Top 10 Cover Songs
By Johnny Dwinell
Kelly and I are so busy with the marketing and record production duties of Daredevil Production, we don’t get that much of a chance to listen to cool new music. Enter my cool brother-in-law Randy Ahrens. Randy is an unusual music consumer, in fact, he is what I have referred to in previous posts as a “Local Tastemaker” and statistically he represents a VERY miniscule part of the music marketplace with regards to purchasing and behavior, but he is extremely influential. He goes looking specifically for new music on a regular basis via all those crazy algorithm widgets the different music sites use to “market” new music i.e. the “rabbit hole” and “if you like this then you’ll like this” etc.. He’s the guy you grew up with who had all the cool new records and turned you on to all the music that shapes your life. Randy is to his friends and family what Thom Doucette was to Gregg and Duane Allman; Thom always had the cool records and to some degree shaped the Allman Brothers Band sound by exposing the brothers to the artists that would become their primary influences.
Whenever our family gets together, Randy and I try to find a little “geek out” time where we turn each other on to the music we have; he shows me new bands and tracks, I show him what Kelly and I have been producing. This last week, up in WI, Randy and I got into a discussion about lame cover song recordings (you may remember my post “How to Record a Cover”) In it I encouraged artists to be creative and to avoid the lame artistic act of “re-recording” of a cover song copping the exact same licks, tracks, BGV;s, feel, vibe, etc. Well Randy turned me on to some covers that were not necessarily released in 2013 but I was certainly turned on to them last week. So here is a list of the top 10 cover songs (that I was turned on to by Randy this year, LOL). Check these bands out, very interesting and CERTAINLY artistic!
Top 10 Cover Songs
- Ring of Fire – Social Distortion – When you record a cover, especially a well known cover/mega hit song you better bring something different to the table. Listen to this track and you can definitely hear the stylistic influence of the band. Yes it’s a heavier version, but it’s so “Social Distortion” and cool it works.
- Sweet Child ‘O’ Mine – Luna – This track rocks. The vibe is totally different. The feel is different. The vocal is an octave lower and clearly the singer took some artistic license with regards to melody and phrasing and decidedly DIDN’T try to cop any of W. Axl Rose’s vocal licks which is refreshing. Also note that the band eliminated the break down “Where Do We Go Now” portion of the song, it’s these kinds of structural and sometimes melodic artistic licenses that make a cover special
- All Mixed Up – Red House Painters – Wow, this version really spotlights the desperation in the lyrics…it’s almost hard to believe it was a pop song. I dug this band so much, I listened to more and the Red House Painters CRUSHED it with this next cover.
- Long Distance Runaround – Red House Painters – Once again, the Red House Painters bring a very different perspective to a very popular song. So creative and cool.
- Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughn – ok so I definitely knew about this cover, but it came up in my conversation with Randy this last week. This was just such a good idea and so well done, I had to include it.
- Stairway to Heaven – Stanley Jordan – While we’re on the subject of instrumental versions of popular songs, here is a great one with Stanley Jordan. Enjoy it.
- Solitary Man – Crooked Fingers – This is an interesting interpretation, completely different! Mostly Banjo and a horn section…crazy. Great song by Neil Diamond.
- Miss You – Mirwais – This is a killer version of this classic. TOTALLY Different! I enjoyed this immensely! Have fun!
- Raspberry Beret – Hindu Love Gods – This track features Warren Zevon on vocals and the members of R.E.M. in the band. Here is where you can get away with almost any instrumental arrangements if your vocalist is stylistic enough to make people forget about the original track!
- Any William Shatner Cover – You either like this or hate this, but this is a very strong example of someone bringing their very stylistic approach to some killer songs and making an effort to create a vastly different perspective.
With any cover song, the most important part of the equation is YOU as an artist!! Not how well you can cop the original tracks man! Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! May you all get closer to your dream in 2014!
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