Thursday, August 16, 2018

16 August 2018 - Aretha Franklin - Repsect

Less a cover and more a reimagination of an Otis Redding classic, this song was unbelievably  Aretha's only Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit.  More importantly, it turned a song about a guy begging his girl for respect into a feminist anthem. 

Music really lost a legend in Aretha Franklin today, but her songs will endure for generations to come.

Monday, July 30, 2018

30 July 2018 - The Oak Ridge Boys - Elvira

A lot of you know there used to be two authors of this blog, as well as Wicked Guilty Pleasures.  I miss writing with Scott Colvin - he brought a different feel to his postings than I did, and he kept me motivated.

But I have to correct a slight inaccuracy on one of his posts today, and it's a commonly held one.

In 2014, he posted what he called a cover of an Oak Ridge Boys classic, "Elvira", by Little Big Town.  And, the song was definitely "Elvira", and a pretty interesting version of it.  But the Oak Ridge Boys themselves covered the song, which was previously performed by Rodney Crowell (whose version is probably closest to the Little Big Town one), as well as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition...... and written and recorded in the mid-60s by Dallas Frazier.

He didn't write it about Cassandra Peterson, either - Elvira Ave. is a residential street in Nashville, Tennessee.  And there's no Hungry House Cafe there.  I checked.

Let's be completely honest, though - the Oak Ridge Boys owned this song, and they made it a classic.  Scott got that part spot-on. No other version has such great harmonies, or nearly the energy of this version.  These are some of the best harmonies ever recorded! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

19 June 2018 - Debby Boone - You Light Up My Life

This was a cover - which you know if you read Wicked Guilty Pleasures today...

It was also, bar none, the biggest hit ever up until that time, spending ten weeks at the top of the Billboard charts in 1977 (a feat matched by this song in 1980 and not eclipsed until 1993). It came to be when Joseph Brooks, the songwriter, became disillusioned for one reason (some say he was the Harvey Weinstein of his day) or another with the original vocalist, and had Debby Boone rerecord it - in a more Christian reading of the love song.

None of  Brooks' ugliness is Debby's fault.  She did a beautiful job singing this in her own right.

Monday, May 21, 2018

21 May 2018 - I.O.I(아이오아이) - Whatta Man (Good man)

If you are a fan of my other blog, Wicked Guilty Pleasures, you know last week was a tribute to K-Pop.

In building those posts over there, I found this fun Salt 'n' Pepa cover. I didn't expect it, and the verses really aren't the same - much less sexually charged than the original.  However, the beat, the feeling, the flow, the energy - all very similar. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

3 April 2018 - Juliana Hatfield - Physical

Honestly, didn't expect this to be the second single from Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John.  My expectations don't matter. This version has a LOT more bombast than even what was arguably ONJ's most bombastic song and by far biggest American hit.

Wanna hear this one live?  We got you covered (pun intended)! Juliana sounds like a natural singing Olivia.  I'm impressed.

Monday, April 2, 2018

2 April 2017 - Juliana Hatfield - A Little More Love

I started this blog on March 18, 2012, with a Bruce Springsteen cover by Juliana Hatfield.  I don't post as regularly as I should....

....but when Juliana Hatfield releases an entire album of Olivia Newton-John covers (Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, officially released April 13th and available here), that gets my attention.  I, like Ms. Hatfield, have been a fan of Olivia Newton-John since my youth.  I have also been a fan of Juliana Hatfield since my teens, when she was in a band called The Blake Babies (featured here in the past).

Juliana has a much lighter and less husky voice than Olivia, but does the song justice while staying faithful to the source material.  That in itself is impressive.  I wasn't sure I'd like these covers, but the respect for the originals shown here have won me over.

If you want to hear the original, head on over to Wicked Guilty Pleasures.  We featured ONJ's version six years ago!

Monday, January 22, 2018

22 January 2018 - Florence + the Machine - The Chain

I promise you, this isn't a Fleetwood Mac tribute blog.

Florence + The Machine played "The Chain" exactly once, at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2010. 



Florence Welch subbing in for Lindsey Buckingham.  She really gets it - the anguish, the disjointed structure, the raw energy..... how to act during that bassline...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

18 January 2018 - The Cranberries - Go Your Own Way (Live)

We don't normally post twice in one day.  However, with the untimely passing of Dolores O'Riordan this week, it's appropriate.

Rarely has there been a more obviously Irish band than the Cranberries, mostly because of O'Riordan's trill brogue.  Her raw power helps deliver Lindsey Buckingham's message in a differently angry manner.   Her unique voice will be missed.

18 January 2018 - Lissie - Go Your Own Way

If you watched the Twin Peaks revival in 2017, you might recognize Lissie from the end of Part 14.  The remarkable singer-songwriter had a minor UK hit in 2012 with this Fleetwood Mac cover that mutes some of the raw anger of the original version and replaces it with anguish.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

17 January 2018 - Smashing Pumpkins - Landslide

When Smashing Pumpkins released their sixth single, "Disarm", from the Siamese Dream album, they included a couple of B-sides.  One was this surprisingly faithful and reserved cover of this Stevie Nicks-penned classic, a stark contrast to the wall of noise bombast the band had been known for up to that point.  Billy Corgan sings the song beautifully, which isn't an adjective I would have thought to use before this to describe his voice.

The song, which got significant enough modern rock radio airplay to reach #3 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart on its own, also ended up on their 1994 compilation Pisces Iscariot, a collection of B-sides that probably wouldn't exist if not for this song.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

16 January 2018 - Nina Nesbitt - Don't Stop

This song was legitimately a minor hit for Scottish artist Nina Nesbitt in the UK in 2013.  Don't let the former model's looks fool you - she really understands the emotional depth of the song and does the Fleetwood Mac original justice, while giving it a janglier, popier sound. And, to be fair, a Scottish accent.

We don't get the guy showering in blue paint, though. 

This song was originally featured in an advertisement for John Lewis, a UK insurance company known for their Christmas advertisements.  This was not a Christmas advertisement, but it was still cute.

Monday, January 15, 2018

15 January 2018 - The Engagements - Say You Love Me

As a rule, we don't often feature wedding bands. The Engagements, from Brooklyn, NY, are going to be an exception to that rule.  Because their version of this song is fantastic.

Their website claims that they "cover.. songs that haven’t been played to death at weddings" and we believe them.  This is a bit of a depressing wedding song, but it sure sounds cheery.  If you are in New York or the surrounding area, and want to book them for your wedding or corporate event, go to their website for details.