Brandon's Notepad

February 8, 2011

Notable Covers

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Cover songs. Cover bands. Cover albums. Good ones. Bad ones. Whatever. Here’s my list of notable covers. Special thanks to YouTube, which has apparently captured everything ever filmed or recorded. (Note: I add them as I find them. The list will grow.)

American Pie

Nothing will ever top Don McLean’s original.
Chris de Burgh. True to the original.
Madonna. Exploits the lyrics (IMHO) to promote an ultra-leftist agenda (watch the video).
The Brady Bunch. Painful. Comical. Pure nostalgia.
Hernaldo Zúñiga. Most popular version in Texas?
Catch 22. Because the refrain is all you need anyway. Punks.
King’s Singers. Well done!
Leslie Cheung. This song started his career. The ground ended it. Very sad.

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Muppets. Best cover of this song ever!
P!NK. Not much different than watching Queen perform it. Good voice for the song!
William Shatner. Funny video! The serious bits are spoken.
Hayseed Dixie. From the 2010 album, “Killer Grass”. Typical H-D spoof.
Newton Faulkner. Painful.
The Ten Tenors. Not too bad. At least they had instrument accompaniment.
UC (Berkrley) Men’s Octet. Acapella. Suddenly want a haircut.
Surrey Harmony. Funny to watch the old ladies sing this song. Great voices! Stupid rock segment!
Robert Wilkinson. This intoxicated Canadian almost got all the words right.


Whether or not you agree with the principles, there is something enchanting about Lennon’s masterpiece. There’s no variance in the covers, no adaptations. Timeless.
Bill Clinton. Sang with Israeli singer Liel at Shimon Peres’s 80th birthday. Didn’t know the words.
Elton John. Central Park, September 1980.
David Bowie. The same, as expected.
Avril Lavigne. True to the original. Great voice.
Live. From a concert in December 1999. (Selling the Drama, Lightning Crashes)
Lady GaGa. Gag.

The Sound of Silence

Simple, poetic, and rich in symbolism, I consider this one of the most important songs of my formative years!
Live in Central Park, 1981. Ok, not technically cover, but this performance by S&G far surpasses the original recording, IMHO.
Nouela. Beautiful performance. Very sad video compilation by MusicForLife.
Kina Grannis. Also beautiful.
Brooke Fraser. Several good live performances available online. Sounds like Karen Carpenter with elements of Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge, and Linda Perry. Well done, but nothing really new.
Passenger. Folksy hipster from East Sussex. A bit dramatic, but worth a listen!
Coffee House Gypsies. Sung by minstrels? I’d love to hear them cover California Dreamin’
Ásgeir & Júlíus. Icelandic. Clear guitar and vocals. True to the original.
Emilíana Torrini. Also Icelandic. Sounds nice in her accent.
Einsauszwei Rework. Basis for a backdrop mix in a very sweet short film.
Bobaflex. Awesome rock version! Subtle influences from The Offspring? The video is terribly sad.
Nevermore. Metal. Megadeth/Pantera, with a hint of Manson perhaps? Didn’t move me.
Yao Si Ting. …on the walls of science?
Leonard Cohen. Read as poetry. A nice twist, a new perspective.
Duptribe. Psychedelic beat track + British accents = great sound! Many remixes exist.
Tiesto. This may be the Duptribe voice track laid down with some other sounds. Not as good, IMHO.
Hardstyle. Angelic voices + deep house = has promise. Short on lyrics though.
Niels Martreb. Strong beat. Synth. Humming. Very sterile, impersonal. Not the whole song. #robbed
Gregorian. A novelty? Yes, but chant is always awesome. Wonder what it would sound like in Latin. Hmm, well, here are the lyrics in case anyone wants to try.

Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones)

I don’t like the Stones, but this song is cool for its historical and religious references. It is also covered quite frequently, often live.
Blood Sweat & Tears. BS&T3, 1970. Nice try. Lacks the spirit of the song, IMHO.
Jonathan Round. Self-titled album, 1971. My absolute favorite version by far!
Bryan Ferry. These Foolish Things, 1973. Bad…but still better than the Stones.
The Jerico Mile. Intro tune, 1979. Groovy instrumental.
Jane’s Addiction. Concert album, 1987. Too true to the original for my taste.
Laibach. 1989. From Slovenia. Bad English dub job?
Guns N’ Roses. Interview with the Vampire Sountrack, 1994. Because I’d rather listen to Axl than to Jagger anyday.
Pearl Jam. Live [YouTube], late 1990s. Improv, just hangin’ out on stage.
Gail Swanson. Standing on the Bridge, 1996? Great Sound! Could lose the Ian Anderson flute solo.
Jon Bon Jovi. Live in Wembley, 1997 [YouTube]. Same ol’ song, less-annoying singer.
Natalie Merchant. Tigerlily, 1999. Great live version! Blends well with her other songs on the album.
Tiamat. Skeleton Skeletron, 1999. Gothic! How appropriate.
Ozzy Osbourne. Under Cover, 2005. Nice change, but Ozzy could’ve put more heart into it.
Bossa n’ Stones. Freedom Dub, 2006. Same ol’ song, female singer.
Jenny Silver. Live on Sommarkrysset, 2010. Great performance, but didn’t add much to the song.

You Were Always On My Mind

Willie Nelson’s classic! Well, actually the original was sung by Brenda Lee.
Willie Nelson. Obviously, the most successful cover.
Elvis Presley. What’s to say? A typical Elvis rendition.
Pet Shop Boys. An upbeat sad song?
DJ Guest. Synth, drum machine, and female vocals.
Fantasia. American Idol. Jazzy R&B version. Meh.
Michael Bublé. Sinatra-ish.
Boy George. He loves this song! Lot’s of concert covers on YouTube.
Tim, Roland & Jake. Sung Chipmonk-style.

Dance Covers

Behind Blue Eyes – Jan Van Bass
Boys Of Summer 2k10 – Max Deejay
Dont Walk Away (Jade) – Jenny Jones
Eternal Flame – Lady Crew


The Covers Project. Someone is actually building a databse of cover songs!

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