Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Covers, part 1

Hey, if we can't listen to music, at least we can talk about it.

Cover songs are so interesting. Some give you a new angle on an old hit; others butcher a classic.

I'm not including songs from albums of covers. Talk about excess!! A cover is a treat when thrown in with some new stuff. But once you put cover albums out, come on. Just a cheap way to make money. Just ask Rod Stewart.

I was gonna do a top ten list, but I had more than ten good covers in mind. Plus, I didn't really have an order for them. So I'll just give you a list of covers I like and those I think leave the original artist rolling in their grave.

Hey Girl, Billy Joel - underrated. And haunting. On Carole King's recent live album, she tries singing the high part. Her voice isn't what it used to be; it sounds awful.

Superstition, Los Lonely Boys - Stevie Wonder done Texican style, complete with guitar jamming. Very cool.

Girlfriend, Michael Jackson - Before McCartney and Jackson collaborated on Thriller, Jacko did a cover of a McCartney solo song on Off The Wall. He does one heck of a job. The original, like many McCartney solo songs, just plain sounds weird.

Little Wing, Derek and the Dominoes -Clapton and Co. do Hendrix. And vocally, I like Clapton better than Hendrix. He sings with more feeling, especially on this song. Since "Tears In Heaven," Clapton sounds like he's singing from a hot tub. No emotion.

Gimme Some Truth, Pearl Jam - It's on one of their live albums, and they give a grunge-rock interpretation to this John Lennon classic. As a bonus, they update the Nixon line to a George Bush reference.

Without You, Mariah Carey- MUCH better than the original. Her voice is powerful. I don't know why everyone was crazy about Celine Dion in the 90s. Mariah kicks any day.

Endless Love, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey - great duet here. My buddy Jack thinks the original is better. I DO disagree.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Nicki French - Her voice is much more tolerable than Bonnie Tyler's (whose isn't?), and I like the fact that she added a dance beat. French has now joined Des'ree, Dionne Farris and Jennifer Paige as 90's one-hit wonders.

Please Mr. Postman, The Beatles - Come on, it's a zeiss song, Thankfully, once they got to Rubber Soul, the Beatles stopped being zeiss and put out some decent music.

If Not For You, George Harrison - George does Dylan, and does it much, much better than Dylan. He sings beautifully on this one.

Stormy Monday, The Allmans - One of their many blues covers, on arguably the best live album ever, "Live at The Fillmore East."

Train Kept A-Rollin', Aerosmith - good stuff!! One of their best live cuts.

Knockin' On Heaven's Door, GNR - another Dylan cover, redone as only Axl and Slash could do.

THE BAD: next post.


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