Cover tunes running rampant

Sixpence None The Richer’s new song is a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

Counting Crows (with background help from Vanessa Carlton, I believe) are covering that Joni Mitchell song (that Amy Grant once covered) about paving paradise and putting in a parking lot.

The Dixie Chicks have a pretty big hit with a cover of Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

Just coincidentally, one of my favorite songs on Vanessa Carlton’s album is a cover of “Paint It Black.”

Are these all coincidences? Are cover hits the next trend? Or have they always been there, but I’m just noticing them now?



10 Responses to “Cover tunes running rampant”

  1. JLK
    27. February 2003 at 10:11

    They’ve always been there. I think they become more noticable when one’s knowledge of music history expands.

    Remember when Tiffany had that #1 hit with her version of “I Think We’re Alone Now”? I recall the younger kids saying “Wow, what a great original song!” and those of us who knew better were saying, “Uhmm …. “

    Heck, the Beatles (whom the aforementioned Tiffany also butchered their song, “I Saw Her (Him) Standing There”) were generators of cover songs.

    I have often wondered at what point does the general pop(ular) music listening/purchasing audience NOT recognize the song as a cover song, and think, “hey, this is pretty good, this artist came up with a decent original song.” Example: I don’t know the female singer, but the one who recently did that dreadful dancepoppy version of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven.” NO ONE in my workplace was aware that Adams had hit #1 with that song back in 1985, nor did any of those who actively listened to music back then even remember it (well, then again, it is a pretty forgetable song, imo).

    Of course, just to prove what a retard I am, I honestly was not aware that the Dixie Chicks were doing that version of “Landslide” … every time I heard it on the radio, I thought, “wow, Fleetwood Mac released some alternate version!” … (actually, I thought it was from that live album they did a few years ago)

    Cover tunes, for me, only really work if they are a different interpretation, and not a note-by-note inflection-by-inflection imitation of the original. While not my kind of music, the aforementioned cover of “Heaven” worked for me because it was so different, musically, from the original. A better example: Tori Amos’ cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

    Rambling mode off.

  2. Larry O. Grand
    27. February 2003 at 10:47

    And then there’s Bruce Springsteen, who has been covered more than any artist that I am aware, to the point that there are no less than FIVE commercial CDs compiling all of these oddball renditions … from “Cover Me” (har), the best collection of them all, to Sub Pop’s “Badlands,” a tribute to the “Nebraska” album, most of the songs done in the acoustic style of that masterpiece, to the somewhat mediocre “A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen,” which Ronnie Spector’s warbling “Brilliant Disguise” cannot save.

    Say, just had a thought … Springsteen originally wrote “Fire,” which was recorded and released by Robert Gordon AND the Pointer Sisters, and “Because the Night,” which was recorded and released by Patty Smith. So when Springsteen “officially” released versions of these songs, for the first time, on his “Live 1975-85″ album, was he covering the versions originally done by Gordon/Pointer Sisters and Smith? Since those artists “officially” released the songs before Springsteen, do they count as covers?

  3. Horatio Melba
    27. February 2003 at 10:50

    Don’t forget that Tori Amos also recorded a fine version of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” … hey Augie, you like them piano playin’ lasses, eh … try Tori Amos on for size sometime, if you haven’t already …

  4. cal
    27. February 2003 at 11:48

    I never heard of these covers before you mentioned them, maybe this could be a regular column, Cover Watch or something. Anyhoo, foreign countries love covers too, in Mexico sometimes you get at least three different versions if they really like the song. A pop version, a country version (with accordion),and a ballad version (slow). Sometimes that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  5. Damien
    27. February 2003 at 20:48

    Joni Mitchell’s song would be “Big Yellow Taxi.”

    U2 also do a good cover of “Paint It Black.” (As well as Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love,” Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” and probably a whole lot more that escape my memory at this time.)

    But if you’re talking about covers, nothing beats Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

  6. Brandon Stenger
    27. February 2003 at 21:29

    U2 has done some fine covers – I think that my favorite would have to be Cole Porter’s Night & Day. That was awesome.

    Another excellent cover was Reel Big Fish’s version of a-ha’s Take On Me.

    Even more fun is going to a concert and hearing covers played live. The Dead were huge into this – playing lots of Dylan, Beatles and tons of classic rock covers.

  7. BronteJD
    28. February 2003 at 10:52

    Just as an agreement – I think Vanessa Carlton’s Paint it Black is the best song on the CD, and the one song that keeps me coming back to the CD over and over again. :)

  8. John
    28. February 2003 at 11:52

    U2! Did someone call my name?

    They’ve covered:

    Fortunate Son
    Paint It Black
    Satelite of Love
    Won’t Get Fooled Again (Live)
    Night and Day
    Everlasting Love
    Unchained Melody
    Dancing Barefoot
    Helter Skelter (Live)

    I know I’m foregtting some.

  9. Tim O'Shea
    1. March 2003 at 00:59

    My current favorite cover versions are Johnny Cash’s covers of
    Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt (one of the best music videos in years also)
    as well as his cover of
    Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus

    As a longtime Finn family/Split Enz/Crowded House fan, I was delighted the other night when some show (Smallville I believe) played the Sixpence’s CH cover tune

    Along those lines, you should hear Sarah Mclachlan’s cover of XTC’s Dear God from several years back.

    Covers are the best.

  10. U2
    5. July 2004 at 12:26

    You should check out

    There is a link to the new U2 song clip! (since you seem to like U2)