This week’s sees one of my favourite James Brown tracks covered. Joshua Ledet, an American Idol contestant sings the you know what out of the classic “It’s A Man’s World”, making it all his own. Spine tingling talent, perfect for today’s cover version. It’s a shame that we was voted off the show. Predictable, but still a shame.
This is the second cover version by an American Idol contestant I’ve featured, the first was David Cook’s double cover – he covered Chris Cornell’s cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.
This week’s Cover Version is courtesy of my friend Danille Moult who shared it with me a few weeks back. The song being covered is Massive Attack’s classic ‘Teardrop’ from the 1998 album Mezzanine. I must admit that after hearing so many disappointing attempts, I didn’t expect to find a Massive Attack cover that I actually enjoy. I’m a huge fan of the band and their sound, so their original material is almost ‘sacred’ if you will.
Despite sounding like a very polite vampire movie, the boys from Civil Twilight have done one helluva rendition – I’ve been listening to it on and off for a few weeks to see if it has staying power. I’m happy to report that the shine hasn’t faded, even after many repeats. And the best part is that now I have another quality band to listen to. The fact that the band is from my home town – Cape Town, South Africa – is just the icing on the cake. Thanks Danny 😉
BONUS – “Letters From The Sky”
After listening to their cover so many times, it seems wrong not to include one of their original compositions as well. “Letters From The Sky” is taken off the band’s album self titled album and was featured on the movie soundtrack to ‘I Am Number Four.’
The drumming on this track is hypnotic, and on the first listen I was instantly reminded of Live back when Ed Kowalczyk was still with the band. Definitely a good thing.
It’s Friday, which means it’s time to dust of a classic track and throw in a modern interpretation. Except this time the interpretation is a classic in it’s own right. And even the first famous version is a cover version…
In 1973 Roberta Flack flack released “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and it (rightfully) took the Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female Performer and also took the Song of the Year Grammy. So suffice to say it was a big song.
22 Years later, a group called the Fugees covered the song with Lauryn Hill providing the lead vocal and their version went on to become of the biggest songs of the next two years and some might say of all time. It was featured on their seminal album “The Score.”
In my opinion, this a strong contender for “Best Song Of The 90s.” Listening to this track has a way of making me feel good.
One of the things I about this song is the story behind it. Here are a few words from Norm Gimbel, the songwriter, on the genesis of the song.
“I came to California in the mid-sixties. I was introduced to the Argentinean born composer named Lalo Schifrin (then of Mission: Impossible fame). I ended up writing songs to a number of his motion pictures. I suggested we write a Broadway Musical together. He gave me an Argentinean novel translated into English from the Spanish to read as a possible idea. Suffice it to say, we never made a musical from the book — but in one of the chapters, the principal character describes himself as sitting alone in a bar drinking and listening to an American pianist ‘killing me softly with his blues.’ I put it in my ‘idea’ book for use at a future time with a parenthesis around the word ‘blues’ and substituted the word ‘song’ instead. Many years later, Lori Lieberman saw Don McLean in concert. I then wrote the lyric and gave it to Charles Fox to set to music.”
Roberta Flack first heard “Killing Me Softly With His Song” on a flight from Los Angeles to New York City on which the Lori Lieberman original was featured on the in-flight audio program: scanning the listing of available audio selections, Flack would recall: “The title, of course, smacked me in the face. I immediately pulled out some scratch paper, made musical staves [then] play[ed] the song at least eight to ten times jotting down the melody that I heard…. When I landed, I immediately called Quincy [Jones] .
As hard as it may be to believe, the original is actually a country version, performed by Lori Lieberman.
Taken off the soundtrack to the hard nosed chick flick “Sucker Punch.”
It’s not often that you see the lead in a movie performing on the soundtrack (unless said lead is a used to be pop star *cough* Timberlake *cough*) and even less often that the result is actually something worth listening to.
Fortunately, this track is an exception. Emily Browning plays Baby Doll in the steam punk style flick but also delivers on the soundtrack, including this hauntingly beautiful rendition of The Eurythimics 1983 (!) cult hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”
‘Sweet Dreams’ has been covered, remixed and sampled many times by everyone from Nas to Marilyn Manson, so I guess you could say that there’s a version to satisfy everyone’s taste.
‘Sucker Punch’ also has one of the best looking typographic posters I’ve seen in a while. Excellent work byt the designers.
Other cover versions
Soul Rebels Brass Band covered the song on their Rounder Records debut record, Unlock Your Mind, released on January 31, 2012, and they performed the song on Later with Jools Holland in 2011.
Italian-based Croatian singer Sharon C. covered the song for her same-titled debut single released in 1997, and since then it has been featured on many compilations including Dancemania 8.
Polish band Moonlight covered the song for their 1999 EP Flos.
French electroclash duo Miss Kittin & The Hacker covered the song for their 1999 EP Intimités.
