04
May
11

The Best Covers and Remakes: OF ALL TIME (And a HOT Reader Giveaway: Win a Memorex Pure Play Portable Speaker)

Here’s time for reader participation:

This morning, I was reading Mashable and came across a mention of Ben Folds, who recently recorded a cover of Ke$ha’s “Sleazy.”

Mashable said it gave us “an intriguing glimpse into what the world would be like if all pop songs were sung by people who could actually sing.”

I agree!

So, I’m doing a fun reader giveaway: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COVER OF ALL TIME?

One of my favorites is the HILARIOUS version of “Baby Got Back” by the (also incredibly awesome) Jonathan Coulton.

Honorable mention too to Petra Haden’s  “Don’t Stop Believin’”?

I’ve also always loved “Caroline, No,” from the The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds“, was covered on the They Might Be Giants album “Indestructible Object.” And NO Christmas is ever complete without Spiraling’s Do You Hear What I Hear?/Baba O’Reily mash-up.

Here’s more on my BEST EVER list:

It’s been said that art lies at the crossroads of the predictable and the unexpected — predictable enough to trigger fond memories, yet unexpected enough to rattle the senses and create a new level of understanding and appreciation.

Thus the art of the cover song.

Sondre Lerche – “Bluish” (Animal Collective)

In Lerche’s hands, “Bluish” is stripped of its embellishments, leaving nothing but a lovely melody.

Punch Brothers – “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” (Radiohead)
Chris Thile’s mandolin pierces through this iTunes exclusive track — it makes my entire body vibrate.

Nada Surf – “Enjoy the Silence” (Depeche Mode)
Seriously, you guys — lets reflect for a second. Dave Gahan never sounded like he appreciated the fact that all he ever wanted and all he ever needed was there in his arms, but Nada Surf embrace the joy of the chorus. How can you NOT love it?

Tom Brislin — “Steppin Out” (Joe Jackson)

No one can deconstruct and give new birth to a classic as Brislin can (see Spiraling love above!) –and he does it here again in his version of the 1982 Joe Jackson hit.

The Bird and the Bee – “Private Eyes” (Hall & Oates)
After getting to see them live twice last year, I think it’s time for some love: The time has come to reassess the merits of pop duo Daryl Hall and John Oates, especially with The Bird and the Bee’s Interpreting the Masters Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates

 Joe Cocker – ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’

I am not old enough to have been at Woodstock but even I know this image: Joe Cocker, was so stoned he can barely stand upright, belting out The Beatles classic “With A Little Help From Friends” like it was an old soul standard. The performance became a key part of 1971’s Woodstock documentary, instantly turning the radical re-imagining of the tune into Cocker’s signature song. In the late Eighties, when the producers of The Wonder Years needed a single song to represent the Sixties, they went with this.

The White Stripes — “Jolene”

Dolly Parton’s 1973 classic song “Jolene” is hardly a feminist anthem. Inspired by a true story, the song is in the voice of desperate woman begging a more attractive woman to not steal her man. Not a single word is reserved for the man in the love triangle. The White Stripes recorded a snarling, feedback-laden cover of it in 2000, and it was a highlight of their live show through their last tour in 2007.

Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young) and Bruce Springsteen – “Whip My Hair” (Willow Smith)
How does Fallon take his wonderful Neil Young impersonations up a notch? By recruiting The Boss on a silly, little pop song.

Cee Lo Green – “No One Gonna Love You” (Band of Horses)
“Who knew Band of Horses penned a show tune with ‘No One’s Gonna Love You?’ writes Paste’s Ryan Reed. “Cee Lo Green did. The original became a slow dance staple for indie-rock proms, but here Green flexes his maximalist muscles, replacing the original’s spaced-out guitars with a surging orchestral sweep, taking liberties with the melodic pacing and phrasing. Green’s is the IMAX version, if you will.

Lets face it: What makes a great cover song (or remake, or new-version, as the case may be) is an issue of contention. I’m mostly looking for artists who have transformed the songs they chose — and they do this by playing to their own strengths while keeping the core elements that made the song great in the first place.

OR, well, they make me laugh. Which I value above all other things.

Whether this is a tribute album or a viral YouTube videos, there are an abundance to choose from.

Send me your  nominations: (Either via comment or TWEET at @alywalansky)

The rules are:

1. The song must be a recognizable cover (in other words, although Bruce Springsteen wrote “Light of Day,” he did it for Joan Jett, so neither of them could really have “covered” the song).

2. It must have come out after January 1, 2000.

3. It can be a live cover or a studio one, whatever you like.

One winner will win a Memorex Pure Play Portable Speaker (Which I shall be reviewing on GLOSS this week) – I’ve been reviewing it at home (and using it to create my LIST) and it’s awesome — it’s a super slim portable speaker system with folding design (great for travel), powers and charges your iPod & iPhone devices, and has stereo speakers with preset equalizer! Winner will be chosen May 15.

