Thursday, December 31, 2020

31 December 2020 - A "Heroes" Special

For many people, this David Bowie classic is seen as his greatest song.  It is a song that is seen as a catalyst for the reunification of Germany in the late 1980's - as it was heard on both sides and enjoyed together as he performed it live in 1987. It's been heard a lot in 2020 as well, for obvious reasons.

The inspirational message and history of the song has made it a favorite of many musicians.  This is pioneering metal band Motörhead performing the song.  It was a longtime favorite of theirs, and they do a great and strong version.

Next up we have Canadian folk group and Wicked Guilty favorite The East Pointers.  They recorded this take on a day off in their native PEI.  Hearing this song with a banjo accompaniment is something to behold.

In a similar folky vein, here is New Zealand legend Neil Finn - of Crowded House - performing the Bowie classic in his daily show, where he takes requests on his periodic show Fangradio.  It's delightful, and he does Bowie proud here.

Our next stop is at a performance in France by Bloc Party. Kele, much like Bowie, is an underappreciated vocalist who does this song proud.  

I wanted this to be our final stop.  When I saw David Bowie in 1991, Adrian Belew was his guitarist (and in fact, they had a released single together at the time - "Pretty Pink Rose" - which was fabulous in its own right).  This duet with Martha Wainright (daughter of Loudon, sister of Rufus, excellent musician in her own right) is both an off-kilter and at the same time fitting tribute to what is arguably Bowie's most beautiful song.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

30 December 2020 - Ashen Ringlets - Ivo

This song was originally performed and written by British ethereal pop group the Cocteau Twins.  This is a band that is practically impossible to cover.  The song's unusually title is a nod to 4AD Records founder and occasional Cocteau Twins producer Ivo Watts-Russell - and is lyrical gymnastics that this artist easily matches.

I personally think this music would not be out of place on 4AD.  Please check out their YouTube channel, and consider supporting them on Patreon.  Few artists are still making this shoegaze music, and I'd like to see more from this one.   

Friday, December 25, 2020

25 December 2020 - Alyssa Hankey - Back Door Santa

You say you want another cover of "Back Door Santa" today?  

Meet Alyssa Hankey.  If you like raspy voiced women and acoustic guitar, you are going to love this song.  I know I do.  If you do, go subscribe to her YouTube channel and seek out her music on Spotify. Do a small time artist a favor today, on this Christmas Day, and listen to her stuff.   

By the way, this cover is fire.  

25 December 2020 - Jet - Back Door Santa

Jet covered a Clarence Carter classic, and it is my gift to you this Christmas.  They managed to cover it without sounding like they were ripping off "Christmas in Hollis"....

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

23 December 2020 - Velvet Belly - The Man With The Child In His Eyes

I was today years old when I discovered this inventive 1997 cover of a Kate Bush classic - one of my favorites of hers, and a definite future Wicked Guilty Pleasures post - by Norwegian group Velvet Belly.   A lot of covers sound like the artist is trying to do an impersonation of the original.  This one is not that.  Velvet Belly truly takes the lyrics and music and does something new with the song.  Rather than light and airy, this version is practically bombastic.  

Friday, December 18, 2020

18 December 2020 - Mariah Carey - Joy To The World

Is it a Christmas song?  Yes.

Does it take a Three Dog Night hard left turn halfway through? Also yes.

Did we accidentally publish this two weeks ago and then unpublish it to republish it again?  You bet we did.  

Thursday, December 17, 2020

17 December 2020 - Acid Drinkers ft. Ania Brachaczek - Love Shack

Hey, I didn't expect a Polish thrash metal band to do a faithful cover of this song, either.  

But c'mon.  You're smiling, aren't you?  Isn't that what music is supposed to do?

Ania Brachaczek from SiQ fills in for Kate Pierson and most of Cindy Wilson's part (except, for some reason, "tiiiiiiiinnnn roof, rusted!") on this version and she's great in that role.

Rewarding those of you who came to this post late..... here they all are, doing the song live in 2014.  Watching Ania do the very different female parts in this song LIVE is really impressive.  Also, the band changes the lyrics to really communicate what the B-52's meant by "lovin'".  

Monday, December 14, 2020

14 December 2020 - Alex Guthrie and Jennifer Hudson – Lovely Day

As the story goes, Alex Guthrie was an Atlanta street musician who wanted more people to hear his music.... so of course big star Jennifer Hudson shows up to help him with that.  

The reality is, it was a commercial, but it's also an excellent and uplifting duet.  

Guthrie went on to be a contestant on The Voice in 2019. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

2 December 2002 - Seth Haapu & Stan Walker - Moemoeā

The song sounds familiar, doesn't it?  

It's a Crowded House cover, of this song. Stan Walker, the 2009 Australian Idol winner, from New Zealand, started singing the song - with blended English and native Maori lyrics - while on tour opening for Beyonce in 2014, as a way to pay tribute to New Zealand. In 2017, he and Seth Haapu recorded an all-Maori version. 

