Bakers Dozen x2: Best Cover Songs

>> Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wow, it is funny how more motivated I am to blog when I am actually busy and strapped for time. Now that I am between jobs, and full of free time, I have been literally staring at the screen scratching my head, forgetting how to do the keyboard tango, and struggling to draw words together to express the list idea I have ingrained into the inside of my eyelids. But, I will push through, for my avid reader.

This is a list of my favorite Cover songs of all time. There are a couple type of songs I am going to try and avoid. I do not want to use a song if I became bigger or more recognizable than the original. So, no "All Along The Watchtower" or "With a Little Help From My Friends" and so on. However, a couple times, I have blatantly ignored this rule for my own gain. I will try to include some thoughts on songs 1-13 for sure and sporadically for songs 14-26. I will include links for all songs (click on title of song) or videos where applicable.

1. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen)
This is one of the rule breakers. One of the best songs ever recorded, and very high up on my top song of all time, which you can find by clicking on one of the labels to the left.

2. Romeo & Juliet – Matt Nathanson (Dire Straits)
So, the Youtube clip I attached is nothing special to watch, but is something special to listen too. I chose it intentionally, it is the exact version that I fell in love with. Great song. Check it.

3. Tracks Of My Tears – Mary Beth (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)
To hear this beautiful song you will need to click the link and hit the play button in the top right hand corner. But, anyways, on to the song. This song holds a special place for me. And my blog co-writer can attest, this was one of my first endeavors into the world of film, as she starred in my music video to this song for my brief stay in film school. It is a simple, beautiful song by a woman who never gained any of the attention I expected her too. And, she will make another appearance shortly.

4. Hit Me Baby One More Time – Travis (Britney Spears)
This was one of the Napster gems that swept the world almost by fluke. It shows you how well crafted of a song Britney was working with. This could honestly be their song, and a hit, had they released it first.

5. Wild Horses – Jewel (The Rolling Stones)
There are some reports out there that this is not Jewel. There is no doubt in my mind that it is. I know her speaking voice very well, and I had such a huge crush on her and her snaggle tooth that I have her singing voice forever in my psyche. Listen and judge for yourself.

6. Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana (Leadbelly)
This is kinda a shitty version of the famous "Unplugged" session, however, it is undeniable, this is an amazing song. Again, this kind of breaks the better know than the original rule, but screw you for calling me out on it.

7. Hey Ya – Matt Weddle of Obadiah Parker (Outcast)

One of the most creative covers I have come across. Again, it speaks volume of the song writer(s) because this song is just as strong in this incarnation.

8. Get The Party Started – Lisa Hannigan & Damien Rice (Pink)
This is along the same lines as the Outcast cover from above. Brilliant. Subtle.

9. Wonderwall – Ryan Adams (Oasis)
Take a song that iconically belongs to a band, rework it, slow it down, sadden it up, and make it better. That is both the risk and achievement that Ryan Adams stumbled into with this piece of magic.

10. Daydream Believer – Mary Beth (The Monkees)
Again, for whatever reason, youtube does not have Mary Beth vids, so, hit play in the top right corner. Easily one of the most drastic reworkings of a song on this list. This upbeat, party song by The Monkees is now completely melancholy. If there is any track on this list you should listen too, it is this one.

11. Across The Universe – Fiona Apple (The Beatles)

I had to include the music video for this song. It is one of the lesser known Beatles songs, however, it became one of my favorites because of this Fiona version. Made for "The Pleasantville" Soundtrack, this video is beautiful.

12. (tie) Crazy – Ray LaMontagne (Gnarls Barkley)
Another example of great song writing.

12. (tie) To Love Somebody - Damien Rice & Ray Lamontagne (The Bee Gees)

Ok, so with this tie, there is actually 27 songs, but, honestly, this song could be as high as number 5. I forgot about it until I was almost ready to hit "Publish Post." This song has been featured as a video on my myspace for over a year, and it slipped my mind. I am an idiot.

13. Cry Me A River – Glen Hansard (Justin Timberlake)
This is another song that I could not find a good version of on youtube, so you will have to find and hit play. But I encourage you to do so. Glen will show up on here again, keep an eye out.

14. Mad World – Gary Jules (Tears For Fears)

Ok, so I know I said I would limit most of my commentary to the top 13 songs, but this video is AMAZING. Never saw it before today.

15. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Tori Amos (Nirvana)

16. Time After Time – Matchbox 20 (Cyndi Lauper)
This was another product of the Napster generation. Great version of this song.

17. I Will Survive – Cake (Gloria Gaynor)

18. Home – Kelly Clarkson (Marc Broussard)
One of my favorite songs of all time by Marc Broussard, and Kelly can sing it very respectably.

19. Since U Been Gone – Ted Leo (Kelly Clarkson)

20. Everytime – Glen Hansard & Colm MacIomarie (Britney Spears)
Britney makes another appearance on this list along with Glen's second of three visits. I hated this song when it came out. Glen makes it something else. I discovered this gem on a series called "Even Better Than The Real Thing Vol. I & II." It is also where I stumbled across the Lisa Hannigian's cover of Pink, Glen's Cover of JT, and Paddy Casey's Cover of Blackstreet (coming up). If you like covers, it is a great place to find some unusual ones.

21. Into The Mystic – Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (Van Morrison)

Very close to the original version, but still very good. And I have to include it, just because I love this duo.

22. Leaving On A Jet Plane - Chantal Kreviazuk's (John Denver)

No Diggity – Paddy Casey (Blackstreet)
You will have to move forward to the 2:10 mark on the video to hear the actual cover, long lead in called Grandma's hands. But this is a good, funky, 70's like, gospel inspired version of this one hit wonder from the 90's. Check it out.

24. Sea Of Love – Cat Power (Phil Phillips [and many many others])

25. Last Kiss – Pearl Jam (Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders)

26. Free Fallin - John Mayer (Tom Petty)

Sorry for the absence!

>> Monday, March 9, 2009

Things have been the opposite of hectic, but I still have not found the words to write.

I am working on several lists. The closest to publication is Greatest Cover Songs of all time. My list currently stands at 28, and I need to add at least 2 and as many as 22 before I am satisfied and willing to share it. Suggestions welcome in the comments area.

I have been distracted with my job hunt, the snow fall, and stomach flu. But that is not an excuse, just an excuse. I will be more diligent to my 7 faithful readers and post very soon.

Any list ideas would be gladly welcomed.