So I’m here to elaborate on my previous point of how a cover version or remix of a song can be better than the original. It’s up for debate whether these are an improvement but I’ll keep it simple and list some examples that prove that it can work and that in itself proves my point. I said ‘can’, meaning it’s possible, I wasn’t necessarily saying it works every time…
So here are some beautiful examples:
Hurts – Johnny Cash (2002) Originally a Nine Inch Nails song from 1994, but slowed down, with Cash’s typical swagger thrown in, plus the added element of this being what turned out to be from the last album before his death, the tune and especially the lyrics perfectly suit a man who can pull at your heart strings and deliver a rousing powerful anthem of a song all over 6 minutes.
We Are Your Friends – Justice vs. Simian (2006) The original tune is “Never Be Alone” by Simian, a far cry from what Justice submitted as part of a remix competition and the rest as they say is history…
Dream a Little Dream of Me – Mama Cass (1968) Mama Cass would often sing this 1931 song for fun, but it was no laughing matter when she reluctantly recorded it… and it’s huge success ultimately launched her solo career as she left The Mamas and the Papas behind.
Baby I’m Yours – Arctic Monkeys (2006) An old Barbara Lewis song from 1965, a very romantic old-fashioned song which hasn’t been changed too much by the Sheffield legends, but included as not only do they do a fine job, but arguably this paved way for Alex Turner to explore his 60’s sound, one which he absolutely perfected on the debut album for The Last Shadow Puppets.
Hounds of Love – The Futureheads (2005) The original is from Kate Bush and appeared on the hugely successful same titled album in 1985, but this cover version is an indie classic.
Mrs. Robinson – The Lemonheads (1992) Covered to promote the 25th anniversary of The Graduate this punk version of a folk royalty Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack still delivers.
All Along The Watchtower – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968) Released just a year after the original, this is more of an homage to Bob Dylan’s composition, something Hendrix was often guilty of (he learnt and covered the title track from Sgt. Pepper’s just 2 days after it’s release and included it in his live set at the Saville Theatre).
Walk This Way – Run–D.M.C. (1986) Hip Hop meets Rock and refreshingly it’s respect all around for this remix of Aerosmith’s 1975 hit.
Frontin’ – Jamie Cullum (2003) Originally a Hip Hop collaboration between legends of the game Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z, Cullum’s jazz-infused version stands up well with the added piano solo a reinvention of a song which you’d never expect to hear sung in this way. It goes on a bit but to be honest that’s a problem I have with most jazz songs.