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28 Responses to “The Best Covers and Remakes: OF ALL TIME (And a HOT Reader Giveaway: Win a Memorex Pure Play Portable Speaker)”


  1. 1 Annette D
    May 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Twist and Shout, The Beatles. John Lennon’s vocals are awesome!

  2. 2 Ravzie @DiverSheila
    May 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I’ll vote for the Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young cover of “Pants on the Ground”. Hilarious!

  3. 3 Dan D
    May 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Twist and Shout as performed by Otis Day & the knights (Animal house soundtrack)

  4. 4 Timmy
    May 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Jorge & Alexa Narvaez perform a wonderful cover of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros “Home.”

    WATCH:
    gimundo.com/videos/view/adorable-father-and-daughter-cover-of-magnetic-zeros-home/

  5. 5 Sarah
    May 8, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I love Twist and SHout, Otis Day. 🙂

  6. 6 Claudia Davis
    May 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I like Ben Harper and Relentless 7 – “Under Pressure” (by David Bowie and Queen) : I heard the studio recording recently that came from the Montreal International Jazz Festival and it was amazing.

    Honorable mention must go to Mindy Smith for Jolene. I LOVE it. It’s haunting.

  7. 7 Jen M
    May 11, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I love The Fray’s cover of Kanye West’s Heartless. It sounds like a completely different song. They totally made it their own!

  8. 8 Erica C.
    May 12, 2011 at 4:09 am

    On the same note…my nomination is Ben Folds – Bitches Ain’t Shit.

  9. 9 BM
    May 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    The ABBA song “Take a Chance on Me” that was covered by Colin Asquith on the album “Take a Chance on Me.”

  10. May 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I’m partial to Five Finger Death Punch “Bad Company” remake and Seether “Careless Whisper”

  11. 11 Brittney
    May 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I like “you give love a bad name” originally by bon jovi, covered by atreyu
    brittneydejajason (at) gmail(dot)com

  12. 12 ferriz
    May 14, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Darn it with the 2000 rule! I was going to say Come on Eileen : Save Ferris (1997).

    This blows the original out of the water and into another zip code. They do not compare.

    Another honorable mention is Take on Me: Reel Big Fish (probably late 90s)

    Uh, lets see… more recent one.

    The Weight : Rooney

    I about die every time (rarely) they play this cover at one of their shows. It is a pretty accurate cover though, just really well done and the guitar parts are what set it apart.

    ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

  13. 13 ferriz
    May 14, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Darn it with the 2000 rule! I was going to say Come on Eileen : Save Ferris (1997).

    This blows the original out of the water and into another zip code. They do not compare.

    Another honorable mention is Take on Me: Reel Big Fish (probably late 90s)

    Uh, lets see… more recent one.

    The Weight : Rooney

    I about die every time (rarely) they play this cover at one of their shows. It is a pretty accurate cover though, just really well done and the guitar parts are what set it apart.

    :: edit ::

    TOTALLY forgot this one: Forever Young: Rooney it was on the top of my tongue and couldnt remember it. Yay for google and youtube. They give it a beachy california feel with a bit of 60s pop.

    ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. 14 Ed Nemmers
    May 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Michael Buble’s version of “Sway” is my choice!

  15. 15 Erin E
    May 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I nominate Avril Lavigne for her cover of “Tik Tok” By Ke$sha. Thank you for the lovely giveaway.
    sewmuchstuff at ymail dot com

  16. 16 denice p
    May 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    there is a cover of Redemption Song from Bob Marley that is done by Rihanna. Tough question Aly, lol but I was at work and it get’s play a lot so I’ve grown to like it.

  17. 17 Amanda Caruthers
    May 14, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Jason Mraz covering Elton John’s Rocket Man

  18. 18 Jill L
    May 15, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails.

  19. 19 Christal Couturier
    May 15, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I like The Fray’s cover of Kanye West’s Heartless

  20. 20 Diane Baum
    May 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Simon and garfunkel Bridge over Troubled Water
    Carole King’s entire Tapstery album (vinyl)

  21. 21 Kat Emerick
    May 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I would say ,The ABBA song “Take a Chance on Me” that was covered by Colin Asquith on the album “Take a Chance on Me.”

  22. 22 Rosey
    May 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I think Eric Clapton did a great job with Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.”

    • 23 Rosey
      May 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Oh geez…I screwed up and put a song too early.
      Limp Bizkit did a cover of The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes, and I really like it. That came out after 2000.

  23. 24 kelley c
    May 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I nominate Chris Cornell’s version of Billie Jean.

    pandahugger(at)gmail(dot)com

  24. 25 ashley
    May 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    travis does a great live cover of britney spears’ oops i did it again. i’d have never guessed that i’d know the words to a britney song.

  25. 26 meme
    May 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I vote for Johnny Cash’s Nine Inch Nails song Hurt

  26. 27 Alyssa
    May 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    The Joe crocker help from my friends


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