Friday, 24 March 2006

Signs of Obsessiveness

My previous post on Thunder Road made me realise I have 5 other versions of the song besides Springsteen's: Badly Drawn Boy, Cowboy Junkies, Kevin Rowland, Mary Lou Lord, Tortoise & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. I also have the piano-and-harmonica version referenced by the Wily Filipino here.

So I thought I'd compile a partial list of songs I have more than 5 different artists' cover versions of. And I realised - gosh, I'm a pack rat. Here's the list:
  • Bill Withers, "Ain't No Sunshine"
  • Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time"
  • The Drifters, "Save the Last Dance For Me"
  • Eddie Floyd, "Knock on Wood"
  • Eddy Arnold, "You Don't Know Me"
  • Frankie Valli, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
  • John Prine, "Angel From Montgomery"
  • Kris Kristofferson, "Me and Bobby McGee" (the Janis Joplin version for me, though, is so iconic that the fact that it was originally about a woman surprised me - here's a few versions)
  • Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah"
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Sweet Home Alabama"
  • The Mamas and Papas, "Dream a Little Dream" (including French versions)
  • Mott the Hoople, "Sweet Jane"
  • Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
  • Roxy Music, "More Than This"
  • Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin, "Je T'aime Moi Non Plus" (including English versions)
  • The Shirelles, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"
  • Simon & Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  • Simon & Garfunkel, "Mrs Robinson"
  • Stevie Wonder, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)"
  • Wham, "Last Christmas"
This list deliberately excluded jazz standards, which I figure were meant for singing by many people anyway, but you might argue these songs would make for a decent set of modern standards. Well, except "Last Christmas", but there's a certain kitsch to it.

Sometimes I think I'd like to DJ a whole "random cover versions" set. The Horace Andy version of "Ain't No Sunshine"; the Kidz Bop Kids version of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"...

Incidentally, one of my childhood memories is of my Dad singing "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" as he bid us goodnight. Completely inappropriate lyrics, I guess, now that I think about it. But it's a great song, one of the best Brill Building products.



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