I remain unashamed by my musical tastes but there is a quirk in there which has recently surfaced. Regardless of the genre into which they are dragged, I do have a love of cover versions. At the moment Mark Ronson’s album, Version, seems to float to the top of my playlist. The reworking on Toxic, originally by Britney Spears, a favourite, closely followed by a version of one of my favourite Radiohead tracks, Just.
Previously, cover versions were the remit of live acts and the occasional B-Side. However, in the past few years, and this may just be because I’m starting to notice them, there have been a spate of entire albums of cover versions. Particularly of note are the Nouvelle Vague albums, taking punk tracks and reworking them into lounge acts with a little sprinkling of je ne sais quois, and the Johnny Cash American Recordings albums.
But what is the appeal?
For me it’s similar to hearing a track played live, hearing, sometimes for the first time, a distinct nuance or the use of a specific instrument. Such things are sometimes only revealed during a live gig, with the sound mix adjusted and the volume playing a significant part, or perhaps the arrangement is different, there are a variety of reasons I guess.
Anyway, I’ve started compiling a list of my favourite cover versions:
- I Will Survive – Cake (original by Gloria Gaynor)
- Feeling Good – Muse (original by Nina Simone)
- Wind Cries Mary – Jamie Cullum (original by Jimi Hendrix)
- Heart beats – Jose Gonzalez (original by The Knife)
- Just can’t get enough – Nouvelle Vague (original by Depeche Mode)
- Just – Mark Ronson (original by Radiohead)
- You were always on my mind – Pet Shop Boys (original by Elvis)
- Personal Jesus – Johnny Cash (original by Depeche Mode)
Of course, I’m not the only person to come up with a list of best cover versions, but I’m sure you all have some suggestions.
So, have at it, the comments are open, what’s your favourite cover version?