My fellow Colorado blogger Stephen Green has posted a short list of the best cover songs of the last 40 years (he pointedly does not call them standards). I'm not presumptuous enough to opine about which cover songs are best, but here are some of my favorites:
- Joe Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles. Cocker effects a total transformation here -- he turns the original (an insubstantial, bouncy little tune) into an impassioned cry from the heart.
- Yes's cover of "Every Little Thing" by The Beatles. This one is much less well-known than Cocker's cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends", since it appeared on the very first Yes album (years before they hit the big time with the unlikely progressive rock hit "Roundabout"). But I love how the early Yes lineup takes its time getting to the lyrics, even quoting from "Day Tripper" along the way.
- Mollie O'Brien's cover of "Sign Your Name" by Terence Trent D'Arby, on her 1996 release "Tell It True". Mollie is a powerful singer, unfortunately not as nearly as popular as she deserves to be. She mostly does covers, and this is one of her best.
- Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan. What can I say about this one that hasn't been said? Let me note that I also love Michael Hedges's cover of Jimi's cover, wherein he simultaneously pays homage to both Hendrix and Dylan.
As I think of more, I'll add them to the list.
More "favorite" posts on the way: favorite guitar solos, favorite piano solos, and more. Stay tuned. :)
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal