Cover / Tribute songs

Still on my music kick for today’s post.  As part of reloading songs on to my iPod (subject of another post) I have decided to check out some new music.  One of the albums I put on today was the Vitamin String Quartet’s tribute to Led Zeppelin.  If you were at our wedding then you heard the Vitamin String Quartet’s work.  The DJ was piping in their stuff just before the ceremony, and we chose one of their Beatles versions for the bridal party processional.  I am pleasantly surprised how much I like some of the songs on the album.  It got me to thinking:  I am not familiar with many tribute albums, but I AM familiar with cover songs.

Then I started to think about cover songs, and I put them in three categories.

1.  Awful

2.  Take it or leave it

3.  Better than the original.

Your reaction for which category a song goes into is usually instant.  You like it or hate it, or you say “Eh” and move on.  Here are some examples of each category above from my personal vault:

1.  Limp Bizkit – Behind blue eyes (The Who)

2.  Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)

3.  Johnny Cash – Hurt (NIN) [this song gives me the chills]

And just because I’m in a good mood, I’ll post some others I like.

Jimi Hendrix – All along the watchtower (Bob Dylan) [I had to include this one]

Green Day – Working class hero (John Lennon)

Cake – I will survive (Gloria Gaynor)

I purposefully left some songs off of my list in the hopes that Chelsea posts them in the comments.  I know she likes at least three covers more than the originals.

So what are some of your favorite cover songs?  I’m also hoping this would be a little more on the serious side, so anything by Richard Cheese also does not count.  (Side note – if you haven’t checked out Richard Cheese, please let me know.  That guy is funny.)

9 thoughts on “Cover / Tribute songs”

  1. well, since you asked…

    my favorite covers include, in no particular order:
    1. Sublime’s “Scarlet Begonias” (originally by The Grateful Dead)

    2. Agree with the hubby – Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” (originally by Bob Dylan and also covered by Dave Matthews. I love both of these bands too, they just don’t do it as well.)

    3. Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends” (originally by none other than the Beatles!)

    4. Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss” (originally by J. Frank Wilson And The Cavaliers)

    5. The Dixie Chicks’ “Landslide” (originally by Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac)

    6. Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” (originally by Otis Redding, who is one amazing musical dude himself)

    7. Johnny Cash’s “Long Black Veil” (originally by Lefty Frizzell, also covered by Dave Matthews. Again, not as well.)

    8. The Beatles’ “Twist And Shout” ( Made popular by the The Isley Brothers but, actually, originally by The Top Notes)

    9. Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (old folk song, but originally made popular by Leadbelly)

    10. George Thorogood’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer” (originally by John Lee Hooker)

    11. Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” (originally by J.J. Cale)

    I think 11 is good. Plus I can’t think of anymore:)

  2. Well I’d be remiss if I didn’t add something to a music topic, so I’ll put the covers I like at least as well as the originals:

    1)Guns and Roses redo of Clapton’s redo of Marley’s redo of Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Note, I believe this is the most popular cover to date, seriously.

    2)Nanci Griffith’s redo of Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather”

    3) Radiohead’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “wish you were here.”

    4)Social Distortion’s cover of Cash’s “Burning Ring of Fire”

    5)Pearl Jam’s cover of Niel Young’s “Rockin’ in a Free world” (actually my favorite cover of all time)

    6) Pearl Jam’s cover of The Who’s “Teenage Wasteland/Baba OReilly”

    7) Peter Griffin’s (Family Guy) cover of the Trashmen’s “Bird is the Word.”

    Chelsea, did you really know all of those covers’ original artists? JJCale, John Lee Hooker, etc? I’m very impressed – I sure didn’t know ’em.

  3. You of course left off the most obvious tribute song, “Tribute” by Tenacious D. The TV version of that song is more clearly a rip off of “Stair Way to Heaven” than the recorded version.

  4. Actually, the Zep tribute album, “Econmium,” is all trash except for STP’s cover of Dancing Days and Hootie and the Blowfish’s cover of HEy Hey What Can I Do. Hootie of all bands.

  5. Those are all good but you are missing some of the great ones…

    1. Led Zeppelin cover of Joan Baez’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”

    2.Santana cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman”

    3.Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”

    And Finally…

    4.Ike & Tina Turner cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary”

  6. Also add Smashing Pumpkin’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

    And Pete Yorn’s cover of The Boss’s “Dancing in the Dark.” (well, it’s close at least…saying that anyone can beat The Boss at The Boss just doesn’t work)

    And that Samoan Israel Kfwiejrwoejfws’s cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” is close, but far overplayed at weddings etc.

    And the guys that cover Niel Diamond’s
    Girl you’ll be a woman soon” on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

    Great topic. Perhaps the next could be Acoustic versions that were far *worse* than the original?

  7. I’m from an older generation and don’t normally like cover songs. They often make me cringe. Nick has many times played covers that he thought would get me to change my mind, but few ever have. However, looking at these lists, I see that there are actually quite a few that I like. Cocaine by Clapton is one of my favorites by him. I like Joe Cocker too. You forgot to add his cover of the Beatles’ She came in through the bathroom window. I will surprise Nick I bet by agreeing that I also like Social Distortion’s Burning Ring of Fire. I haven’t heard Radiohead’s cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish you were here, but I have a hard time believing anyone can do better than Pink Floyd! Did I read Phil’s response wrong? Did he say Santana covered Fleetwood Mac? I was in high school when I was listening to Santana’s Black Magic Woman–way before Fleetwood Mac appeared on the scene. I apologize if I read that backward, Phil!Thanks for the good reading, it’s nice to know good music never goes out of style.

  8. Yes, Santana did cover that song. Fleetwood Mac released that song in 1968 in the UK, and Santana remade it in 1970.

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