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Friday Riffs: Cover songs from Carly to Kristin

My cousin Michael is one of my favorite people on the planet. He’s also an unabashed music lover with an unhealthy addiction to cover songs. The guy has playlists on his iPod devoted to tunes such as Brandi Carlile’s version of “Hallelujah” and Train’s “Ramble On” – both of which are fantastic, BTW.

So for this first installment of our fun Friday lists, a feature I’m dubbing “Riffs,” here is a handful of cover tunes you might want to check out.

I’m starting with a favorite of both mine and Michael’s, a remake of the Traveling Wilburys’ wonderfully poignant 1988 song, “Handle with Care.” This take comes from Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley from her 2006 album with The Watson Twins, “Rabbit Fur Coat.”

Feel free to weigh in with some of your favorite covers in the comments section. And happy hunting through this site.

Jason Mraz is this month’s guest on Daryl Hall’s extremely cool web show, “Live from Daryl’s House,” and while the pair – and Hall’s band – delivers a seriously funky version of Mraz’s “The Remedy,” better still is an ancient clip of Mraz covering Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That.” Mraz’s hair was less offensive then, too.

Mraz – I Can’t Go For That (Hall & Oates) from Twisted-Twiddler on Vimeo.

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is probably one of the most covered songs of the past decade. But the gilded-voiced singer is known for putting her own twist on the occasional classic, too. Here, she revisits The Cure’s “Lovesong,” bending her beautiful voice into a plaintive wail. Are we in agreement that this is better than the 311 version? Good.

Is there a more appropriate song for Axl Rose to wrap his sinister snarl around than the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil?” The 1994 Guns N’ Roses renditon of the Stones’ epic rocker is a little creepy, a little histrionic and a lot perfect.

My reaction to Bon Iver usually falls along the same lines as Justin Timberlake’s hilarious impersonation of the guy. But somehow Bon Iver has managed to extract even more heartbreak from Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which he cleverly dovetails with a striking snippet of her “Nick of Time.”
Kristin Chenoweth canceled a few shows earlier this week because of illness, but she’s recovered in time to bring her distinctive pipes to the Cobb Energy Center tonight. Most of you are intimately familiar with her memorable work on the “Wicked” soundtrack, but just for grins, take a listen to her version of Heart’s “Alone” with “Glee”-mate Matthew Morrison.

Although I find Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” truly annoying, I’ll also admit to not changing the station when it comes on Sirius Hits 1. Hypocritical, I know. But it’s kind of hard to avoid rolling down the window and singing along to this fluff, isn’t it? Slate even wrote an essay about the pop culture phenomenon this week. In case you haven’t seen the plethora of cover versions of this candy apple of a song, at least I saved you the time tracking them down!

114 comments Add your comment

Praveen

June 22nd, 2012
4:15 am

1) Aerosmith’s cover of “Train Kepta Rollin”. SOme of the great guitar interplay needed session experts Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter because so called guitar god Joe Perry was probably not up to the task.
2) Sinead O Conner and Shane Magowan covering Shane’s own Pogues “Haunted”.
3) Springsteen covering War by Starr.
4) Aretha Franklin covering Otis Redding’s Respect (though I urge everyone to youtube Reddings own great original. it is a must listen to).
5) Joan Jett “I Love Rock N Roll” tops the original and she made it her own. Actually, if you look at Jett’s career, she is a damn good cover artist with a few or her own originals sprinkled in.
6) Bangles “Hazy Shade of Winter” super catchy reworking of the low key Simon and Garfunkel original.
7) Red hot Chili Peppers covering Stevie Wonders’ Higher Ground.
8) George Harrison’s cover of I Got My Mind Set On you. (I prefer the original, but the cover brings a different enough vibe that I list it here).
9) 10,000 Maniacs cover of Because the Night. Actually Springsteen’s Promise collection of songs have a few songs that have good cover versions
10) THe outrageous discotastic Knock On Wood cover by Amii Stewart. The video has to be seen to be believed. Super energetic.