Last month, Stan Walker released a new version, bilingual - just like he used to sing live when opening for Beyonce.  His new album is live, with The Levites, and is available everywhere now.  

Monday, November 23, 2020

23 November 2020 - Danielle Dax - Tomorrow Never Knows

In 1990, I finally got a CD player.   The first CD I ever bought was Danielle Dax's Blast The Human Flower - a trippy synthpop excursion.  This was the first single off that album - a cover of a classic Beatles song.  

Not all of you will love this one.  I hope enough of you do to check out the rest of the Danielle Dax catalog, because she was an artist unlike any other.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

20 November 2020 - Colin Hay - Overkill

This cover actually got a little exposure when it was featured on the NBC series Scrubs.   The artist - Colin Hay - is actually the one performing the song.  

He also wrote it and performed it when he led a band called Men at Work.  This song was a pretty big hit for them - reaching #3 on the Billboard charts.  

This acoustic version, to me, sounds a lot more desperate - more longing, more pained.   It's a different song - and yet the same.     

And yes, we went with the Scrubs visualization.  Just go with it.  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

19 November 2020 - Electric Light Orchestra - Xanadu

In 1980, Olivia Newton-John was the biggest star on the planet.  So they built a musical around her called Xanadu featuring a lot of roller-skating.  

The movie was awful.  The musical based on the movie is a bit better.  

The soundtrack, a collaboration between Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra and John Farrar, who did ONJ's songwriting, was a delight and spun up a couple of hits.  This one, which appears on side two (the ELO side - Olivia's songs were on side one) in its original version, was an ELO song that featured Olivia on lead vocals (and Jeff Lynne on backup).   

This is a rerecording of the song in 2000, featuring a Jeff Lynne lead vocal.  Different vocalist, different feel, self-cover.  And it isn't bad, to be honest.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

18 November 2020 - Sam Phillips - Holding On To The Earth

Today, we are doing something very different than we have ever done before.  

We are posting the same song by the same artist on Wicked Guilty Pleasures and Totally Covered.  

We're doing this for three reasons.  First of all, this is a self-cover, and a dramatic, soulful reinterpretation.  It doesn't sound like the same song, and for that reason, it's a cover.  We've called it.  

Second, we wanted you to know that now exists and gets you to this blog.  We are no longer treating this like it's a side project.  We've done that for too long, and frankly, we started this blog because we are excited about covers, so we thought this was a great song to use to launch that.  

To learn the third reason, go here.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

17 November 2020 - Christina Aguilera - Genie 2.0

I have been debating whether or not to post this here for many years.   I did post it on Wicked Guilty Pleasures many years ago - a few months before this blog even existed.   It was one of the catalysts to create this blog, in fact.  

I mean, it's completely a self-cover.  It's HER song.  But it isn't the same song.  It's a reinterpretation.   In the interest of full disclosure, we did consider adding "Genio Atrapado" to this post, but instead edited the ORIGINAL POST to include it (please go check it out) - because it's the same song. This isn't.  

And since I decided to die on this hill yesterday, I felt it was finally time.   

This version of the song is certainly different than the original, in that it's a lot more synth-heavy, but it's also a more mature sound that suits a more mature Xtina.  

Monday, November 16, 2020

16 November 2020 - Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now

I know what you are thinking.   We ALREADY did this one.  

Well, that was one of a special edition of posts showing how many covers of that song there were.  And, of course, the most famous cover of the Tommy James and the Shondells classic - inarguably and in every way eclipsing the original - is the Tiffany version that was literally the first video on that post.   And she even revisited the song once - in 2011.  Same post.  You can go back and see both of them.  

Well, there's another chapter to this story that happened since we posted that more than seven years ago.

Holy cow.  We've been doing this for more than seven years.  

In 2019, Tiffany covered her version.  It's a reimagining of the song - with a much harder edge - not metal by any stretch, but certainly a rockin' version.  One distinction between the Tommy James version and the original Tiffany version is the audible contrast between the chorus and the verses that Tiffany ignored to give the song a younger feel (she famously originally hated it) - this version is faithful to the latter.  

The video for it is less shopping mall and more... family beach day.  Let's call it that.   There's a lot of callbacks to the original video, though - note that Gumby does make an appearance - but it's still a new song.  

Because we respect the classics, here's the first cover she did of the song - where she decisively took ownership of the song.  

Saturday, November 14, 2020

14 November 2020 - The Polyphonic Spree - Lithium

The Polyphonic Spree are a strange choice of a band to do a mostly faithful cover of a classic song.  I mean, of all the bands, why a full chorus featuring a French horn, a pretty complete strings section, and a lot of other instruments found in more orchestras than rock bands.  

Except they aren't a strange pick.  You see, the vocalist of Tthe Polyphonic Spree used to front a band called Tripping Daisy..... this band was a reaction to THAT band's guitarist suddenly dying.  It is there that you can hear the Nirvana influence (although they seem a bit more Green Day-y to me).  

What The Polyphonic Spree bring are the excitement and exuberance - they retain the spirit of the party song this truly is.  

