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The top cover songs

Based on a discussion with Adam (He's got his own, secret, list that i'm sure he's put more thought into than me), here's my list of the best cover songs.

The rules:

  1. The song has to be good. (!)
  2. The song shouldn't be a straight ("faithful") cover of the original - might as well listen to the original.
  3. However, the song has to still retain the spirit of the original, meaning it can't just be a whole new song with the same lyrics.
  4. It should highlight some aspect about the original song, or make you look at the original in a new way.
  5. It should highlight an aspect of the band that is covering it, showing how the band has developed from their influence and contributed something new to music.
  6. The covering band can't contain any members of the original band. So you can't count, for example, some fantastic Ozzy version of a Black Sabbath song with Randy Rhodes on guitar. For these purposes, a producer is considered a member of the band. So John Cale's cover of the Modern Lover's Pablo Picasso can't be counted.

The top five:

  1. The Slit's cover of Marvin Gaye's Heard It Through The Grapevine
  2. The Cure's cover of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze
  3. Disposable Heroes of Hiphophrosy's cover of the Dead Kennedy's California Uber Alles
  4. Johnny Cash's cover of U2's One
  5. Anti-Nowhere League's cover of the traditional Streets of London

Honorable Mentions:

  1. John Cale's cover of Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel (a little too much in violation of rule #3
  2. Metallica's cover of Holocaust's The Small Hours (nearly breaks rule #2)
  3. Jimi Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower
  4. White Zombie's cover of Black Sabbath's Children of the Grave

I purposely excluded covers of blues songs. Adding all the reinterpretations of blues songs by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and others was just too monstrous of a task. What this means is that i had to exclude the holy trinity of Big Joe William's Baby Please Don't Go covers by Them, AC/DC, and Budgie. This made me very sad.

Similarly, i excluded covers of classical music, so i didn't consider Emerson Lake and Palmer interpretations of things like The Barbarian and Pictures at an Exhibition.

Lastly, i didn't include covers of the Velvet Underground's All Tomorrow's Parties, since that's its own list.

By fnord12 | February 23, 2006, 5:11 PM | Music | Comments (7)| Link

I don't know what it means but i like it.

From The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany:

You remember the legend of the Beatles? You remember the Beatle Ringo left his love Maureen even though she treated him tender. He was the one Beatle who did not sing, so the earliest forms of the legend go. After a hard day's night he and the rest of the Beatles were torn apart by screaming girls, and he and the other Beatles returned, finally at one, with the great rock and the great roll... Well, that myth is a version of a much older story that is not so well known. There are no 45's or 33's from the time of this older story. There are only a few written versions, and reading is rapidly losing its interest for the young. In the older story Ringo was called Orpheus. He too was torn apart by screaming girls. But the details are different. He lost his love - in this version Eurydice - and she went straight to the great rock and the great roll, where Orpheus had to go to get her back. He went singing, for in this version Orpheus was the greatest singer, instead of the silent one. In myths things always turn into their opposites as one version supersedes the next.

By fnord12 | February 21, 2006, 2:12 PM | Boooooks & Music | Comments (1)| Link

Anti-War Songs

This website has a list of anti-war songs, mostly pre-2001, and then makes this comment:

Less than five years after 9/11, the dearth of war-related songs from either the left or the right suggested that the fondest hopes of the Cheney-Rove crowd have been realized: We've normalized to being at war in perpetuity. Why sing about something that just is?

I've seen this complaint about a lack of current bands doing anti-war songs post-September 11th on a lot of lefty blogs as well. The thing is, i'm not sure that it's true. Without thinking too hard about it, you've got:

System of a Down - Boom!, among others
Green Day - an entire album, American Idiot
Sleater-Kinney - Combat Rock
Public Enemy - What Good is a Bomb?, among others
Dead Prez - Know Your Enemy
Saul Williams - Not In Our Name, among others
Trans Am - an entire album, Liberation

In addition you've had a couple of Rock Against Bush nu-punk compliations and i'm sure we could think of other examples. Is the problem that a lot of older people are remembering that songs like Merry Christmas (War Is Over) and Masters of War were actually on the radio back in the 60s and 70s, and they are wondering why the people on the radio today (Britany Spears and... my god, i don't even know who is on the radio) aren't coming out with political songs? They do know how commercialized music has become, right?

By fnord12 | February 17, 2006, 3:48 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Comments (2)| Link

New Music

Two new jams in the Skelly Gang section from a 1/15 Sunday at the Studio. Carpal Tunnel Vision and Tanked. Me on the little microKorg and Mike on drums. Plenty of mistakes on the keyboards, but it was still a pretty interesting section considering it was totally improved.

By fnord12 | February 14, 2006, 11:52 AM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

Odd instruments

Check out this page with some very unusual instruments. They don't have the "guitar" i had in middle school, though. (Thanks to Mike for the link.)

By fnord12 | February 6, 2006, 1:26 PM | Music | Comments (0)| Link

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