With shows like Glee, American Idol and musicals composed of pre-recorded music (aka Mama Mia), people seem to be going nuts lately for re-invented songs. I'm shamelessly one of those people. I don't watch Glee because I felt like it lost its heart seasons ago and just started redoing pop songs, but I was a fan of their earlier renditions. And I noticed at Bonnaroo that nearly every set I saw had a cover of some sort. It was a great way for newcomers to show their chops and pay respect to their roots. It was a great way to get the crowd riled up too. The people on stage and in the crowd get to be fans together to a song we all love.
But I've always loved covers.
I love hearing a song stripped down to it's bones and rebuilt with a different artists vision. When done right, I don't think it's an offense to the original, but an homage.
So here are some of my favorite covers:
These are always exciting. Hearing a heavy song slowed down by crooner or a classic rock anthem redone by an indie vocalist.
Originally by Coldplay
Covered by Willie Nelson
I saw this brilliant Chipotle commercial on someone's blog. I love everything about it, but it was Willie's cover of The Scientist that really stuck with me.
Across the Universe
Originally by The Beatles
Covered by Fiona Apple
With chops like hers and a song like this, what's not to love?
I think these covers show how brilliant these three songs are. Don't fight me on this one: these are three of the best songs ever written.
This song, sung by anyone, is brilliant. Sung by Elisa and my heart splits in two.
Wild Horses - originally by The Rolling Stones - covered by The Sundays, Elisa (again my favorite) and many more.
This may sound incredibly morbid, but I have always thought this song should be played at my funeral, and for the record, I would prefer the version sung by Elisa. Write it down.
Creep - Originally by Radiohead - Popular done live - My favorite is Brandi Carlile and this little gem: we call it an eargasm.
For the record, the most covered songs are Yesterday, Imagine and Eleanor Rigby. Who knew.
I hate to say it, but there are just some covers out there that I prefer over the original.
To Make You Feel My Love - originally by Garth Brooks - covered by Adele
Maybe it's just that good of a song, or she's just that talented, but I prefer to put on Adele over Garth any day. Her version drives me to tears every time. His is just good.
Hallelujah (different one) - originally by Paramore - covered by Vitamin String Quartet
What? You haven't heard of Vitamin String Quartet, yet? Well, they are this brilliant string quartet (duh) that redoes popular songs and throws out albums of them. They are brilliant. This song though is pretty incredible because it takes a mediocre song (sorry Paramore!) and makes it epic.
Knockin on Heavens Door - written by Bob Dylan - covered by Guns N' Roses
Look, no disrespect. I think Bob Dylan is a legend too. But seriously, there wasn't a day in the 90's that this hit wasn't blaring through someone's Walkman. I'm sure there are a few of you out there reading who didn't even know anyone other than Axl sang it.
Just some of my favorites that need to be mentioned.
I bet you're surprised that I love this cover because I'm so devoted to Bon Iver, but I really, really love this cover. Not more than the original, of course, but I think everything Birdy does is fantastic. She has a whole album where she covers The Postal Service, The National, Fleet Foxes and I give her props because they are all exquisite. Her voice is bold and smooth. Watch out for this one.
The Suburbs - originally by Arcade Fire - covered by Mr. Little Jeans
Okay I admit, I have not heard anything else by this group, but they did right by Arcade Fire with this single. This is a great song, but it reaches it's full potential, I think, when slowed down and given a chillier sound, as Mr. Little Jeans did.
The Boxer - originally by Simon & Garfunkel - covered by Jerry Douglas with Mumford & Sons and Paul Simon
I saved the best for last. I may have shrieked out loud in the car when I first heard this cover. The Boxer has always been my favorite S&G song. Throw some Mums on it and I'm in heaven.
I love the top comment on this song on YouTube: "Just close your eyes. Breathe it all in. What a beautiful world we live in, guys."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
What are your favorite covers? Are there any good ones I missed?