Plus their harp player looks an awful lot like Dave Grohl.  

Thursday, November 12, 2020

12 November 2020 - Sturgill Simpson - In Bloom

Admit it, you didn't see the phrase "nature is a whore" showing up in a country song, did you?

And yet, Sturgill Simpson takes a very loud song and makes it into a sweet coming of age tune - which is exactly what the original was for him when he was 13, when, as he puts it in an interview with Rolling Stone:
I remember in seventh or eighth grade, when [Nevermind] dropped, it was like a bomb went off in my bedroom. For me, that song has always summed up what it means to be a teenager, and I think it tells a young boy that he can be sensitive and compassionate — he doesn’t have to be tough or cold to be a man.” 
He does a masterful job with his remake, because he took the time to understand Kurt Cobain's lyrics, and because it touched him deeply.  This is, to date, his only song to chart on the Billboard Country Chart, peaking at #48 in 2016.  

I don't usually open with the live performance and put a music video later, but I wanted you to SEE the emotion Simpson poured into the song before you saw the images he chose to represent the song.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

13 November 2020 - Lana Del Rey - Heart-Shaped Box

The one where Lana Del Rey sings a song about Courtney Love's vagina.

Seriously, I love her version so much - it's sublime compared to the original - but it's a little weird after Courtney said that....

11 November 2020 - No Doubt - Sliver

Any alternative band of the mid-90's is going to have been influenced in some way by Nirvana.  No doubt, No Doubt knew that.  Hence, this fine live cover.  It's a gem that shows the days before No Doubt became a bit more poppy and Gwen Stefani was not afraid to just belt a song.  

Saturday, November 7, 2020

7 November 2020 - Jessie J - Party in the U.S.A.

Today, the original Miley Cyrus version of this song reentered the charts.  The song is objectively great, and the lyrics were brilliantly written by Jessica Ellen Cornish.

Question: Isn't Jessie short for Jessica?

Answer: Why, yes, it is.  In fact, THIS is the writer performing the song she wrote, live.  

Friday, November 6, 2020

6 November 2020 - A Special Post Malone Nirvana Tribute Edition

Perhaps the biggest surprise of 2020 is the Post Malone Nirvana tribute livestream.  It's not the type of music you'd expect out of him, and yet, he does a faithful and brilliant cover many songs from the entire Nirvana catalog, from Bleach ("About A Girl" was absolutely the Bleach version although more people know it from Unplugged so that's probably why it was included; there can be no question about "School") all the way to In Utero.

I could not pick just one song, so I decided to share the entire livestream.  The livestream was performed as a benefit for the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for The World Health Organization (WHO) in support of COVID-19 relief efforts, and it is all gold.  

Thursday, November 5, 2020

5 November 2020 - A Nirvana 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Special

 Each of these covers today have two things in common:

1) They were all recorded on the same day in April 2014. 
2) They all featured Krist Novocelic, Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear

These performances were from the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction of Nirvana, and they decided to do it live with a bunch of different lead vocalists. While each are faithful covers - I mean, the backing band - none of these vocalists attempt a Kurt Cobain impersonation, and that's a good thing.  

The first one, "Lithium", from the Nevermind album, features a woman named Annie Clark who Krist Novocelic erroneously introduces as the vocalist from the BAND St. Vincent - Annie Clark IS St. Vincent - but that's not important.  What's important is that she was probably the least well-known vocalist of the lot, and this was something of a star-making performance.

Kim Gordon, on the other hand, was well-known in indie circles as a founder and member of Sonic Youth for many years.  That band broke up in 2011, but Kim Gordon didn't forget her old friends.  You see, Nirvana toured as an opening act with Sonic Youth in 1991, before Nevermind dropped and changed the world.  Gordon chose to sing the hell out of a deep cut, "Aneurysm", a B-side to......

........"Smells Like Teen Spirit".  On this night, Joan Jett - who Krist Novocelic states was NOT yet in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (but was inducted in 2015 with the Blackhearts, a year later) (The Runaways should be in the R&RHOF) - sang what is probably their best known song, and sang the hell out of it.  

This brings us to the end and Lorde.  Lorde covered "All Apologies" from the In Utero album.  It is probably the least faithful of the four covers - because, you know, accordion - and Lorde is the only one of these four singers to never walk the Earth as the same time as Kurt Cobain.  She still, like everyone else this evening, killed it.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

27 October 2020 - Lena Katina - All The Things She Said/ Ya Soshla S Uma

 Here, we are once again pushing what a cover is.  Why?  

You might recall that this song was originally recorded by Russian duo t.A.T.u.  And this is a faithful cover of the song....... by someone who was half of t.A.T.u. So, can it be considered a cover?  Here she is, performing the song live in Milwaukee.

We are calling it a cover because of the deep reinterpretation of the song Katina has recently undertaken.  This version (with the Russian lyrics) is an acoustic take on the song at a different pace.... and she truly makes the song her own.