Praveen

June 22nd, 2012
4:19 am

Oh, I think Toxic is one of the great pop songs that lends itself to many great cover versions.
YOutube many of Nickelcreek’s(no, that’s not Nickelback) live performances of this song. Just great. Better than the other more played ones like Chemical H’s

Dawgs of Anarchy

June 22nd, 2012
6:44 am

Guns and Roses covering Paul Mcartney “Live and Let Die” and Bob Dylan “Knockin on Heaven’s Door.

How could these 2 NOT be mentioned?

Romney 2012. End the Kenyan socialist regime.

G-bean

June 22nd, 2012
6:49 am

Jerry Butler and Betty Everett’s cover of the Everly Brothers’ “Let It Be Me”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i22xbY4u2iI

Meatlake

June 22nd, 2012
6:54 am

Check out Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers on piano singing Sam Cook’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” on Youtube. Don’t know about all time best cover but it’s a pretty powerful performance by a pretty talented dude. Hope you like and I think the piano was donated to charity afterwards…

massachusetts refugee

June 22nd, 2012
7:04 am

dwight yoakam/sheryl crow – baby don’t go
the beatles – twist and shout
tom petty – i’ll feel a whole lot better

woodstockGuy

June 22nd, 2012
7:14 am

The Who – Summertime Blues
Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
Ryan Adams – Wonderwall (Oasis cover)

FM Fats

June 22nd, 2012
7:25 am

My favorite cover album is Lo and Behold by Coulson, Dean, McGuinness, Flint, which consists entirely of songs by Dylan from the Basement Tapes.

Meatlake

June 22nd, 2012
7:39 am

Or how about Old Crow Medicine Show’s version of Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel?…(even though it’s rearranged some).

Or Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”?

Or Jimi Hendrix covering Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”? Or the National Anthem?

Or The Pixies cover of Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On”?

KOL do a pretty good version of The Pixies “Where is My Mind?” too.

Or Whitney Houston covering Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”?

Van Halen’s “Pretty Woman”?

Or Black Crowes singing Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle”?

Or Billy Idol’s version of “Mony Mony” by Tommy James and the Shondelles?

Or last but no least Johnny Cash’s version of NIN’s “Hurt”?

Great 10,000 Maniacs pick above too of “Because the Night”…

BPD

June 22nd, 2012
7:43 am

Personally I like Grand Funk Railroad’s cover of Locomotion.

NJ

June 22nd, 2012
7:50 am

Cat Power’s cover of Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”.

CP

June 22nd, 2012
8:06 am

Anything that YACHT ROCK REVUE is playing at ANY given moment….

Gordon Solie

June 22nd, 2012
8:09 am

Coldplay – Lips like Sugar (Echo and the Bunneymen)
10,000 Maniacs – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (REM)
Radiohead – Ceremony (New Order)
U2 – Instant Karma (John Lennon)
Pet Shop Boys – You Were Always On My Mind (Various)
Naked Eyes – Always Something There to Remind Me (Various)
Club Nouveau – Lean On Me (Bill Withers)
Phil Collins – You Can’t Hurry Love (The Supremes)
Elton John – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (The Beatles)
Billy Joel – A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles)

Fred ™

June 22nd, 2012
8:13 am

I have rarely heard a cover of a Dylan tune that wasn’t better than Dylan’s version lol. The list of those is endless…….. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals totally nails Airplanes “White Rabbit.” Catherine Popper on bass in this version is just hot as hell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vy1OoBAL-E

TCBnATL

June 22nd, 2012
8:14 am

Dwight Yoakam does some great covers, including Patsy Cline’s “Stop the World and Let Me Off” and the Clash’s “Train in Vain.”

And, of course, k.d. lang’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is nothing short of majestic.

Vince

June 22nd, 2012
8:14 am

I generally prefer the original artist’s version of songs with one very big exception> The Clash cover of Bobby Fuller Four’s I Fought the Law is the all time best cover and a big improvement of the original.

