Friday, 17 June 2005

Lists

Related entirely to my earlier thoughts about music and probably a blokey thing.

What is the best cover version of a song ever released? I have two clear runners (and neither is Rolf's mangling of Rob Plant and Jimmy Page's magnum opus!) but it would be interesting to hear what everyone else would like to suggest. So give it a go - what track is better or as good as that released by the original artist?

19 careful considerations:

Rob Spence said...

It's a no-brainer, innit? Got to be Hylda Baker and Arthur Mullard's "You're the one that I want"...

pal said...

It's got to be Hendrix's Stars and Stripes thingy hasn't it?

Nogbad said...

Well the first one I always think of is by Hendrix but not that track - and I have to admit that Baker & Mullard had slipped my mind (thanfully) :-)

pal said...

Hmmm I'll have to put my thinking cap on - its still a bit early, I'll go and get a coffee :-)

Rob Spence said...

Seriously though, folks, it's such a vast field - where do you start?
You could just think about Dylan covers - were you thinking about All Along the Watchtower, Nigel?
What about "Wheel's on Fire" by Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll? or "Simple Twist of Fate" by Joan Baez? or "I Shall be released" by The Band? or "Mighty Quinn" by Manfred Mann? - but not, I fancy, "Blowin' in the Wind" by Peter, Paul and Mary...:-)

pal said...

All wonderful classics rob. So evocative :-)

Nogbad said...

Hi Rob - The Hendrix version of "Watchtower" is the Gold Standard of covers for me. He took it and changed it and added to it and made a "new" song but I think Dylan covers should probably have a section of their own shouldn't they? He has produced so many good songs and when he does them they always sound different so it's no surprise that others cover them :-) The Tom Robinson Band do a decent cover of "I shall be released" on one of their early albums too and we were listening (briefly!) to "Before the Flood" yesterday.

Rob Spence said...

Blimey - Before the Flood - that WAS before the flood wasn't it?
Leaving Mr Zimmerman aside then, (and I forgot Fairport Convention's Si Tu Dois Partir) what are the best covers? You need to go to http://coversproject.com/artist
to check out the range. How about
Bruce Springsteen - War (Edwin Starr)
Peter Sellers- A Hard Day's Night - (Beatles)
Rod Stewart - Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin)
PP Arnold - First Cut is the Deepest (Cat Stevens)
Georgie Fame - Yeh Yeh (Lambert Hendricks and Ross)
and one that's definitely not a greatest cover-
Vanilla Fudge - You Keep me hangin' on (Supremes)
Of course one of my heroes, Richard Thompson, has a whole show based on covers, "A Thousand Years of Popullar Music" - see http://www.richardthompson-music.com/catch_of_the_day.asp?id=117
for details. There's a great version of Squeeze's "Tempted" on this.

pal said...

Grief, I'd totally forgotten Peter Sellers- A Hard Day's Night - (Beatles)

That has to come a close second to Hendrix - either his Stars and Stripes thingy or All Along the Watchtower :-)

Rob Spence said...

Quirky covers are the best aren't they? What's the point of trying to sound exactly like the original?
It's just occurred to me that with Dylan you could have a list of Dylan covers by Dylan - all the various versions recorded over the years...

Nogbad said...

I agree about Dylan and his covers Rob - never the same song twice! :-)

I love the coversproject link - thanks! I feel this one might be sucking up a lot of my time :-)

Rob Spence said...

Yes, you've started something here. I keep thinking of covers that I love or hate. The latest one in my head is "Closing Time" - Fairport's cover of the Leonard Cohen song.

Nogbad said...

Strangely enough one of my all time favourites isn't on the coversproject site! "Handbags and the gladrags", written by Mike D'Abo, certainly done by Rod Stewart and the Sterophonics (and that's the version used in "The Office" but I have a feeling is was done first by Chris Farlowe. I could devote some time to this or finishing off my marking - decisions, decisions :-)

In terms of covers - I'm prepared to forgive Frankie for covering "Born to run" and Joe Cocker's version of "Delta Lady" is brilliant but whoever let Linda Ronstadt cover "Tumbling Dice" deserves taking outside and giving a good spanking! And in terms of artists who have been covered - the Stones seem to have a couple of tracks that everyone has done, the site lists +30 covers of "Paint it Black" alone, and Chuck Berry's output has been converted into standards by an amazingly diverse range of performers.

Rob Spence said...

I think you are right about Chris Farlowe - good version, that.
On Stones covers, Melanie's "Ruby Tuesday" was odd, though not as odd as the Wurzels' cover of her "Brand New Key". I can sense one of those six degrees of...type games where you have to link artists by cover versions.

Nogbad said...

And Marianne Faithful's version of "Ruby Tuesday" is haunting but always makes me think of chocolate bars.

I like the idea of a "six degrees" game (like the "Kevin Bacon" game) - and it might be interesting to see how far a list can go without hitting Dylan or The Stones or The Beatles. If anyone doesn't know what we're talking about try "The Oracle of Bacon" at http://www.cs.virginia.edu/oracle/

Latou said...

Lady Madonna - the Richie Haven version of the Beatles song. His cover of Good Day Sunshine is amazing too. In fact, the man is amazing - so there, NG2 :o)

Nogbad said...

And have you heard the Earth, Wind & Fire version of "Got to get you into my life"? Amazin!

Rob Spence said...

Actually, I thought the "original" cover version of "Got to..." by Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers (great name - where are they now?) was pretty good.
What about Jackson Browne's cover of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs'(another great name) "Stay"? - much better than the Hollies hit version from 1963.
God, I'm old!

Doseyrosey said...

Can I throw in Every Little Thing from the first Yes album? Astounding Beatles cover!