Best of 2012: Top 12 Cover Versions

Covers are such an important part of all artists repertoire, think of how rock was born, as covers of blues and country songs, look at Elvis early songs, look at the early Beatles and Stones albums, dominated by covers, Led Zeppelin were big on covers as is Joan Jett too and Springsteen’s live shows have always had a healthy dose of covers..

It’s important that all up and coming bands learn cover songs, it will help their live show, it will help their songwriting too.. So i’ve picked out some very nice covers for your enjoyment…and the podcast will have some clips of all of the songs, seek them out and buy the complete versions! covers 2012

and these are all versions the public would have had access to, not live performances at a random show…. so let’s go…

Number 12: Cherie Currie Roxy Roller  Cherie’s new album is due out in 2013 and we were given a sampler of 4 tracks, featuring backing from Slash, Matt Sorum, Duff Mckagan, Billy Corgan and others, i really dug this version of the long forgotten Sweeney Todd song, which featured Nick Gilder on Vocals, later covered by Suzy Quatro… but i’m liking Cherie’s New version the best of all three…

Number 11: Giovanni Hendriksen My Kind of Town  Steven Van Zandt in character as a mobster in the witness protection program, singing Sinatra and changing the lyrics from “Chicago is” to “Lillehammer is”  works for me and it will work for you too.

Number 10: Gaslight Anthem You Got Lucky Brian Fallon and the crew have all done some cool covers, including a Bon Iver cover that came out last month, but i like this one of the Petty song best, but it does leave me both frustrated and hopeful. Frustrated that of all the Petty songs that this band can really nail, they chose this one, but hopeful that maybe they’ll go back to this same Petty album and try to tackle Change of Heart, or Deliver Me, or The Same Old You or Straight into Darkness, yeah, Gaslight could really nail all of those. Let’s hope they try.

Number 9: The Civil Wars Billie Jean Joy Williams and John Paul White really kick ass on the harmonies of this song that is slowed down considerably compared to the Michael Jackson version, with a very cool guitar riff that if sped up could almost be reggae. No version could ever top the original, right? Then again, perhaps maybe this might.

Number 8: Wendy James It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding I’ll admit these two things, i was in a record store in the late 80’s and there was a 12inch single with a smoking hot half naked girl on the cover, i bought it only because of the picture (it was $1.99), the record was better than the picture, and i then would buy every album and single by Transvision Vamp and Wendy James and loved them all. The second thing I’ll admit is that i rolled my eyes when this 7 minute cover of the Bob Dylan classic crossed my desk. Ok, yes she has done great versions of Holly and the Italians and even Elvis Costello songs, but Dylan? and of all the Dylan songs this one? But you know what, it delivers, it’s different than this song has ever been done and when you take all that politically is still polarizing our world, the lyrics and sentiment of this masterpiece still hits home.

Number 7: Superchunk Cruel Summer  How cool is it when a rock band covers a pop hit and gives it some juice. Superchunk does that here and even Bananarama would be impressed, i think? now hopefully someone will punk up Robert Deniro’s Waiting next.

Number 6: Amanda Palmer Polly  There are not enough adjectives to describe Amanda Palmer, but if you forced to come up with two, i’d go with Enjoyable Insanity, because you think it’s crazy, and it probably it is, but it’s so much fun. The most popular skit on SNL this year was the girl you don’t want to get stuck at a party with, Amanda is the opposite, she’s the one, you want to talk to, and maybe she’ll break into a Nirvana cover.

Number 5: Shannon and the Clams White Rabbit Kinda Cool when an Oakland band crosses the bay literally and musically to cover one of the most important songs of the Haight-Ashbury movement. This is a stellar take on the Jefferson Airplane classic.

Number 4: Mike Doughty Southern Girls Mike Doughty released a covers album this year called The Flip is Another Honey, and i’m torn between this Cheap Trick cover or the John Denver cover that features Roseanne Cash, so they both make the list… 

Number 3: Mike Doughty Take Me Home Country Roads 

Number 2:  Girl in a Coma Heatwave Girl in a Coma are no strangers to fantastic covers, and when JCPenney commissioned them to do this song for a commercial, they learned it in an hour and recorded it in one take and the result was glorious.

Number 1: The Twylight Zones Ride on, Baby Here’s a recipe for spectacular: a little known Jagger-Richards gem, played by Jersey shore guitar slinger Bobby Bandiera, with the rhythm section of the E Street Band: Garry Tallent on Bass and Max Weinberg on Drums, plus Steven Van Zandt on guitar and producing and arranging, with John Magaro on vocals, from the soundtrack of Not Fade Away. This will blow you away and will have you seeking out the Stones version (it’s on the album Flowers)

click on the link, not the player to listen…

covers 2012




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