David Briel

June 22nd, 2012
8:16 am

Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton’s version of BOB SEGER”S We’ve Got Tonight
Hall and Oates version of the RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

Patriot

June 22nd, 2012
8:18 am

Roseanne Barr’s cover of F.S. Key’s ‘Star-Spangled Banner’.

Patriot

June 22nd, 2012
8:19 am

Garth Brooks’ cover of Billy Joel’s ‘Shame’.

Pirate

June 22nd, 2012
8:20 am

Earth Wind and Fire covering the Beatles song “Got To Get You Into My Life”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6L05WHTgUQ

crabbyjacket

June 22nd, 2012
8:28 am

Eddie Hazel’s “California Dreamin” (Mamas and Papas)
(this one could change your life – look it up!)
RHCP’s “Love Rollercoaster” (Ohio Players)
Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen)
Social Distortion’s “Ring of Fire” (Johnny Cash)
Wall of Voodoo’s “Ring of Fire”

Paul

June 22nd, 2012
8:43 am

1- Phish covering Also Spratch Zarathrustra(2001)
2- Widespread Panic covering Lawyers, Guns, & Money (the Warren Zevon song)
3- Rage Against the Machine covering the Ghost of Tom Joad

Phoneguy71

June 22nd, 2012
8:52 am

Unquestionably, Great White covering Babe I’m Gonna Leave You by Led Zeppelin.

Greg Kaiser

June 22nd, 2012
8:52 am

Two of my all time favorites are the Bonnie Raitt and Was (Not Was) cover of “Baby Mine” from the Disney classic “Dumbo,” and Chrissie Hynde’s live cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” Natalie Merchant does a great cover of The Chiffon’s/Carole King’s “One Fine Day” on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. And Bette Midler’s cover of the Sinatra classic “One For My Baby (And One More for the Road), performed on the very last Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, is fantastic. I also like Indigo Girls cover of Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.”

Kim

June 22nd, 2012
8:54 am

1. Phil Collins does a fabulous cover of Elton John’s “Burn Down the Mission” on the Two Rooms album.
2. The Atari’s cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”.
3. Don’t know if this counts as a remake but Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2U” is a masterpiece.

Greg Kaiser

June 22nd, 2012
8:55 am

One more… Atlanta legend Michelle Malone and her old band Drag the River did a smoking cover of “When a Man Loves a Woman” on their “Building Fires over Atlanta EP, recorded live at the Cotton Club around 1991. If you can find it, it is well worth a listen.

And still one of the greatest band names of all time…

brian

June 22nd, 2012
8:57 am

Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Tangerine (Led Zeppelin)

Hootie & the Blowfish – Hey Hey What Can I Do (Led Zeppelin)

Levon Helm – Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen)

Widespread Panic – Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)

Counting Crows – Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead)

Counting Crows – Amie (Pure Prairie League)

The Beatles – Wait a Minute Mr Postman (The Marvelettes)

The Rolling Stones – Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan)

Johnny Cash – Redemption Song (Bob Marley & The Wailers)

Cake – I Will Survive (Donna Summer)

The Coors – Little Wing (Hendrix)

LZ

June 22nd, 2012
9:00 am

SRV “The sky is crying”
Van Halen “You really got me”
Led Zep “When the levee breaks”

Yag Kosha

June 22nd, 2012
9:03 am

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by local band The Blisscats!

MAYNARD DWAYNE SLOCUMB

June 22nd, 2012
9:08 am

The dad-burn juke box at the Panola Road Waffle House sure has some great tunes on it. But 9 times out of 10 the bath rooms sure could use a scrubbin’. Later, Maynard

milesarcher3

June 22nd, 2012
9:11 am

The most famous cover song of all, far more famous than the original ——-

The Beatles’ version of Twist an Shout

birdman

June 22nd, 2012
9:13 am

David Bowie – Cactus (Pixies)
Neko Case – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis (Tom Waits)
Tricky – Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos (Public Enemy)
Bon Iver – Come Talk to Me (Peter Gabriel)
Rage Against the Machine – The Ghost of Tom Joad (Bruce Springsteen)
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter (Simon & Garfunkel)
The White Stripes – Jolene (Dolly Parton)
Dusty Springfield – Spooky (Classic IV)
The Bird and the Bee – She’s Gone (Hall & Oats)