Monday, October 26, 2020

26 October 2020 - Poppy - All The Things She Said

 Poppy has become an odd and interesting mix of pop, electronica, and metal.....

...which makes her unusually well-suited to cover the biggest international hit by Russian duo t.A.T.u, and, while making it both heavier and poppier (no pun intended), still manages to remain faithful to the original.

The story behind this cover is that it's a song Poppy has covered live for quite some time, and it was well-received - because she sings the hell out of it.  Here she is performing it several months before the single release and right before the entire world learned how to spell "COVID-19".  

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

6 October 2020 - A "Ripple" Special

Perry Farrell's voice is definitely not Jerry Garcia's, and yet this cover of a Grateful Dead classic is one of my favorite covers of all time.  This version brings a trippy, and not earthy, flavor that is wholly appropriate to the song.  

Norah Jones, on the other hand, makes the song a country standard.  I found this version to be unexpectedly appropriate as well.

I don't usually jump right into the special posts like I did, but "Ripple" is a classic song that allows us to put the spotlight on beautifully written lyrics.  There are some who believe it to be inspired by the Bible - Psalm 23, to be precise.  It's an instantly recognizable song, and one that is easy to sing along with.... as Wilco demonstrates here by turning the song into an audience sing-along.

Let's wrap up this special with an ironic cover.   The first two lines of the song are:
If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung

So it's appropriate to close this with a harp cover.  It's instrumental, but you'll be singing along.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

15 September 2020 - Lush - Hey Hey Helen

Since we posted about Lush today on Wicked Guilty Pleasures, I figured it was fitting to put a cover by them over here.  This cover, of an ABBA classic song about divorce and separating, was featured on their US debut Gala, but this version was from a Peel session, which sounds more real to me.  

In contrast, here is the more ethereal studio version, which is also good.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

3 September 2020 - The Dandy Warhols -The Last Time

The Dandy Warhols do a pretty faithful cover of Bittersweet Symphony The Last Time here.  There's not a lot to say, except that the band clearly feels a lot of influence from The Verve Rolling Stones.  

(If you want to be in on the joke, go here and read all about it)

Friday, August 28, 2020

28 August 2020 - Throwing Muses - Cry Baby Cry

Yesterday, I featured a Beatles cover by The Breeders, and I was quite clear about my two favorite bands, and how that was a dream supergroup for me.

Let me be abundantly clear.  Throwing Muses was (and is) my favorite band.  This has not changed.  Kristin Hersh has one of the most unique voices in music, and while the band is better with Tanya Donelly on guitar and 2nd vocal, they're still pretty great.  This band got me through a lot of hard times.  I take the unpopular-among-Muses-fans opinion that their 1988 album House Tornado is not only their best album, but the best album ever produced - and it is not an easy listen.  

The last single the band released before Tanya left to form Belly was the song "Not Too Soon", which featured Tanya on vocal.   This song was its B-side - a Beatles cover that had the same title as a Muses song (on their Chains Changed EP)  - and it is absolutely beautiful.  Kristin takes the clear lead vocal here, but both voices shine through - and it makes the song arguably richer than the original.  

Thursday, August 27, 2020

27 August 2020 - The Breeders - Happiness Is A Warm Gun

The Breeders originally started out as a side project from The Pixies (Kim Deal) and Throwing Muses (Tanya Donelly).  At the time, if you were to ask me what my two favorite bands were, I would quite quickly say "Throwing Muses and The Pixies".  This was my own personal supergroup!

Their first album, Pod (also featuring Josephine Wiggs from Perfect Disaster) was a lo-fi masterpiece.  Donelly left the band after Pod and the follow-up EP Safari, when she went to front Belly and the Breeders were becoming a full-time gig.....

.....but she still comes back from time to time.  This performance from 2013, of a song from Pod, is simply a good, fun time - but also a Beatles cover.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

26 August 2020 - Pseudo Echo - Funkytown

Who would have thought that a tiny little band from Australia would have a huge hit doing a quintessential disco classic? 

Who would have thought they could make it rock?

And yet that's what happened.  Pseudo Echo made Lipps Inc. rock and rock hard.  In the 1980's, it was possible to rock hard if you had a guitar, even if you also had a keytar.  


Of course they did it live.  They added a keyboardist to the keytar for some extra synth - but it still rocked hard.   

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

25 August 2020 - Little Mix - Telephone

We have featured Little Mix before on this blog.  We open with that, because they are that good.

To refresh your memory, this quartet got their start on the British television show X Factor, winning the show's 8th series in 2011.  Today's Wicked Guilty Pleasure was covered on episode 6 by this group of four talented young women, interpolating a little Queen with their Gaga.   

Tomorrow, I promise I'll feature a song that isn't on the other blog on the same day.  

Monday, August 10, 2020

10 August 2020 - Charlotte Hervieux & Doryan Ben - Into The Unknown

It feels weird to call this a cover, but it is.  Let me explain.

