In no certain order:
1. “Across the Universe” by Rufus Wainwright (The Beatles): As a PopWreck writer and person of remote musical knowledge, I comprehend that no one can orchestrate the Beatles music the same way that John, George, Paul and Ringo did. While many have tried, all have failed and few were even in the same league. Wainwright’s cover of “Across the Universe” remains one of those few. Rufus has always been known for having more of a voice suited for show tunes rather than pop songs. This aspect alone gives him a substantial advantage over other Beatles balladeer hopefuls. His voice remains tender in all the spots that John intended, leaving the vocals as timeless and poetic as they were the day they were recorded in Abbey Road studios 37 years ago. In his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Lennon referred to the song as perhaps the best, most poetic lyric he ever wrote. Wainwright’s ability to keep “Across the Universe” vintage and historical while updating it with his signature crooner sound is a true testament to his brilliance and beauty.
2. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor (Prince): Few people actually realize that in 1985, The Family, a funk band created as another excuse to release Prince’s music, released a self-titled album. While “Nothing Compares 2 U” was a product of that album, it was never released as a single and received little recognition. Sinéad O’Connor’s version of the song, from the 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, highlighted a passion and depth that Prince couldn’t bring in The Family’s version, garnering worldwide exposure for the song. The most moving part of the song comes with the lyric, “All the flowers that you planted, Mama” in which you can hear the struggle in the her powerful and heartfelt voice. It is rumored that this is because Sinéad had a very complex relationship with her late mother whom she claims abused her. It is my belief that her use of person heartache is what make this song so timeless.
3. “Ain’t That a Shame” by Cheap Trick (Fats Domino): There is just something about listening to the hordes of screaming Japanese girls drowning out the band. This song has the same way of moving me that “I Want You (To Want Me)” does; It gives me goosebumps and makes me want to dust off my gear, get my ass back in shape, and go back on tour. This song is an endless reminder of why there is no place better than the stage. And for that, I love it.
4. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen): “Hallelujah” was first born on Leonard Cohen’s 1984 album Various Positions. However, if you name a band chances are they have either recorded or performed “Hallelujah” live. The best known version of this song, however, is easily the Jeff Buckley cover.
5. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions (Nick Lowe): The song was originally released in 1974 on the album The New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz by Lowe’s band Brinsley Schwarz. It was then the B-side of Lowe’s “American Squirm” and was credited to Nick Lowe and His Sound. At the time Lowe was Elvis Costello’s producer, and he produced this track as well. When the song became a hit, it was quickly appended as the last track to the U.S. edition of Costello’s album Armed Forces.
Also, Elvis Costello is God. Period.
Also worth mentioning:
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
“Boys of Summer” by the Ataris (Don Henley)
“Against All Odds” by the Postal Service (Phil Collins)
“I Fought the Law” by the Clash (Bobby Fuller Four)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: cheap trick, cover whore, elvis costello, jeff buckley, leonard cohen, nick lowe, prince, rufus wainwright, sinead o'conner, the family | 4 Comments »