Top Ten... Cover songs
There are so many covers out there; most bands have at least done a couple. And when it comes to major label artists, it has actually become a trend to use a cover to help a band make it big. So, we thought we'd take some from our collections to highlight since most everybody has a couple they love. It doesn't mean these versions are better than their originals, maybe it's the artist covering it that we love, maybe it's the song itself we can't get enough of, regardless, here are ten of the Indie Workshop Crew's Top Ten Covers.
Jason: Slayer - Dissident Aggressor (Judas Priest)
The original song is amazing enough but Slayer really rips this one out. An interesting (and kind of funny in a way) thing about it is that in the original, Rob Halford does these high screams, and in the Slayer version they did the "screams" on the guitar. Nobody can duplicate a Halford scream.
Jason: Motley Crue - Helter Skelter (Beatles)
Sadly enough, I never heard the Beatle's version until many years after hearing this one when I was probably in first grade. Now, I realize it might be kind of cheesy, but I still love it. They play it pretty much the same as the original and you just have to love early Crue.
Avi: Coil - Tainted Love (Soft Cell)
While many people are most familiar with the 80s Soft Cell version, few know it actually wasn't originally by them. The song actually dates back way further. But anyhow, along comes a group like Coil to totally change it - they take what I find to be a rather benign pop song and turn it into something completely sinister. Once stripped and slowed down you can truly feel the anguish behind the lyrics. The despair in the vocal performance is almost too much to take.
Avi: The Cardigans - Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Osbourne)
Not nearly enough people have heard this brilliant b-side of The Cardigans covering a classic Ozzy tune a capella. An already great song made even better. And you probably thought NoMeansNo's cover of "Forward to Death" by the Dead Kennedys was the pinnacle of ingenious a capella covers. I also hear that The Cardigans are covering Black Sabbath's "Changes" on their current tour. We can only hope that they record it.
Steph: Jewel - Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)
Since Wild Horses is one of my favorite songs it seems only natural that I would find a cover of it that I love. While the Sunday's cover is amazing too, the Jewel version was a Napster find during the few months that I was filling CD's with songs I never listen to. Call it the diamond in the rough of my Napster collection, it was recorded live and I imagine it's on a bootleg somewhere or something, beyond that I don't know. Regardless, you can't screw up this song, and with her singing it totally raw with only the piano accompanying her, it's even better.
Steph: Frodus - Explosions (Devo)
Included on Frodus' 1998 release, Conglomerate International, on Tooth and Nail Records (before they were picked up by Fueled by Ramen), this song actually sounds really cool done this heavy. From 1982's, Oh No, It's Devo, the follow-up to 1980's Freedom of Choice (which spawned Whip It), Explosions is actually my favorite track from the Frodus album. It was a little something different for me at the time I heard it and Conglomerate International became one of the heavier albums that I could get into.
Eric: My Bloody Valentine – We Have All the Time in the World (Louis Armstrong, written by John Barry)
Over the past ten years, John Barry has become one of my favorite film composers- James Bond music from the 60s has some of the most interesting chord progressions and melodies, not to mention his works in films such as Midnight Cowboy, Dances with Wolves, etc. ‘On Her Majesty's Secret Service' has also been one of my favorite James Bond movies. Sure, it's the one with the guy between Sean Connery and Roger Moore (actually Sean Connery came back after this guy to do Diamonds Are Forever I think), but the story line is one of my favorites (not room to get into that here, just let me say it portrays Bond as an actual human, getting married and all). And this song is from that movie, originally done by Louis Armstrong. When I happened to find this version online, I played it for a friend who loved My Bloody Valentine, and she thought it was boring. I told her she was crazy.
Eric: The Donnas - Strutter (Kiss)
I know- how trendy can you get? I don't care. This cover came out as a split 7" at the time of the movie Detroit Rock City, and a friend picked one up for me. It was my first exposure to The Donnas, and is probably my favorite thing I've heard them do. Sure, the Kiss sound is close to what The Donnas do anyway, so there's not really that much different they could have done to the song, but there's just something about their cover that rocks and cannot be denied. Shut up, I like it.
Alex: Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
Jeff Buckley's voice was unbelievable and his guitar incredible, and the combination of the two was never showcased more perfectly than in his cover of Leonard Cohen's deeply melancholy and spiritual "Hallelujah". This is everything a cover song should be: a moving, original take on a classic song that's so damn good it itself defines the artist for a decent portion of the populace. Whenever it's required to hold back, be gentle, and let the mood of the song reign, Buckley languidly complies. His voice provides the emotional kick and resonates with passion as the song builds to a very lofty peak. It's one of those few cover songs that's better than the original, and that's even higher praise when you consider the original's done by Leonard Cohen. Just flat-out A-plus.
Alex: The Clash - Pressure Drop (Toots and the Maytals)
Every now and then the Clash has gotta put their politics on hold and make some great shiny punk music. Showing off their dancehall influences, they put out a fast and charged-up version of Toots and the Maytal's laid-back but upbeat "Pressure Drop". Yeah, the lyrics are there for flavor instead of substance, but the tune is gorgeous and the singing's epic. It's been covered by every ska band from Boston to Orange County--even Robert Palmer took a shot at it once--but even the Specials' perma-smile sunny-day take can't beat the Clash's rock track.
- The Workshop Crew | 2003-04-21
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