Clearly, Doryan Ben is a man, so he did not play Elsa in Frozen 2, so he's not an original artist, and not commissioned by Disney to perform the song.    The same CANNOT be said of Charlotte Hervieux, who sang for Elsa in both the Quebec and European French versions of the movie (and did the spoken word parts in the European version as well).  

She did not, however, originally sing it in English.  So, although we are doing this on the same day we did THIS on Wicked Guilty Pleasures - including Charlotte's French version of the song - we thought it was more appropriate to put this version here.

And it's brilliantly done.

Monday, August 3, 2020

3 Aug 2020 - Avril Lavigne - Song 2

Unlike some covers, this one is clearly a cover.

It's just weird to call it an Avril Lavigne cover. She's not singing it - she's DRUMMING.  You see, this is something she did at her shows - let her band take the lead for one song while she jammed out behind the drums.  

She's pretty good - and she's clearly enjoying herself!

And before you say - well, this is something she used to do..... she's still doing it.

Friday, July 31, 2020

31 July 2020 - Natalie Imbruglia & Scala - The Hanging Tree

This song originally appeared in the 2014 movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - and it is a huge shift in tone for the movie, if you've seen it.  It's a song that starts quietly and builds to a bombastic war chant.  

In this version, Natalie Imbruglia starts acapella, and then is joined by Belgian  women's choir Scala, followed by full orchestra.  It's a very powerful version of the song.  In this performance, they even captured the movie's feeling.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

30 July 2020 - The Loud Family - Erica's Word

It feels 100% wrong to call this a cover.

Not only did the vocalist, Scott Miller, WRITE the song, his previous band, Game Theory, originally recorded it.  The drummer for The Loud Family was the last drummer of Game Theory.  One could say that The Loud Family were nothing more than a renamed Game Theory.

One would be wrong. 

It's not the same band, and it's absolutely not the same song.  It's harder-edged, angrier and less optimistic.  The Loud Family were a less poppy band than Game Theory, and this song is the perfect illustration of that different direction. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

28 July 2020 - Aerosmith - Heartbreaker.

One classic rock icon covering another classic rock icon. This is how Aerosmith celebrated the new millennium - or at least the odometer flipping - as 1999 turned to 2000.

There's not a lot more I can say about this one - except it's one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, and it sounds here like it was tailor-made for Aerosmith.  Steven Tyler and Joe Perry bring as much energy and emotion to the song as Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

16 July 2020 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Let the Day Begin (with a Call-back)

Welcome, Wicked Guilty Pleasures readers!

This song was originally done by a band called The Call, and you can hear the original version here.  The songwriter and lead vocalist of The Call was Michael Been.

When BRMC started, their lead vocalist went by the name Robert Turner - but it wasn't his real name.  His real name was Robert Levon Been, and he is the son of Michael Been.   By the time their third album was released, he went to his given name.

Michael was very proud of his song, and in 2010, he was acting as a sound engineer at a BRMC appearance at the Pukkelpop festival in Belguim.  He suffered a fatal heart attack backstage soon after the band's appearance.

In 2013, Robert's band recorded their own version of his father's best known song, and it is a hell of a song.

That same year, The Call reformed for a couple of shows, with the younger Been on vocals.

Back to BRMC, though.  It is apparent how much it means to Robert to be playing his father's song.  It is no carbon copy, either - he makes the song his own. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

25 June 2020 - Weezer - Africa

One of the most requested covers for me to post is this one.

It was similarly frequently requested that Weezer cover this Toto classic.  It was a Cleveland teenager named Mary Klym who requested that Weezer cover "Africa" on Twitter.

On May 24th, 2018, Weezer replied by posting this song.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

24 June 2020 - René Froger & Candy Dulfer - Baker Street

René Froger is a Dutch artist who took a while to become a successful artist.

Candy Dulfer is perhaps the best known saxaphonist of the late 1980s and early 1990s. She also happens to be Dutch.

This live performance by two moderate Dutch stars is a somewhat perfect pairing - at least for this song, with perhaps the best known saxophone solo of all time.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

23 June 2020 - Veruca Salt - My Sharona

If you ask me about my ten favorite covers of all time, this one would be in the conversation, without hesitation.   One of these days, I'm going to do that post.  It's going to be a tough one.

A B-side to the single "Victrola", Nina Gordon and Louise Post bring a much slower, darker feel to this song, a huge hit for The Knack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

10 June 2020 - The Dixie Chicks - Goodbye Earl

I didn't post this because I'm a fan of Lauren Holly, Jane Krakowski and Dennis Franz - but the visuals they bring to the story this song tells.

I posted this because this might be the cheeriest song about domestic violence ever performed.  And it DOES tell a great and clear story.

And OK, zombie Dennis Franz.

I posted this because there's a great story and a controversy.

This song is a cover of a song originally recorded by country band Sons of the Desert - BUT there's a bit of a story here.  Soon after Sons of the Desert recorded the song for their planned album, the Dixie Chicks discovered the song and claimed it as their own.   Their shared record label parent company (different labels, both owned by Sony) sided with the ladies, and Sons of the Desert left Epic Records as a direct result. 

