The last few days have been re-write day at work, days I enjoy. Basically, I take the script for a show, and just work on the voice-over, trying to come up with another way to make "unpredictable rip currents" more dangerous and exciting than we have the previous episodes.
When I sit down to hack at it, I'll throw on my headphones and just zone out, read the thesaurus, try writing out ideas, then re-write it so it's good enough for the show. With my iTunes on shuffle, I tend to ignore the rest of the world. Half the time, I'm not even aware of what's playing.
The other day, though, the music caught my attention: it was catchy, familiar, but not quite right. That's when I realized it was a cover of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" performed by Ted Leo. It's actually a great version of the song, and it goes into a cover of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs "Maps" in the midst of it. Seriously...
Since U Been Gone/Maps - Ted Leo
It got me thinking about what other great, not-so-obvious covers I have on my iTunes, and I figured I'd share some, because hey, who doesn't like music, right?
Keeping with the "contemporary hit covered by indie-artist" angle, here's a cover of Christina Aguilera "Beautiful" by Clem Snide, one of my favorite bands. I saw them do this live at the Troubadour a few years ago, and it absolutely blew me away. I was pretty pumped when they released this as a single...
Beautiful - Clem Snide
Here's a weird one: David Byrne covering Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." I heard that back in 2005, Byrne, with help from the USC Marching Band, played a cover of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love." That may actually be weirder than this:
I Wanna Dance With Somebody - David Byrne
This one came up on Stereogum a few weeks ago: the Foo Fighers doing a cover of Arcade Fire's "Keep the Car Running." Dave Grohl says that he listens to it every morning when he wakes up. I understand why. It's kind of a great song to get you up and moving in the AM:
Keep the Car Running - Foo Fighters
The Faces are one of the more underrated rock bands of all time. When I mention that Rod Stewart was the singer, most people frown, but all they know is that he sucks now. Just listen to him rip through the chorus of the cover of McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," and you'll know how good he can be. And by the way, I think I like this version better than Paul's original, and that's saying a lot for a Beatles freak like me:
Maybe I'm Amazed - The Faces
The White Stripes have done a ton of great covers, but I think my favorite of theirs is "Jolene," the classic by Dolly Parton:
Jolene - The White Stripes
Here's one that may be my favorite cover of all time: Radiohead covering Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better." Weird, right? But it's so fucking good. Thom Yorke called it "The sexiest song ever written." Who knew Radiohead were such Carly Simon fans?
Radiohead - Nobody Does It Better
My most treasured cover isn't really a true "cover." It's the Beatles working on "All Things Must Pass," but remember they never released it. The Beatles were working on the song during the "Let It Be" sessions. Of course, they broke up, George Harrison took his own song, and scored the first big solo hit of any of the Beatles.
Well, there's a version of "All Things Must Pass" on the Beatles Anthology albums, but it was just a George demo. This version is a version after the Beatles had worked on it a little bit. I read about this version years ago in Rolling Stone, when they mentioned it in an article. After much searching, I found it.
It's interesting to hear the Beatles performing the song as a whole, a bit bare and rough, along with harmonies, well before it was ever fleshed out. Kind of cool to hear what could have been if they kept working on the song.
All Things Must Pass - The Beatles
Anyone have their own favorite, weird covers in their iTunes?