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Covers: The Good, The Bad, The Meh

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P!nk has always said that the 4 Non Blondes album Bigger, Better, Faster, More! was one of, if not THE most influential album of her life growing up, and when she began her solo career from a position of greater creative freedom, she wanted nothing more than to work with the band's lead singer, Linda Perry. Here are two versions of her covering their most famous song, "What's Up?", the second time right next to Linda Perry!

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A cover of Dwight Yoakam's "Fast As You" by country trio Runaway June. AWESOME.

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The a cappella group Home Free does a cover of Boyz II Men

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Upon learning that Dick Dale's Miserlou was a cover, I looked up the original. It's not bad, but I prefer the Dale version. Okay, there may be an older version than that, but I don't know about it.

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From 1994: Suzy Bogguss and Kathy Mattea cover "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills & Nash:

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From the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis this past weekend, Miley Cyrus duets with Marc Cohn on his classic 1991 hit, "Walking in Memphis." Both were surprise performers. Awesome. ❤️ 

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I have to say, Faith Hill's version of "Piece of my Heart" has REALLY grown on me. It sounds VERY different from Janis Joplin's version (and as I've seen in the UO thread here before, for some that's a blessing, LMAO), but somehow it still works, IMO.

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2 hours ago, UYI said:

I have to say, Faith Hill's version of "Piece of my Heart" has REALLY grown on me. It sounds VERY different from Janis Joplin's version (and as I've seen in the UO thread here before, for some that's a blessing, LMAO), but somehow it still works, IMO.

That's another one for the discussion (which I don't see scrolling up, so it must be in another thread, even though this is the one about covers) about songs a later artist made so famous people forget about the original singer:  Big Brother & the Holding Company were not the first to record that song; Erma Franklin (Aretha's sister) did a year before.

I like a lot of Faith Hill songs, but I hate that cover; I find her voice all wrong for the song.  I'm kind of twitching just from being reminded of it.

(And it's not a no one post-Janis should even attempt to sing that song stance, even though I can't stand Bryan Ferry's cover, either; I like Melissa Etheridge's and Joss Stone's versions [come to think of it, I believe they also performed it together] and can handle Dusty Springfield's.)

Here's the original:

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6 minutes ago, Bastet said:

That's another one for the discussion (which I don't see scrolling up, so it must be in another thread, even though this is the one about covers) about songs a later artist made so famous people forget about the original singer:  Big Brother & the Holding Company were not the first to record that song; Erma Franklin (Aretha's sister) did a year before.

I like a lot of Faith Hill songs, but I hate that cover; I find her voice all wrong for the song.  I'm kind of twitching just from being reminded of it.

(And it's not a no one post-Janis should even attempt to sing that song stance, even though I can't stand Bryan Ferry's cover, either; I like Melissa Etheridge's and Joss Stone's versions [come to think of it, I believe they also performed it together] and can handle Dusty Springfield's.)

Here's the original:

They did! It was at the 2005 Grammys, with Melissa rocking her post-chemo bald head:

They also performed it together again in 2017:

Edited by UYI
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On 5/25/2019 at 11:35 AM, Bastet said:

I like a lot of Faith Hill songs, but I hate that cover; I find her voice all wrong for the song.  I'm kind of twitching just from being reminded of it.

I think it feels too fast.

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On 5/25/2019 at 11:35 AM, Bastet said:

(And it's not a no one post-Janis should even attempt to sing that song stance, even though I can't stand Bryan Ferry's cover, either; I like Melissa Etheridge's and Joss Stone's versions [come to think of it, I believe they also performed it together] and can handle Dusty Springfield's.)

Here's the original:

So glad you brought up Bryan Ferry because he’s exactly why I came here!

His versions of standards and the American songbook are so beautiful (just listened to “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”), but his covers are so hit and miss. “Jealous Guy”? Love it. “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”? Took me a while and I still don’t know how I feel, 30 years after I first heard it.

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I've never heard any of Bryan Ferry's covers, but if you want to make some babies, listen to his music. Sexy!

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My favorites include:

The First Cut Is The Deepest - Sheryl Crow (originally Cat Stevens)

Sign Your Name - Sheryl Crow (originally Terence Trent D'Arby)

Hazy Shade of Winter - The Bangles (originally Simon & Garfunkel)

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Taron Egerton covered all of the Elton John songs in Rocketman and I found it rather impressive.  He did a great job. 

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Here's a question for you guys:

In the battle of cheesy number one hits from 1974 (considered by many to be the worst year for pop music in US history), which version of "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" is the best (or, depending on your point of view, the least awful)? The original by Paper Lace, which went to number one in the UK, or the "stolen" version by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods, which went to number one in the US?

This question is inspired by the recent One Hit Wonderland episode by Todd in the Shadows about Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died", which was their one hit in the US after "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" was taken out from under them. It went to number one in America the week of August 17th, 1974. 

