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.