Friday, December 23, 2016

23 December 2016 - A Very Bittersweet Christmas

One of my favorite songs of all time is "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve.  Legally, it's considered a cover.  No,  really: Jagger/Richards are credited because it was ruled that Richard Ashcroft lifted the violin rift from a cover of the Rolling Stone's song "The Last Time" by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra.  Judge that for yourself here:

But we aren't here to talk about that.  We're here to talk about covers of that "cover".

I'll start with this live version, from the Live 8 show, by Coldplay.  They did get a special guest star to help them perform it - Richard Ashcroft, the songwriter and original vocalist - but Chris Martin's vocal makes it a duet!  And it works!

This John Mayer version of the tune strips out the violins, making it a little less rich, but he sings it with a lot more emotion than Richard Ashcroft.  It's a different song, but it still works for me. 

Let's now fly over to Austria, where we meet the band DAWA, who were the 2015 EuroVision entry for Austria.  EuroVision is a beautiful thing.... but can we talk about that squeezebox that the woman in the band is playing?  What is that?  Still, it combined with the toy xylophone make a nice replacement for the strings in the "original".  And yes, there are still strings in this version, too!

We next fly over to Australia, not to be confused with Austria, where we meet string group Stringspace.  This is a complete string reading of the song.  One of the violins acts as the "vocalist", replacing Richard Ashcroft!  Still, it's pretty damned cool.

That video above was posted on Aug 2nd.  The very next day, Stringspace posted this VERY DIFFERENT version of the same song.  This time, the string quartet was mostly replaced by a guitarist.  In this version, the violin still replaces Richard Ashcroft, but also covers for some of the original strings as well, with the guitar covering rhythm and the rest of the backup instruments.  It's a very pared-down version of the tune, which is interesting to here juxtaposed next to the version above.

I saved the best cover for last.

Let's forget for a minute that it's translated into Spanish. Very faithfully.

Let's forget that the original video is pretty well reenacted, complete with the vocalist being a dick. 

They sure are getting a lot of noise out of the toy trumpet and concertina, aren't they?

This is a brilliant cover. 

Let's end this post with that original "cover".  The song is amazing, no matter how you slice it.  Richard Ashcroft built a beautiful work of art.

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