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Archive for September 9th, 2010

The concept of the cover version has been around for nigh on a century now, although the term was only coined in the 1960s as the practice became more prevalent. Several of the Beatles’ early hits were covers, and it was common at the time for record labels to have artists on their roster record each other’s songs. Nowadays, thanks to the likes of Jedward and Glee, the pop charts are once again flooded with cover versions, albeit of hugely varying quality. Done well, though, there’s great pleasure to be had in hearing a song reinvented.

I have soft spots for Johnny Cash’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt (and indeed most of the covers he tackles on American IV), Feist’s version of Ron Sexsmith’s Secret Heart, the Futureheads’ Hounds of Love (a world away from Kate Bush’s original), and, most recently, this cover by Cee-Lo Green of Band of Horses’ No-One’s Gonna Love You:

On the flipside, I’d happily live without ever hearing Florence & The Machine’s version of Beirut’s Postcards From Italy ever again, and Atomic Kitten’s woeful The Tide Is High. I’m sure there are far worse offenders, but I’ve either managed to avoid them, or blocked them from my mind.

What are your favourite covers? And what cover versions set your teeth on edge?

Catherine Brodigan

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