One of the hallmarks of a great band or artist is the quality of their cover songs. Not only who they cover, but what they bring to the original. Below are 10 of my favorite covers, in no particular order. (Hi Paula. You might recognize this topic. As usually I stole somebody else’s idea but expanded it to unnecessary lengths.)

Nobody Does it Better – Radiohead

Thom Yorke once called this the “sexiest song every written.” Cracking version by a band known for some excellent covers (see some more below.)

Redemption Song – Joe Strummer

Love the raw emotion of this take, as well as the video. RIP Joe.

Buckets of Rain – Neko Case

The audio on this isn’t the best, but gives you an idea of what happens when a vocalist as wonderful as Neko sings Bob Dylan’s words.

Satisfaction – Otis Redding

Quite frankly, this crushes the Stones original like a grape, and I think Mick and Keith would be the first to admit that.

Heard It Through the Grapevine – Gladys Knight and the Pips

Speaking of grapes, this is by far the best of three fairly well known versions. Awesome lip syncing moves on display during Soul Train.

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Camper Van Beethoven

The Status Quo is original is pretty fantastic in its own right, but the Camper version tones down the psychedelia a notch and cranks up the guitar.

Strange – R.E.M.

R.E.M.’s tribute from the Document album to seminal art punk band Wire justifies Peter Buck’s claim that his band was the “acceptable edge of unacceptable stuff.”

The National Anthem – Marvin Gaye

How good was Marvin Gaye? He could make people dance to the National Anthem (and put it on their ipod 30 years later).

Mansion on the Hill – The National

Haunting version of this Bruce Springsteen classic from Nebraska…

Love Hurts – Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris

….also done really well by Emmylou Harris, but my favorite of her many cover efforts remains this duet with Gram Parsons.
Bonus Radiohead Manchester themed covers taken from their 2007 Webcast:

Ceremony – Radiohead

The Headmaster Ritual – Radiohead

What’s your favorite cover?



Posted on March 18, 2011, in Music, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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