hits and misses

They did it their way: “The Telegraph‘s music critics select the 50 best cover versions ever recorded”

This list gets some things wrong: Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” is much better than his cover of U2’s “One.” The Bangles doing “Hazy Shade of Winter”? Give me a break! Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” over John Cale’s version? Wrong.

Meanwhile, what about Tori Amos’ version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” or the Sundays doing the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”?


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9 thoughts on “hits and misses

  1. I’ll take Buckley over Cale, but “Hurt” over “One.” The Indigo Girls’ cover of “Midnight Train to Georgia” always makes me sniffly (though I think it’s only available as a live track). And I think Metallica — of whom I’m normally not a fan — did a good job of “Tuesday’s Gone,” which shocked the pants right offa me. Snake River Conspiracy does an elegant, chilly, brutal version of “How Soon Is Now?” that begs one to dance until one has forgotten one’s own name.
    Other covers that often make my list for entertainment purposes are Faith No More’s “Easy” and Fountains of Wayne’s “Baby One More Time.”

  2. Satisfaction Along the Watchtower

    George points to The Telegraph’s list of 50 best cover versions. The list is reasonable, and not overly weighted toward recent songs, as such lists generally are. But Devo’s version of “Satisfaction” definitely deserved to be ranked higher.

  3. I *love* Johnny Cash’s cover of “One,” but, yeah, his cover of “Hurt” is transcendent. I’m with you on the Sundays’ cover of “Wild Horses,” but rather liked the Bangles’ take on Paul Simon, if only because it took the song in a new direction.
    I’m a little cranky about the rankings, too. Pet Shop Boys over Johnny Cash. Umm, not really. So this begs the question: what’s the worst cover song ever?

  4. Cover Me

    George and Jim point to the Telegraph’s list of 50 greatest cover versions ever recorded. Both George and Jim note that the list (with a few exceptions) is pretty good, in that it’s not overly weighted towards contemporary songs, and…

  5. Totally with you on Cash’s cover of “Hurt.” But what about Tori Amos’ cover of “Time”? Seems like nobody ever mentions that one.

  6. The Mavericks do a nice version of Springsteen’s “All That Heaven Will Allow.” This afternoon, I heard Bryan Ferry doing Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and liked it.
    I’d like to hear the Tori Amos album that features all covers (including “Time”). I’d also like to hear the Cat Power covers record.
    Tom Waits doing “Sea of Love” is sublime.
    John Wesley Harding did a solo acoustic version of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” that they used to play on the radio in Atlanta, and it was great.

  7. Tori Amos’ “Strange Little Girls” and Annie Lennox’s “Medusa” are both wonderful cover albums. If you don’t have SLG, you should run out and get it.
    And we can’t forget Nirvana’s cover of the Meat Puppets’ “Lake of Fire.”

  8. Nothing better to me when it comes to covers than the great Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Everything they do is a cover, for cryin’ out loud! You just can’t beat a cover of “Who Put The Bomp?” “Uptown Girl” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – those songs are now actually listenable to me once I heard MF&GG do it.
    But nothing upon nothing rocks more than The Ramones cover of “Spiderman”….

  9. Emmylou Harris records a lot of songs by other people, now that I think about it. Two of my favorites are her take on Springsteen’s “Racing in the Streets” and Hendrix’s “May This Be Love.”

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