RY

June 22nd, 2012
9:24 am

The Power Station’’s version of “Get if On” by T. Rex.
Heart’s live version of “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” by Elton John.
Smash casts’ version of “Crazy Dreams” by Carrie Underwood.
Susan Boyle’s version of “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones.
Smashing Pumpkins version of “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees.

OTP

June 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

Two of my favorites, (better than the originals, I think), are Elton John doing “Pinball Wizard” from the Who, and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” from The Beatles.
I have heard a couple of Led Zeppelin songs covered by Heart, (”Black Dog”/”Battle Of Evermore”?) and Pink, “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”, (believe it, or not), in concert that sound pretty good.

Suburb of Bainbridge

June 22nd, 2012
9:35 am

Joe Cocker covering the Beatles’ “A Little Help From My Friends”
Dolly Parton covering Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire”
Sugarland covering The Dream Academy’s “Life In a Northern Town” and Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher”
Indigo Girls covering Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band” and Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”
Shawn Mullins covering Animals” “House of The Rising Sun”

gator32301

June 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

Foo Fighters – Baker Street
GnR – Live and Let Die
Radiohead – Nobody Does It Better
Travis – Hit Me Baby One More Time. Seriously

Patriot

June 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

Meant ‘Shameless’ (in a hurry to p)

The Walrus

June 22nd, 2012
9:39 am

Grand Funk Railroad’s cover of Little Eve’s “Locomotion” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

And I know this will be considered blasphemy, but I prefer Gladys Knight and the Pips’ cover of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” over Marvin Gaye’s.

The House that Cash Built

June 22nd, 2012
9:41 am

#1 – Johnny Cash covers Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”

OTP

June 22nd, 2012
9:46 am

Another one is the Allman Brothers Band doing “Layla” in concert.
That site is cool. Thanks.

The House that Cash Built

June 22nd, 2012
9:50 am

#2 – Johnny Cash covers June Carter’s “Ring of Fire”

Ken Shell

June 22nd, 2012
9:55 am

Cassandra Wilson’s cover of “Love is Blindness” originally written and sung by U2 is great.
Luther Vandross’ cover of “Killing Me Softly” originally performed by Roberta Flack.

kyle

June 22nd, 2012
9:57 am

breaking benjamin – who wants to live forever (Queen Cover)

Steeledawg

June 22nd, 2012
9:59 am

Cowboy Junkies-Sweet Jane (Velvet Underground)
Pearl Jam-Keep on Rockin in the Free World (Neil Young) and Baba O’Reilly (Who)

Covered and Smothered

June 22nd, 2012
10:03 am

Adel’s cover of Make You Feel My Love (another Dylan song) is far superior to any other cover she has done so far.

The White Stripes – Jolene
Even Dolly Parton thought it was the best.

Ben Longmire

June 22nd, 2012
10:11 am

I do my own personal cover of ABBA’s Dancing Queen. Love to put on some tight jeans and sing this with my boys.

Steve

June 22nd, 2012
10:14 am

What about Coldplay covering Joe Satriani’s If I could Fly?

Ben Butler

June 22nd, 2012
10:15 am

I prefer I Will Always You by the late, great Whitney Houston. I get teared up every time I watch The Bodyguard.

Bink

June 22nd, 2012
10:19 am

Mony Mony by Billy Idol.

Weary Traveller

June 22nd, 2012
10:26 am

Carrie Manolakos’ cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. This went viral a little while ago. It is nothing short of amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ5ZclZTeTU

And this one isn’t really a cover, as she is performing w/ the original band, but Mary J Blige’s take on U2’s ‘One’ is awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpDQJnI4OhU