People seem to be talking about covers of popular
tunes. And occasionally less popular tunes as well. Me, I’m not what you’d call a blogger of note, so I expect no great traffic on the topic, but I feel obliged to throw out something that I think has been overlooked, my favorite kind of cover song – the live cover.
I don’t know why live covers are as much fun as they often are; maybe it’s the combination of the crowd noise and the exuberant authenticity of a good live show, but a strong live cover is a wonderful thing, far more energetic or fun than any studio cover. And occasionally, if you’re lucky, the performers will put a whole new spin on the song, rejuvenating a classic or making an old non-starter worth listening to.
Here’s the kind of thing I’ve got in mind:
- I’ve already mentioned Bjork and PJ Harvey’s live cover of “Satisfaction”.
- In the Stones Covers vein, I also enjoyed U2’s cover of “Paint It Black”.
- Taj Mahal’s covers of the blues classics “Dust My Broom” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.”
- Buddy Guy’s live performances (any of his live performances, really) of Hendrix’s “Red House”. Damn near everything Buddy Guy’s done is phenomenal, of course.
- Rage Against The Machine, covering N.W.A’s “Fuck The Police” – powerful stuff, but very wel suited to the Rage style.
- Trent Reznor and David Bowie collaborate on an outstanding version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, which I heartily recommend to all concerned.
- It’s hardly a cover, since the guy was right there, but Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits’ live collaboration on “Jersey Girl” is a pile of fun.
There’s a bunch of other stuff in that vein that I just can’t bring to mind, because I don’t have my MP3 collection with me right now, but that’s a start. I’m certainly not arguing some general case for all live covers, Limp Bizkit being the base case of the relevant counterargument, but I do loves me a good, innovative live cover. Anybody have any suggestions?