Six favorite covers

Friday, November 30, 2012
There was a time in my life when I derided covers. The original is always best I thought. Of course I was young and stupid. Frequently covers take a song to a new and different territory.

Perhaps the best current example of this is Johnny Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt. With producer Rick Rubin, Mr. Cash took a song and made it his own.

This was what I was looking for when I compiled this list. Whether they be familiar songs re-interpreted or obscure songs given new life, covers have an important place in my playlist.

 1. Make You Feel My Love - Adele: Written and first performed by Bob Dylan, this much covered song has a special something going on in Adele’s hands. Lovely, haunting and lyrical, Adele takes this song to a new level of emotional resonance.

2. A Hazy Shade Of Winter - The Bangles: This Simon & Garfunkel song was given an update in the 80’s for the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero. Leaving much of the bridge of the original song, this harder and rockier version just works. All gray and disillusioned just like the film.

3. Hurt - Johnny Cash: I get chills every time I hear this song. Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, the songs writer, had this to say about Johnny Cash’s cover:
“I pop the video in, and wow... Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps... Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore... It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure.” 
4. Hard To Handle - The Black Crowes: The song that brought The Black Crowes fame. Their cover of Hard To Handle hit’s all the right rock notes, with blazing guitars and a southern rock boogie edge.

5. Mad World - Michael Andrews & Gary Jules: A stripped down melancholy version of the Tears For Fears song, is all about mood. The video adds to the strange and dark version of this song.

6. Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon - Urge Overkill: This cover of the song by Neil Diamond could easily be written off as an ironic hispter version of the song. With it’s inclusion in the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, it became a cover that stands on it’s own.

Honorable Mention
Always On My Mind - Pet Shop Boys - Originally recorded by Brenda Lee
Try A Little Tenderness - Otis Redding

This is post 945 since the founding of this blog in March 2005.

Make You Feel My Love - Adele
A Hazy Shade Of Winter - The Bangles
 Hurt - Johnny Cash
Hard To Handle - The Black Crowes
Mad World - Michael Andrews & Gary Jules
Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon - Urge Overkill

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