Actress Maria Bello performed the song in the movie Duets (2000), which is included on the soundtrack.
“Sweet Dreams” was partially covered by Geri Halliwell as a medley with her song, “Scream If You Wanna Go Faster” in late 2004.
Finnish a cappella group Club for Five recorded a cover of the song.
Brazilian singer Badi Assad covered the song for her 2006 album Wonderland.
Brazilian singer Danni Carlos covered the song for her 2006 album Rock ´n´ Road Movies.
German singer Thomas Anders (formerly of Modern Talking) recorded a jazzy, lounge music cover of the song for his 2006 solo album Songs Forever.
Australian girlgroup Girlband recorded a cover of the song for their unreleased debut album.
Tanghetto, the neo-tango band based in Buenos Aires recorded and released the song as part of their El Miedo a la Libertad album in 2008. Their cover is an instrumental version, where the bandoneon takes the “role” of the lead voice.
American Christian rock singer Krystal Meyers covered the song on the 2008 Japanese release of her third album Make Some Noise.
Ukrainian pop/rock band Lama covered the song as “???? ????” (“World of Dreams”) for their 2008 album ?????? ? ???? (Light and Shadow).
The German Underground rapper Frauenarzt covered the sample of this song as “Feuchte Träume” on Feuchte Träume (Gastparts 3) in 2008.
The melody was featured in the U96 featuring Das Bo single “Mr. DJ, Put on the Red Light” and was sung by Tryna Loules, who released it in 2006.
Sylvie Vartan covered it in French (1983) under the title “Déprime”, famous for its deep rhymes.
In a 2002 episode of The Simpsons, “Half-Decent Proposal”, at the end of the episode, Artie Ziff (Jon Lovitz) begins to sing the song through a speaker, culminating with the lyrics “I am watching you through a camera!”
Doctor Steel covered the chorus of “Sweet Dreams” in the end of his song “Lullaby Bye”.
French singer Emily Loizeau covered jazz version of “Sweet Dreams” on her album Pays Sauvage (Track 15).
The German/Greek a cappella band Five Live covered “Sweet Dreams” on their album Five Live live (track 4).
Delta Goodrem covered ‘Sweet Dreams’ on her 2008 Believe Again Tour . The cover was later released on the CD/DVD release of the tour.
Tori Amos covered the song live in Boston, MA while on her Original Sinsuality Tour in 2005.
The German pop-singer Judith Hildebrandt performed the song live on 23 April 2009 in the Ultimative Chart-Show.
Japanese musician Tomoyasu Hotei covered it on his 2009 cover album Modern Times Rock’N’Roll.
Allison Crowe recorded a stripped-down acoustic version of “Sweet Dreams” for a Hollywood movie project in mid-2010
A Korean girl group Girls’ Generation made a cover of this song on a music TV show in 2010.
Singer Kitty Brucknell covered the song on the fourth live show in the Eighth series of the UK X Factor.
Grup Vitamin, was Turkish comedy band used the music of the song and sang as “Balta” (“Axe” in Turkish) in Yand?k Desene album in 1992.
We’re keeping things in the eighties for this week’s #coverversion Friday with a rework of Prince’s 1984 hit “When Doves Cry” by one of my current favorite artists, Alex Clare.
I’m not really sure which genre to classify this cover version under. It seems to have emerged from the current wobble bass/ Dubstep phoneme but it’s so much more than that, with amen breaks and organic piano swirling around with synths to create a very modern rework.
Alex Clare’s strong, soulful vocal performance rides easy over production from Diplo and Switch. It’s an upbeat, high energy cover that won’t be out of place on a dance floor but still satisfies when listening only to Clare’s bluesy voice. In other words, a winning combination.
Keep and ear out for this one at all the trendy parties, hipsters are going to love it. Retro and Dubstep, it would like discovering a vintage iPhone.
This week’s cool cover version comes from the fuzzy haired Abel Tesfaye, or as you probably know him The Weeknd. Today being Friday and all, it seemed appropriate.
The track being covered is Michael Jackson’s iconic bitch slap track Dirty Diana. The Weeknd launches in to it with a surprisingly accurate rending of MJs vocal – no mean feat. I love this version, which he’s entitled D.D.
It’s not perfect though, things get pitchy in spots and MJs range takes him to task at the end. But the massive (massive) beat driving it along and the sheer ambition of this track make it a worthwhile cover version.
While I was going through some old blog posts,I noticed a trend. I post a lot of music, but that’s not the trend, The trend I noticed is that I post a lot of cover versions, like this one and especially this one.
I love finding great new interpretations of classic songs or even performances that transform just OK song to something special. I even have a cover version playlist on my iPod. So I figured what the hell, I’ll share,
So, starting today I’ll post up a cover version that I like every Friday. I’m hoping that there will be some comments that will lead to me discovering even more cool cover versions, which will lead to more posts, which will lead to more comments… You see where I’m going with this.