Music Monday: Covers that Don't Suck

This is a subject I've been thinking about for awhile, but the amazing and divine Tash suggested it during Reader Request time and I was reminded that I'd been intending to do it for ages now.

Covers are everywhere these days, with all the hip indie kids doing covers of silly pop songs, or rappers covering classic country. I'll be narrow-minded here and choose ones that I'm a bit partial to.

Where Did You Sleep Last Night (aka In the Pines / Black Girl): Leadbelly / Nirvana
-I'm not necessarily going to talk about every song I put up here, but I wanted to say something about this song. I first heard the Nirvana version back in the mid 90s when they released their Unplugged album. Though I run very hot and cold with Nirvana, this is one of my favourite songs ever. I'm embarrassed to admit that it's only recently that I discovered that the song was made famous by Lead Belly, not Nirvana. Eek. Interestingly, the song itself dates back to the 1870s, which is funny to me since the lyrics seem perhaps a bit risque for Victorian times. If you're a bit of a history nerd, it's interesting reading. While I'm on this whole nerd trip, I was positively giddy when I stumbled about this archive of 78RPM and cylinder recordings from the 20s/30s. I can see myself spending a lot of time on that site during my Friday night free time. I am too cool for school, me.

Lead Belly:


I Will Survive

Gloria Gaynor:




Ryan Adams:

Real Love

John Lennon:

Regina Spektor:


Rolling Stones:

Cat Power:

The River (apologies if this is sacrilege oh you legion of Springsteen fans)

Bruce Springsteen:

Josh Ritter:

No Surprises


Iron & Wine:

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Neil Young:

Saint Etienne:

Redemption Song

Bob Marley:

Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer:

Across the Universe

The Beatles:

Fiona Apple:

Bizarre Love Triangle

New Order:


Hurt (anyone else wonder why NIN would bother performing this anymore? Also, will there ever be a time that Cash's video won't make me cry?)

Nine Inch Nails:

Johnny Cash:

I could go on and on and on, so clearly this is a subject which will need to be addressed again in the future. Any notable ones that I have missed? If anyone suggests Whitney's "I Will Always Love You", I will come to your house and kick you in the shins. Hard. Very hard.

Playlist as usual. Pop out if you can't see it here.




Tash said...

I'm so lovin' you for this! And Cake just makes me smile! Squee! Gonna go download that.

Alright, you already got mine: is Kanye West's Gold Digger technically a cover or a sample of Ray Charles "I Got a Woman"? Either way, fab. I Got a Woman, Gold Digger

I still like the Lemonheads version of Mrs. Robinson. You know the original, here's the cover.

And since he made your list a few times, I'm going back to the well: Johnny Cash, Personal Jesus, and Depeche Mode, the same.

I could play this game all night. Thanks so much!!

elizasmom said...

Soul Asylum's cover (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6AfOQHsX80) of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVTN5o9Kgu8) is fantastic. I have no use for that band otherwise because they're so. serious. but they sound loose and funny and just right on that song.

Continuing yours and tash's Johnny Cash theme: Mercy Seat — Nick Cave (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6RML0YHOm8) and Johnny Cash's version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGGSTiDOjKU) are both awesome in entirely different ways.

I always loved Dire Straits' Romeo and Juliet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPgbhDEzrxY) and the cover by The Killers just slays me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87cLyBR1JTo) for entirely different reasons — the original's all world-weary and full of regret, and the Killer's version, because of Brandon's much younger-sounding voice, has that desperate young lovers thing going on.

I've written on my blog about one of my favorite singing groups, the Young At Heart Chorus, who are senior citizens who reinterpret pop stuff, and they're brilliant. Their version of Fix You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-3IT4TeSxY

Aunt Becky said...

Hrm. This is an extra-good entry, Pru. I considered--and I am not even remotely joking but I hope this makes you laugh--that if I had another son, his middle name would have been Ledbelly.

Go ahead. I admitted it. Laugh away.

Major Bedhead said...

I always loved G'n'R's version of Live And Let Die. Cowboy Junkies version of Wild Horses. Foo Fighters have a couple of great covers, too - Baker Street is fantastic. They also did a great cover of Down In The Park (by Gary Numan).

I'm afraid to click on that Springsteen thing....

Rachel said...

Major Bedhead, feel free to pummel me with a stalk of celery if I am wrong, but do you perhaps mean The Sundays version of Wild Horses? 'Cause that is a beautiful rendition.

I also very much love the Annie Lenox version of "Train in Vain" and I'm too lazy to look up a link. But it's a full-on call-and-response gospel stomp, and it is glorious.

orodemniades said...

What? You don't adore Mike Flowers Pops version of Wonderwall? Because seriously, it's fantastic. Petrsonally I prefer DEVO's verstion of Satisfaction (and Are Your Experienced?). And I too love G'n'R's version of Live and Let Die...and the Foo's DiTP by Gary Numan.

rachel said...

Also, Better Than Ezra does a pretty passable version of "Laid." Though I believe I am the only person on earth who still likes BTE. Hm.