Edited by UYI

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I was a very little kid when the admittedly good cover of "You Can't Hurry Love" came out. I had already spent quite a bit of time on car rides with my dad where he always played his favorites, like The Supremes. So I was very freaked out that Diana Ross sounded like a man. Of course, that was Phil Collins. I didn't yet understand the concept of covers. It's a good thing I did before he covered Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors". 😂

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This made me miss Whitney at her peak so much.  What could have been if she never got into drugs. Yeah, her voice wouldn't have sounded this good now even if she was still alive and took care of it, but still....I couldn't help getting a little teary-eyed hearing her at her prime with a modern twist.  I love it just as much as the original.

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On 7/23/2019 at 7:37 AM, UYI said:

Here's a question for you guys:

In the battle of cheesy number one hits from 1974 (considered by many to be the worst year for pop music in US history), which version of "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" is the best (or, depending on your point of view, the least awful)? The original by Paper Lace, which went to number one in the UK, or the "stolen" version by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods, which went to number one in the US?

The original, although if I'd never heard the original, I don't think I'd mind the cover.  I don't have a problem with that song in general, other than it isn't the fiancee the government would have been delivering the news to.  I don't know, maybe Billy's mom sent her the letter.

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A great cover of Trisha Yearwood's "Walkaway Joe" by Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie Underwood.

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I really like Toto's Cover of 'While my Guitar Gently Weeps' by George Harrison. But my favorite one is the one that was done at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Edited by AntiBeeSpray
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Tanya Tucker's cover of "The House That Built Me", made famous by Miranda Lambert on her third album, Revolution. It will be on Tanya's upcoming album, While I'm Livin', out August 23rd.

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Lacy J. Dalton's version of "Tennessee Waltz", one of Tennessee's official state songs (yes, they have more than one). This was included on her self-titled debut album in 1979.

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1 hour ago, UYI said:

Tanya Tucker's cover of "The House That Built Me", made famous by Miranda Lambert on her third album, Revolution. It will be on Tanya's upcoming album, While I'm Livin', out August 23rd.

I love the song, and at first listen I still like Lambert's better, but that may very well just be because I'm so used to it (I listen to it a lot) -- I am really looking forward to having a new album from Tucker, and this will undoubtedly grow on me.  I don't think it's the best showcase of her incredible voice, but it's still That Voice, and I kind of like how spare her version is.

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On 8/2/2019 at 9:45 PM, AntiBeeSpray said:

I really like Toto's Cover of 'While my Guitar Gently Weeps' by George Harrison. But my favorite one is the one that was done at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I loved this at the time, but I forgot it existed!  Thanks for the reminder!

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Speaking of Kate Bush songs, Placebo (who had a hit in the '90s with "Pure Morning") did a cover of "Running Up That Hill". It was eventually used in the TV series "Bones" in an episode. I actually prefer this remake, but different tastes and all that.

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2 really bad covers

"Spicy" Herve Pagez & Diplo feat. Charli - cover of The Spice Girls "Wannabe"

Little Mix - "Bounce Back" - cover of "Back to Life" by Soul II Soul.

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I still (I said this when it was first posted, but I don't know which thread that was) don't think this song is the best showcase of that incredible voice - although I think her voice is typically terrific on the chorus, and certainly never bad; it's just not quite the perfect fit I want it to be - and like Miranda Lambert's version better (this one is just a smidge too slow and spare for me), but this is my first time seeing the video and that I unequivocally love -- I am always a sucker for real-life photos spanning decades.  Similarly, I like the slight alterations to the lyrics in having this be sung by/about someone who's lived long enough her kids have left home, just like she did. 

I like how she's showcasing animal rescue/care organizations at the end of each of her videos.

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Currently obsessing over this Speechless cover (from Aladdin, originally sung by Naomi Scott) by Siyeon (member of K-pop rock group Dreamcatcher). She sings this effortlessly and every time I watch this video, I get goosebumps. She's someone you would qualify as a natural-born singer.

And if anyone is curious about Dreamcatcher, I recommend this.

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So I’ve read most of this thread and I can’t believe no one mentioned Springsteen’s Blinded by the Light. I love Bruce but his version is awful imo. Maybe it’s because Manfred Mann’s version was sooo popular but I can not listen to Bruce sing it. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.

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On 10/19/2019 at 9:56 PM, natalie wood said:

So I’ve read most of this thread and I can’t believe no one mentioned Springsteen’s Blinded by the Light. I love Bruce but his version is awful imo. Maybe it’s because Manfred Mann’s version was sooo popular but I can not listen to Bruce sing it. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.

Except...Bruce's was the original. Not the cover. So Mannfred Mann had a successful cover.

On that same track, it's also what happened to his song "Because The Night". Patti Smith changed a few of the lyrics from the original version that Springsteen had written, it became a big hit for her around 1979, and it is her version that 10,000 Maniacs ended up covering in the '90s (and also having a hit with, again!).

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18 hours ago, WendyCR72 said:

Except...Bruce's was the original. Not the cover. So Mannfred Mann had a successful cover.

I guess I did not make myself clear. I think the cover is better than the original. That’s why I said I don’t like Bruce’s version. I also love Natalie Merchant singing Because the Night but I like Bruce’s, too. The two are very different musically especially Natalie’s Unplugged version. 

