "Here Comes the Rain Again"? shiver

I have always wanted to hear Siouxsie and the Banshees do "The End" by the Doors.

And Lee Ving and FEAR from Chicago doing "Good Love" by Spanky and Our Gang.

I'm listening to Radio@netscape at work today - the all rock channel, and they just played a The Vines cover of Sorry Miss Jackson that I didn't recognize until the chorus started - kinda cool.

Hayseed Dixie.

Best cover band, ever. You don't know whether to laugh, cry, or sing along.

Good thing I wasn't drinking my tea when I got to the last line (death-metal Broadway tunes) or I would have spit it on the keyboard.

Also, a local radio station (WXRT in Chicago) has a feature they do periodically (like once a year) called "not by the original artists," which provides some interesting bits. Of course, they also play Shatner, and Mr. French (whose real name is escaping me at the moment) and Dan Rather singing "The end of the world as we know it" on Letterman or something, as well as the other stuff. Still . . . it sounds like a great barroom conversation, though--pairing up artists and songs. could do the same with movies (I always thought that the heinously bad "Bridges of madison County" could have been even worse if, say, Melanie Griffith and Tom Cruise played the leads.)

Mr. French (whose real name is escaping me at the moment)

Sebastian Cabot.

The best cover ever, using Michele's criteria, is Devo's "Satisfaction".

One of the most amusing cover albums is Helloween's Juke Box. It could have been horrid but isn't.

They cover tracks from Abba to Jethro Tull. For those who don't know they are a power-metal band.

I always like to see rock bands cover stuff that is not cliche (for rockers to cover).

Of course, the best cover ever is Norah Jones ending her gig in London with AC/Dc's Ride On. Absolutely stunning.

That Helloween disc absolutely rocks.

The Kiss tribute disc with Garth Brroks & Lenny Kravitz doing covers of Kiss songs is amusing, too... I can't think of the name of it off the top of my head.

like you, Michele, I'm obsessed with cover tunes.

Rollins Band doing Ghostrider is great (IF you can get the 10+ minute version from the End Of Silence sessions) as is the cover of Earache My Eye... Henry also did a cover of AC/DC's Let There Be Rock with the Hardons, which other than the posuerish end of Hank screaming "Rock This.. ooooooh Rock This..." etc is exceptional.

The entire disc (is it really covers??) of Black Flag covers on Rise Above: 24 songs to benefit the West Memphis 3 is awesome.

Megadeth's Anarchy in the UK
Metallica's Am I Evil? (among others from Metallica)
Anthrax's cover of DRI's "I'd Rather Be Sleeping"

oh, I could go on and on and on......

It's not the GOOD covers that really catch your ear anyways... it's the really bad ones!

Is it just me, or would Nena's version of We Built This City be an improvement?

The Cardigans do some very ncie versions of Sabbath tunes (especially Sabbath Bloody Sabbath), and there's a Supersuckers (as "Junkyard Dogs") version of Breaking the Law that's just stellar.

What, no one really wanted to hear Kenny Loggins sing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"?

Also, thinking of Boston singing "Never Surrender" gives me the uncontrollable giggles.

Now a really weird cover would've been Tom Jones singing "Burning Down the House". Oh, wait. That one's real.

Cake's version of "I Will Survive" actually makes the song listenable.

The Residents' version of "Helter-Skelter", and who could forget Sam Kinnison's sprechstimme covers of "WIld Thing" and "Highway to Hell"?

Actually, I've had Disturbed playing a (sadly imaginary) version of Too Much Heaven On Their Minds from Jesus Christ Superstar in my head for weeks now (except whenever it gets to the 7/8 bridge, it turns into a cross between Metallica, System of a Down and Eddie Van Halen's trademark elephant fart/guitar licks...)

How 'bout some great cover songs that are?

Sabbatum: Black Sabbath covers, in Latin with 14th-Century instrumentation! The band is Rondellus, an Estonian medieval music group.

That's the CD-sale site; they used to have their own website at www.sabbatum.com, but it's dead; check out the archive via the Wayback Machine, though.

Huh. Now that I've posted that, their website (http://www.sabbatum.com/) is back up.

With MP3s, heh.

The Residents? Does anyone remember their version of Istanbul, not Constantinople? We've all heard TMBG's version, but the Residents—scary.

I'm a Roches fan; I remember seeing them at The Bottom Line in NYC, and listening them sing about one of their boyfriends, "Don". "Pretty as a midsummer morn, they call him 'Don'." Sounds much better than the Frankie Valli song. And, k.d. lang's cover of "Damned Old Dog"—peculiar.