Sunday, 15 April 2012

Under Cover

Another intriguing list, Gibson's Top 50 Cover Songs of All Time

No surprise to me, #1 is Jimi Hendrix's version of Dylan's All Along The Watchtower. The old saying about doing a cover is, "be true to the original, and make it your own." Well, Hendrix stole this song. It's his song now, not Dylan's.

Some others that come close to theft are:
#10 - Aretha Franklin's version of Respect (oh, did Otis Redding write that?)
#20 - The Who's version of Young Man Blues (who is Mose Allison actually?)
#23 - The Black Crowe's version of Hard To Handle (who knew Otis wrote southern rock?)
#49 - CCR's version of Suzie Q (that song defined them)

The songs that come closest to the maxim (balancing respect with a fresh sound) are:
#2 - The Beatles version of Twist And Shout
#7 - The Byrd's version of Mr. Tambourine Man
#10 - Elvis's Hound Dog
#27 - Talking Head's version of Take Me To The River
#29 - Elvis's Blue Suede Shoes (sorry Carl)

In the "decent cover ... interesting take" category, I'd place:
#13 - Stevie Ray Vaughan's cover of Hendrix's Little Wing
#18/#24 - The Stones' covers of Not Fade Away and Love In Vain
#28 - Red Hot Chili Peppers' version of Higher Ground

In the "some songs just shouldn't be covered" (and therefore should not be on the list) category, I'd put:
#17 - GNR's molestation of Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door
#26 - Ike & Tina Turner's cartoon version of Proud Mary
#33 - Van Halen's disfiguring of Oh Pretty Woman
#35 - Aerosmith's criminal rendition of Come Together

Interesting, isn't it, that a bunch of these artists are on the list as coverers and coverees: The Beatles, Hendrix, The Stones, CCR, and Otis (not mentioned above, but he is).

Interesting, too, that so many songs on the list are rediscovering of old blues tunes.

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