At any rate, this version is denser and more layered - so enjoy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

9 June 2020 - Instituto Mexicano del Sonido - Sinfonía Agridulce

How about a Spanish cover of a Verve classic? Complete with a vague recreation of the video and added horns, this cover makes me smile, every time.

Instituto Mexicano del Sonido - Mexican Institute of Sound in English - is the brainchild of Camilo Lara and is part of a growing Mexican electronic movement.  This cover of the Verve song "Bittersweet Symphony" appears on the 2009 album Soy Sauce, which, in the case, would be sauce asserting its identity.

I don't feel good about that terrible joke, so let's get to the music.

Monday, June 8, 2020

8 June 2020 - Kelly Willis - Little Honey

When I was a student at St. Bonaventure University, I was a college radio DJ.  I was on late night and played what was known at the time as "alternative" or "New wave" music.  It was typical college/indie music of the period.

As you know from my two blogs 1) this is where and how I met my former co-writer, Scott Colvin, and 2) I am a fan of somewhat guilty pleasure music, so I pushed the envelope of definition of that format, which was mostly met positively.

Coincidentally, I discovered an alt-county artist named Kelly Willis.  At the time, MCA Records was trying to sell her as some sexpot artist - but she was - IS - much more than that.

Take this cover of Dave Alvin's "Little Honey", which originally appeared on the soundtrack to the motion picture Thelma and Louise.  Her huge emotive voice brings a different, angrier and yet still heartbroken feeling to the song. This is a live performance from 2016, 25 years after the original version was released.

I closed almost every show I did on WSBU from 1991 on with this song.  Was it an odd choice for someone who regularly played rock, new-wave, and punk music?  Maybe.  I didn't care.  It's a beautiful song, and alternative is alternative, be it rock or country.  It resonated with me and had a good end-of-show feel. 

So, this is the last song I played as a college radio DJ.  So, for that reason and so many more, it retains a lot of personal feeling for me to this day.

Here's the studio version of the song.  It was as fantastic then as it is today, almost three decades later.

Monday, June 1, 2020

1 June 2020 - First Aid Kit - America

Over this past weekend, a lot of American cities saw protests and riots, in support of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.  We are in what seems like the darkest timeline, and between this and the coronavirus pandemic, it seems like 2020 is never-ending.

I struggled with what to post here.

I chose to go with a cover of a very innocent and idealistic Simon & Garfunkel song that celebrates the beauty of our country and the idealism of youth.  The cover is performed by two Swedish sisters, Johanna & Anna Söderberg, and they do a fine job of paying proper tribute to Paul Simon's composition. 


Monday, May 11, 2020

11 May 2020 - Royal Teeth - Heartbeats

I don't usually revisit the same song so frequently as this one - recall that I published a folk cover of this song by The Knife about two week ago - unless I'm doing a whole theme week.

This song is different.  So many artists have their own unique and really good takes on what was originally a synth-heavy song, it's impossible to ignore.

Royal Teeth started off in folk, actually.  By the time they got around to recording "Heartbeats" in 2012, they were a percussion-heavy band - and it shows in their take of the song, which borrows heavily from both the José González and original version - while still making it completely their own.

It is, possibly, my favorite version of the song.

This cover is so good I had to publish a 2nd performance of it.  It isn't all that different from the 1st one, but it's beautifully undetatched, in stark contrast to the original, which has famously and intentionally cold.  Royal Teeth also bring a lot more energy to the song than anyone else - it's not quiet or calm.  It's desperate and pleading.

Friday, May 8, 2020

8 May 2020 - KONGOS - Tokoloshe Man

When a musician has four sons, of course they're going to form a band and cover his songs.

They do a great job paying tribute to their dad, John Kongos, who was a bit of a late hippie who had a few hits in the 1970's - and they even throw in a little accordion to liven things a bit.

Monday, May 4, 2020

4 May 2020 - Ween - Ohio

ON this 50th anniversary of the Kent State massacre, there's no other song to play.

Ween, known for being off-kilter, do an amazingly and unexpected straight reading of this song.

If you aren't familiar with the original, or the story, it's over here on Wicked Guilty Pleasures.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

30 April 2020 - Glen Campbell - Hold On Hope

I never expected that Glen Campbell would do a Guided by Voices cover.  But this song - which we featured in its original version on Wicked Guilty Pleasures five years ago - is a perfect fit for the feel Campbell was seeking.

You see, Ghost on the Canvas was meant to be his farewell album.  This song - about the hope that everyone holds on to - was perfect for him, as he was struggling with Alzheimer's and the end of her career.  He brings a different sadness than the one Robert Pollard brought to the original - this one is a less dark sadness, one of hope and resignation, and not of despair.

By the way, he recorded two more albums.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

28 April 2020 - José González - Heartbeats

This song was originally performed by a Swedish electronic duo called The Knife.   Nicely, they were able to stay anonymous for many years.  Until 2009, that is - when José González released an acoustic version of the song that reached #9 on the UK charts.

