cover songs

With the super popularity of Glee – which to the casual observer is a bunch of caricatures singing cover songs, I wanna talk about cover songs. Now, rumor has it, according to the notes for Metallica’s “Garage Inc.” any band worth their salt has done cover songs. But sometimes, an artist comes along, and ruins the career of the artist their covering. I first saw this back in the 80s, I think it was the Queen’s birthday, and a bunch of popular UK artists of the time had a big concert.  George Micheal, evidently saw it was a big party, and during the performance shows up to sing a song. Well, the back up band wasn’t ready for George Micheal, so he says, “that’s OK, I’ll just perform John Waits ‘Everytime you go away’.” And everybody thought cool. George Micheal killed that song, stole it from John Waits, made it his own, and poor John Waits was never heard of again.

As a small child, I hearted the Guess Whos?  That guitar soloing on “American Woman” the lyrics, the energy… then Lenny Kravitz came along, and GW just seems quaint.

Johnny Cash, in his “American” recordings took control of some songs… like when he sang NIN’s “Hurt” I actually believed the song was true. I believe MrCash knows hurt, I don’t think Trent does…well, career-wise, now, maybe.  And MrCash took over Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage”.

I suspect it’s been this way since forever…like when Hendrix re-did “All Along the Watchtower” and it caused Bob Dylan to plug in.


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