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On 10/19/2019 at 6:56 PM, natalie wood said:

So I’ve read most of this thread and I can’t believe no one mentioned Springsteen’s Blinded by the Light. I love Bruce but his version is awful imo. Maybe it’s because Manfred Mann’s version was sooo popular but I can not listen to Bruce sing it. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.

It's completely understandable why Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover was the hit while Bruce's wasn't and it wasn't simply the six years in between. 'The Number Ones' actually covered this a couple of weeks ago. I mean, when Bruce came out with his first album he was being hailed as 'the next Dylan' and he certainly was verbose as hell. And Bruce knocked 'Blinded by the Light' out pretty quickly because he was told there wasn't a single on his album (man, that story is fucking universal... some exec goes 'I don't hear a single' artist in question goes 'fuck... fine' and comes up with something on the fly... sometimes it works -- like 'Starman' or 'Dancing in the Dark' and sometimes it doesn't) so, yeah, there's this haphazard feel to it.

The article in question comments that Bruce's version feels more like that mishmosh of teenage everything while MMEB's is far more polished. Again, there's no question why the cover got the hit but I really do like Bruce's. It feels like you're listening to him feel out his own storytelling ability. Also, there's a video of him from VH1 Storytellers where he breaks down what the words mean line by line... pretty cool.

Although it's a fucking shame that Bruce never had a #1 on his own. Not that it detracts from him at all... just... a shame.

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5 minutes ago, Dandesun said:

Although it's a fucking shame that Bruce never had a #1 on his own.

I would have sworn that "Born in the USA" (the song, not total album) got to #1. No? That, or "I'm On Fire". Both songs were everywhere in '84 as was "Glory Days".

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1 minute ago, WendyCR72 said:

I would have sworn that "Born in the USA" (the song, not total album) got to #1. No? That, or "I'm On Fire". Both songs were everywhere in '84 as was "Glory Days".

Bruce had SEVEN Top Ten Hits from 'Born in the USA' which is something only three other albums have managed and is amazing. But none of them got to #1 on the Hot 100.

Dancing in the Dark made it to #2... beat out by 'When Doves Cry' and 'The Reflex'

I'm sure Bruce has hit #1 on other charts but the Hot 100 is The One so. Oh, well... he sort of made with 'We Are the World' with USA for Africa but that doesn't count.

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On 10/21/2019 at 2:35 PM, Dandesun said:

Again, there's no question why the cover got the hit but I really do like Bruce's.

Yeah, I posted on the UO thread that while the remake was my favorite of the two, there is something oddly appealing to me about the original.

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So I'm listening to the SiriusXM Covers channel (yes, there is such a station: All covers of popular songs!) when this one comes on. I read it was in the '90s movie, "With Honors", but as I have never seen that movie, this was the first time I had heard this particular cover.

It's Duran Duran covering Led Zeppelin's "Thank You". I love the original, but this wasn't too bad, all things considered.

I'll crawl back under my musical rock now!  😛

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50 minutes ago, WendyCR72 said:

I read it was in the '90s movie, "With Honors", but as I have never seen that movie, this was the first time I had heard this particular cover.

I vaguely remember falling asleep to that movie with friends (in someone's living room after a night of drinking and other films, not in the theatre, so no judgment on its cinematic merits) and just realized I never got back around to watching it.  I suspect it might be quite of its time.

Anyway, I haven't listened to it in eons, but I have the soundtrack on CD, and it has several covers.  It's probably most known for the theme song - Madonna's "I'll Remember" - but a close second to that must be the Pretenders' cover of "Forever Young," and there's also a Butch Vig remix of The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary," a Belly cover of "It's Not Unusual," Lyle Lovett doing "Blue Skies," and the aforementioned Duran Duran cover of "Thank You".

(It also has Grant Lee Buffalo's "Fuzzy," one of my favorite songs, and Kristin Hersh's "Your Ghost" [with Michael Stipe], which is why I snagged it back in the day, when I worked in the music industry.)

Edited by Bastet
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11 hours ago, WendyCR72 said:

So I'm listening to the SiriusXM Covers channel (yes, there is such a station: All covers of popular songs!) when this one comes on. I read it was in the '90s movie, "With Honors", but as I have never seen that movie, this was the first time I had heard this particular cover.

It's Duran Duran covering Led Zeppelin's "Thank You". I love the original, but this wasn't too bad, all things considered.

I'll crawl back under my musical rock now!  😛

This is a really good album. Also, Duran Duran does White Lines (Don't Do It) live as they tour and it is fucking tight.

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On 10/21/2019 at 2:13 PM, natalie wood said:

I guess I did not make myself clear. I think the cover is better than the original. That’s why I said I don’t like Bruce’s version. I also love Natalie Merchant singing Because the Night but I like Bruce’s, too. The two are very different musically especially Natalie’s Unplugged version. 

You know what Bruce Springsteen cover I prefer?  The Band's version of "Atlantic City."

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