Here's the video for the song.  It brings warmth and sadness to a song that was a purposefully and beautifully cold breakup song, and still the song works!!

Sony used this version of the song in a commercial - and that sparked interest in the original by The Knife - so they lost their anonymity and took to wearing Venetian bird masks.  I include the bouncing ball video - the Sony Bravia commercial that caused all this trouble,

Monday, April 27, 2020

27 April 2020 - A Brazilian "Stay" Special

Today on Wicked Guilty Pleasures, we feature the Oingo Boingo song, "Stay".  This song was not a huge hit in the United States... but it WAS in Brazil, where it was used in a telenovela named Top Model.

So, this is a song Brazilian artists want to cover.

Take Tallene, from São Paulo .  This one departs wildly from the sound of the original - making the sweet rock song into a metal anthem.  They also seem to be interested in making a video that's more than a performance piece - but that ran into a snag.

Paradox decided to go a little more traditional in their reading.  Paradox are a band from Novo Hamburgo, in Brazil - and they do admirable job covering this song.


Not to be outdone, Tonantes Verdes Fritos have a cover of their own.  Hailing from Ribeirão Preto, I think, this faster tempo version accomplishes something even Danny Elfman couldn't - proper annunciation of the lyrics.  Or did you think it was a cat show with prizes at the door, like I did for years?

Let's flip it a little bit.  Here's Rock'n Coaster, from São Paulo, with a female singing the song.  It gives the song a slightly different feel, doesn't it?

Hot Rocks is also from São Paulo, and they bring this post full circle - back to the party band vibe that Oingo Boingo brought in the first place.

However, you know us.  We hate leaving perfect circles.  Liga Joe, from Goiânia, also have a cover of this song - and it's less party and more straight-ahead power rock.   It's different, but still valid...... and they capture the orginal's outro really well!

The song is just a well known song in Brazil.  This performance by Vintage Cult illustrates that well - the crowd is singing along!


You got this far.  Now go listen to the original on Wicked Guilty Pleasures.

Friday, April 17, 2020

17 April 2020 - Seven Boots - Peter Gunn

You know that totally adorable thing that I like to do - feature small bands you've never heard of ?

Here's a clearly Jethro Tell-inspired version of Peter Gunn to finish your week.  Performed live by German band Seven Boots (go to to learn more about them) , it features a lead flutist. 

I love this.  That's all I can really say about that.  I hope you do, too!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

16 April 2020 - The Cramps - Peter Gunn

Now, let's take this Peter Gunning to the next level.

I firmly believe that this cover - released by the Cramps in 1997, but really released as a Poison Ivy guitar showcase (no Lux Interior to be seen) - is a cover of the Art of Noise version we published two days ago, and not of the original Henry Mancini version.

Either way, Poison Ivy OWNS this song on guitar.  The Cramps are a perfect band to cover this song, combining punk and surf sounds regularly, primarily because of her guitar work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

15 April 2020 - Emerson, Lake And Palmer - Peter Gunn

This week was originally supposed to be a Henry Mancini tribute week.  I found so many covers of Peter Gunn that I couldn't resist.

What happens when Henri Mancini's class meets prog rock?  The answer, of course, is this ELP cover of his classic.   It's interesting to hear so much keyboard in a song that is clearly guitar-driven.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

14 April 2020 - The Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy - Peter Gunn

You think you have this week's theme figured out? 

Two days, two Peter Gunn covers, each very different. Duane Eddy is well known for covering this song in the 1960's - in the 1980's, he teamed up with avant-garde group Art of Noise to bring together the worlds of surf guitar and electronic experimentation.  Doesn't sound like a good combination, does it?  It works.

Tune in tomorrow to see if your guess is right.

Monday, April 13, 2020

13 April 2020 - The Jody Grind - Peter Gunn

This cover is a bit of a revelation.  Who knew that this song even had lyrics?

In its original version, it didn't.  Henry Mancini wrote it without lyrics, in support of the television series of the same name.

In the 1960, Jay Livingston & Ray Evans added lyrics.  This version was originally recorded by Sarah Vaughan - in this version, the song is called Bye-Bye. The Jody Grind - an Atlanta band that released two albums in the early 1990's but disbanded when two of their members were killed in a car crash - covered THAT.  Kelly Hogan's huge, soulful voice completely dominates the tune, and that's a good thing! 

Friday, April 10, 2020

10 April 2020 - Fine, it's Pink ft. Platonic Scale - Teen Spirit (Dreaming of Nirvana) | Fine, it's Pink - This Feeling

I've been a fan of Fine, It's Pink for years.  They've gone back and forth between original music and covers throughout their career.   Although they're Romanian, they primarily record in English - and have a unique, ethereal-but-heavy song not unlike the feel of early Cocteau Twins. 

Ioana Lefter isn't Kurt Cobain, and that's OK - a Nirvana impersonation doesn't do this song justice.  The band teamed with Victor Mihailescu (Platonic Scale) to give the song a darker, modern feel. 

Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, even in Romania, the band is separated.  That doesn't mean they aren't making new music.....    This is a cover of the Alabama Shakes song "This Feeling" that the band recorded in multiple locations, separated, and released to their Facebook page - please give them a like. 

This might be my favorite song of the moment - both in its original version and this cover.  I think the lyrics nicely capture what a lot of us are feeling right now. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

8 April 2020 - A Cover Me Canada Sundown Special

The video for this was filmed at midnight, in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.... so there was no sundown.  But a Canadian band covering a Canadian classic seemed just too perfect today.

The video itself was made by folk group Come Eat A Cat as an audition tape for a Canadian reality competition in which they could cover one of four Canadian songs.  Don't worry.  I'll be featuring the other three songs soon.... but there were so MANY solid covers of this song that we had to start here.

There were so many good covers that were so different we couldn't help but feature a second.  Valley
are decidedly NOT a folk group - representing my favourite province, Alberta (they're from St. Albert, Canadian friends).

So I don't get shit from my Ontario friends, here's a Toronto band covering Sundown....

..although, for my money, the Credit Valley metal take from Ontario was a little better.

In researching this post, I heard a LOT of really bad covers of this song.  I won't be sharing them..... Honestly, I didn't expect this post to become a tour of Canada... but sometimes, the posts go where they want to go.

Here's a band from British Columbia - Vancouver, to be precise. - to finish up.  High Society goes all Postmodern Jukebox with a horned-up hip-hop take.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

7 April 2020 - Foo Fighters - Never Talking To You Again

Hüsker Dü originated this very simple song - originally written by the late Grant Hart - and Dave Grohl does an admirable job covering it. 

The song itself is very simple - it's performed only on guitar, with no additional accompaniment - and yet still stays pretty faithful to the original (which did feature Hart and Bob Mould together on vocals and guitar).

Monday, March 30, 2020

30 March 2020 - Joan Osborne - One of Us

"One of Us"

That's the whole title.

What you did NOT know is that this song was originally written and performed by Eric Bazilian, who is best known for his work as a member of The Hooters.  However, he recorded it as a demo and hid it as a hidden track on his debut solo album (and The Hooters have performed the song as well since).

Bazilian was part of the songwriting team that worked on Osborne's debut album, Relish, and he ended up playing his demo for this quick little song he wrote to impress a girl - and she asked to record the song. 

The song went on to win several Grammys, so right choice, Eric!

The song expounds on the imagery of man being created in God's image - and some found it to be a little sacrilegious - which, of course, missed the point of this beautiful song.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

26 March 2020 - Hole - Gold Dust Woman

I was not sure I would like this version of "Gold Dust Woman" before I heard it. 

Wow, was I wrong. Courtney Love brings even more anger to an already angry classic, owning it herself - and this was originally from the genius of Stevie Nicks!!!! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

25 March 2020 - Patty Loveless - Don't Toss Us Away

This song, a very faithful cover of a Lone Justice ballad, is full of emotion and poignancy.   She became a really big star, but in 1989, she was a rising star of country music, and this song - written by original vocalist Maria McKee's BROTHER - fit well with her vocal range and her sound - a fact even McKee admitted to Loveless personally during the recording session for this song.

Anyway, it was a top five hit for Loveless.  And it is beautifully performed.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

6 February 2020 - fIREHOSE - Walking The Cow

When the album Flyin' The Flannel came out, I never did think this sounded like a fIREHOSE song.  I just thought it was Mike Watt being econo or something. 

Turns out it was a cover of a Daniel Johnston song.  Inspired by a Blue Bell ice cream wrapper, the late Johnston recorded the original on a tape recorder in his Austin home.  This version is only slightly more hi-fi than that - replacing chord organ with boom stick - and a fitting tribute.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

5 February 2020 - Shawn Colvin - Crazy

I first heard this amazingly understated cover several years ago.... but I forgot about it......

Saturday, February 1, 2020

3 February 2020 - Dana Williams and Leighton Meester - Dreams

Let's not bury the lede.  Yes.  That's Blair Waldorf singing a Fleetwood Mac cover.  And playing a guitar.  We're having some trouble reconciling that with the thing she did with Cobra Starship and especially the thing she did with Robin Thicke, but this is really good

We kid.  We know Leighton Meester can sing.  Anyone who saw Country Strong knows this.

I also don't want to ignore Dana Williams, who is equally strong on this track.  She's not as well known as her co-singer (having been in an Apple commercial and the reality show Rising Star) but that's not a reflection of her talent, as the two ladies harmonize quite well.

1 February 2020 - R.E.M. - Wichita Lineman

I know, it's been awhile.  I'm glad to be back at this.

Many of you know my favorite song is "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell.  I said as much here.  It's become more meaningful to me as I have aged. 

"Wichita Lineman" was a song by Jimmy Webb, written for Campbell but also recorded by Webb.  This version, for an R.E.M. concert film, is a beautiful and haunting version of an already beautiful and haunting song.  This version captures the simplicity of the song as well.