I like collecting cover versions. I’ve said before: Remakes = good, copies = bad. To me this applies to films, television and music; all adaptations. They should be the same but different. There’s a cover going around at the moment of Paramore covering the Kings of Leon song Use Somebody, embedded below, which The Guardian described as a ‘romantic down-to-earth studio performance‘.[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pxqer3hYjo]
I suppose that’s what I look for in a cover. A distinction. A different angle. Something new that maybe even the original artist didn’t see in there.
So I thought I might put up some of my favourite cover versions that do this well, but just thinking about it, I thought up so many that I figured I’m best limiting it to five and then (if I remember) I’ll do another five next week until I run out of stuff I want to share.
I’d proably be best doing this thematically somehow but I’m far too lazy for that so what I’ve decided to do for this week are Songs Originally Sung By Men Covered By Women (SOSBMCBW)… I will try and do better next week, and suggestions are welcome, nae, suggestions are encouraged, in the comments.
1) You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) – Thea Gilmore and Mike Cave (orig. Dead or Alive)
Thea Gilmore. Wow. I remember the first time I heard Thea Gilmore, I must have been 15, I was in the car with my father and the radio was on (I think it was Radio 2) and they were featuring her album Avalanche (brilliant record), and I was immediated captured by her sultry voice and sharp lyrics. And it that voice which turns this cheesy 80s anthem into something else – Thea Gilmore makes it delicate, needy and erotic. Images of Pete Burns melt anyway and all I can hear is this lust-riddled ballad. Mmm.[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUVYj0ahHOw]
2) Light My Fire – Shirley Bassey (orig. The Doors)
Another classic song. I’m not a die hard Bassey fan I’ll admit but there is is no doubt that there’s a lot of power in that voice. And there’s something so campy and theatrical about this that I just can’t resist. There’s no movement in this video because I opted for the recorded version over live recordings as I think it sounds superior – she speeds it up live – though her backing dancers do put on a performance.
3) How Deep Is Your Love? – The Bird and The Bee (orig. Bee Gees)
This time it’s the original I’m not that keen on. I remember my Dad playing Bee Gees records and it used to drive me nuts (particularly because, for the most part, I like my parents’ taste in music but Bee Gees… really?!) however when I heard this version, it was the first The Bird and The Bee track I heard, and it just seemed so sweet and tender and romantic – it just sort of clicked for me. I realised that whereas I didn’t like the vocals before, lyrically it was lovely. So I hope you enjoy this track, just ignore the weird choice in dress and occasional sudden arm movement…[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8DAP_zl9Cw]
4) Rich Girl – Danielle Ate The Sandwich (Orig: Hall and Oates)
I can honestly say that Hall and Oates are part of the musically legacy my father passed on that I love (and I think my mother still doesn’t understand fully of either of us) but I love them – dozens of their songs would get into my ‘Favourite Songs of All Time’ list, and this is definately one of them. What I don’t know is how I stumbled upon Danielle Ate The Sandwich, it was either looking for covers of this song or else looking for ukelele music and, either way, I saw a description of it and thought ‘wow, 2 plus 2 equal epic win!’. Rich Girl is already an upbeat song but Danielle, with her ukelele and (now no-so) surprise interlude (I didn’t mention – I love it when two songs are mixed up, be it like this, a mashup, a remix, whatever… though in this I just found it a bit bizarro), manages to make it even more fun and silly. Nina Simone has also done a great cover of this which I can’t seem to find online.[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZoqsfFGGPY]
5) Hot in Herre – Jenny Owen Youngs (orig. Nelly)
I am a sucker for women who cover rap or RnB type songs. I think it’s because so often those songs they cover try to appear so wrapped up in machismo and badassery (not that women can’t be badass) but when you listen to this it’s more gentle, more playful. Jenny Owen Youngs has this intensely sweet voice but when she’s clever and wry even when she sings with sadness and remorse (see Fuck Was I) so it’s nice to see her having some plain old fun. I know I’d love to be rocking out in an igloo with Jenny Owen Youngs, a polar bear and penguin – hey, it’s a fantasy, it can be as non-canon as I please…[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIYKPjalb6Q]
So that’s five for this week, see you soon folks? If you have your own favourite SOSBMCBW, please let me know in the comments.