May 11, 2014

Lounging In The Lizard

I really enjoy listening to cover songs. Not cover bands mind you (which are a dime a dozen) as those kind of bands, in my mind, really show no ingenuity or testicles to move beyond playing the same old same old. I'm talking about cover versions of old songs by new bands and artists no matter what the genre may be.

For instance, I've heard some phenomenal covers of pop/rock standards done in bluegrass (i.e. The Devil Went Down To Georgia) that have simply blown me away. And I've heard others done in genres that I haven't given a second thought to before that have blown me away as well.

But for every good quality cover song that has made the airways, there are those that should have not seen the light of day. Just because a band is ginormously popular (i.e. U2) doesn't mean they need to do a cover song. To me, when a well known band does a cover song that immediately gets airplay, that tells me the band has nothing new on the horizon and they need to keep their name out there.

Here is my short list of bands who did cover versions of songs just so they could either keep their name out there or prop up a mediocre c.d.

1} U2 "Everlasting Love". The definitive version by Carl Carlton is what you need to listen to, not this piece of crappola. This version is way too poppy and it feels forced.

2} Five Finger Death Punch "Bad Co." Sorry my friends, but this version really bites. They take a nice bluesy song and turned it into a metal mush. Here's the original.

3} The Ataris "Boys Of Summer". This a crappy Alt/Rock version that makes Don Henley's sound positively brilliant. Go with The Hooters for the definitive cover.

4} Pearl Jam "The Last Kiss". Their cover of the J. Frank Wilson classic, while not completely terrible, is about the only way they can get any airplay on radio stations that play The River style format, which is M.O.R. that has been scrubbed to make it presentable to the masses. Strangely enough, or not surprisingly, this song is never played on rock radio

Now, the good cover songs.

Now there are cover versions of songs that simply put the original versions to shame. There's at least one song on this list that I can safely say inspires my writing. Also, the genre that has the best covers, in my very humble opinion, is bluegrass.

1} The Hooters "Boys Of Summer". Hands down this version puts every other version, including the original, to shame. This, my friends, is how the song should be played.

2}Bill Corgan "Landslide". I used to like the listening to this version of the Fleetwood Mac song before they really killed it on radio. A very nice acoustic interpretation.

3} The Mike Flowers Pop "Wonderwall". This is the ultimate lounge lizard version, as this is the best of swing version of the Oasis hit that I've ever heard.

4} Stevie Ray Vaughan "Superstition". Hands down far superior that the original by Stevie Wonder.

5} Robert Palmer "Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley/Sailin' Shoes/Hey Julia". Robert Palmer did an excellent job with this trilogy for the album of the same name. Check out the album as it really kicks ass.

Like I said, this is a very short list of cover songs. So my question to you is this: Do you have any examples of cover songs that suck? Cover songs that don't suck?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Great list - I must go back and listen to some of these during the week.

    Have you come across the bluegrass band Beatlegras? I love their version of Back in the USSR.

    Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

  2. Fil: I have not, but I will definitely look into them this week.

  3. Shadows Fall did a great cover of Floyd's Welcome to the Machine and Dream Theater did an outstanding job covering Love Lies Bleeding.
    Worst would be anytime a pop band or a rap band that samples gets a hold of a rock tune...

  4. Alex: Those sound like excellent songs, and yes, I would have to agree with about those who sample. I've heard one on college radio that samples Steve Winwood's "Call On Me", and it's so-so.

  5. My choices will probably surprise you. I find songs in the oddest ways, but most often by using the app Shazam to identify songs.

    That's how I found "Right Round" by Flo Rida. I like it when it comes up on my iPod when I'm walking. And this is reminding me to download the original "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive. It reminds me of my younger days. :)

    I also like "Slow Ass Jolene" - captured by Shazam the only time I watched part of the show The Blacklist. I was able to find it on iTunes and put it on my iPod. (The original being by Dolly Parton, of course.)

  6. To go with what Alex said... Miley Cyrus covering Smells Like Teen Spirit. Ugh. Just awful.

  7. Lynn: Sounds like you found some good songs there. I mostly find unique cover songs while listening to college radio. Sometimes the jock will i.d. the song and sometimes they won't, but it's always fun to find cool new versions. Speaking of which, I heard a cool bluegrass version of "Sweet Home Alabama" last Saturday. Actually made stay in my car after I got to my destination just so I could finish listening to it.

    ABFtS: Miley Cyrus????? Holy cow what was she thinking of when she did that? I don't like Miley Cyrus to begin with but it sounds like Courtney Love is in desperate need of money.

  8. I really like The Hooters' version of "Boys of Summer." I also happen to like U2's version of "Everlasting Love," but I've always loved that song. Great post. I love cover songs, too. Believe it or not I just heard Rod Stewart's version of "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" two nights ago and loved it!

  9. Scarlet: Thanks for stopping by.

    Thanks for the compliment. Rod Stewart has certainly done a fantastic job of reinventing himself as a singer, and I think anyone can do a great version of "Have You Even Seen The Rain" better than John Fogerty.

  10. Oh God, I HATE that Pearl Jam cover!~ It's so saccharine that I want to vomit.

    Good and bad - check out the Thank You album from Duran Duran.

  11. M: I actually got that album, although I need to buy the c.d., and one of the covers on it, "White Lines" had such a kick-ass video to it that it actually made me go out and search the original.

    Believe it or not, I found the original song on a 12" E.P club mix.

  12. I love me some movie soundtracks like CHICAGO, THE BIG CHILL, PULP FICTION, and WONDER BOYS. Yesterday the soundtrack from PULP FICTION got me to and from Tulsa in thunder storms.

  13. G.A.: Most of the movie soundtracks out there are definitely pretty good. One of my faves is the one from the movie "Snatch" (stars Brad Pitt).

  14. Oh no Stevie Ray Vaughan crucified Superstition, it's a terrible cover of a classic track!

    Ha, but then I'm not into that much rock. :D

  15. Joey: Oh, sacrilege! :D

    I'm sure there are cover songs that you like done in the hip-hop/modern R&B/rap genres that I have an "eh." opinion about as well. :D


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