Best Cover of All-Time Tournament, Day 3

Happy Waltzgiving!

Happy Waltzgiving!

A Happy Thanksgiving edition here on Day 3.  I am thankful for all the great music artists have written and recorded over the years, thankful for the technology that makes it so easy to find new songs and listen to them, and thankful for the folks who take the time to vote in these tournaments.   You can vote for Day 3 match-ups by listening to all the songs here except Feel Good, Inc., and voting by 11:59pm EST on Friday. (*Unlike past tournaments, I’m putting everything on one playlist for the moment.)  We’ll take tomorrow off and do the last of the play-ins on on Friday.

Play-in: Amazing Grace (Dropkick Murphys) vs. Higher Ground (Red Hot Chili Peppers).  A thundering start to the playlist, featuring two of the greatest live bands of all-time covering other peoples’ work in the studio.  This Dropkick cover felt perfect for Thanksgiving Eve, and RHCP pay tribute to Stevie Wonder, who will make his tournament debut next week. Continue reading

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Best Cover Song of All-Time, Day 2

Just two dudes feelin' alright.

Just two dudes feelin’ alright.

This tournament will often have two posts up at any given time, so you can still vote on Day 1 matchups until tomorrow at midnight.

Welcome to Day 2! You can listen to all of the songs here except for Sex on Fire, and vote in the comment section before 11:59pm on Thursday, November 27. There are plenty of old and plenty of mellow artists in this tournament, but our first matchup is all glitz and glamour:

#8 Sex on Fire (Beyonce) vs. #9 Toxic (Mark Ronson).  Bey needs no intro.  Neither does this Kings of Leon hit.  For those who remember this song from our tourney a few years ago, we have a better version now.  On the flip side, we’ve seen a lot of interesting Toxic covers over the years, but no one does Britney better than Mark Ronson, who was also the force behind Amy Winehouse’s cover of Valerie.  Continue reading

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And we’re off! The Best Cover Song of All-Time, Day 1

The Pixies try to get their head around you.

The Pixies try to get their head around you.

Tonight 82 songs begin their long march to the championship.  Every night from Monday to Thursday you can expect to find a new slate of four to five matchups to vote on, with at least 48 hours to vote.  (You can see our post on scoring here.)

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the bracket.  We had too many good nominations to limit the field to 64, so at least 18 songs will be “playing in” an additional round.  I’ll denote the seeds and play-in matchups below. There are four sets of seeds, from #1 to #16.

You can listen to the songs here and vote by commenting below before midnight on Wednesday, November 26.  Continue reading

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Music Tournament: How to Score

One of the great scoring champions of alltime.

One of the great scoring champions of alltime.

Here we are, a few hours from kick-off!  As good a time as any for a little refresher on how to score these music tournaments.  Unlike most online votes, you’re not simply picking one over the other.  Instead, you are scoring each song on a scale from 1-10.  Here’s a helpful guide:

10: Music doesn’t get any better than this!

9: Amazing.  You keep cranking it up, and are glued to whatever device the music is emanating from.

8:  Really good.  You’d turn to someone in the room and say, “hey, check this out!”

7.  Good. You’d throw this on a playlist.

Continue reading

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We Have a Winner: Best Cover of All-time Tournament!



Ok, so we don’t have a winning song, but the front-runner has to be the letter “J” (incidentally, my favorite).  Look at the roster of prospective covers below, and revel in how many incredible artists are representing that letter.

If you are a visual thinker, you might guess that there are more than 64 songs on the list.  I tried to take at least one suggestion from everyone who submitted songs.  At the moment I’m likely to cut a few and subject others to play-ins.

Tomorrow I’ll spend some time seeding the ones that are obviously getting, and we’ll be ready to launch on Monday!  Last call!

Amy Winhouse: Valerie

Animals: House of the Rising Sun

Aretha: Respect

Avail: Pink Houses

Bahamas: Don’t You Want Me

Band: Atlantic City

Band: Don’t Do it

Beach Boys: Cotton Fields

Beach Boys: Sloop John B

Beatles: Twist and Shout

Beyonce: Sex on Fire

Birdy: Skinny Love

Blondie: Tide is High

Bobby Darin: Mack the Knife

Bryan Adams: Anytime At All

Bruce Springsteen- My Ride’s Here

Byrds: Mr. Tamburine Man

CCR: I Heard it Through the Grapevine

Cat Power: I Found a Reason  Continue reading

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We’re Back: Looking for the Best Cover Song of All-Time!

bob_dylan_jimi_hendrixFrom 2010 to 2012, this site hosted some mighty entertaining single-elimination music tournaments, and now we’re bringing one back.

For the initiated, music tournaments follow a simple March Madness elegance- songs compete against each other in a bracket.  You vote for a winner, and it advances to the next round.  63 matches later, we have a winner.   We’ve got the details below the scroll. Continue reading

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A Few of My Favorite Things, Vol. 1

Living the dream...

Living the dream…

One of the themes I’ve taken away from Burning Man is being grateful about the good things in life. This is not only because so many of us (yeah, you reading this) lives in such relative splendor or because the world is an incredible place, but because a positive mindset reinforces itself, just as a negative one does. Dwelling on the positive is good for the soul.

So I thought I’d start a list of weekly favorites, sort of like a Positive Harper’s Index.

Favorite Beach in the World: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, on the Atlantic side. Though both sides of Costa Rica are mind-blowing.

Favorite Movie Viewed on a Bus: Big Fish

Favorite Movie: Big Fish

Favorite Dinosaur: The latest Nat Geo stars the Spinosaurus, a fifty-foot long amphibious predator that pre-dated the T-Rex.   The most complete collection of Spinosaur bones was bombed to smithereens during World War II, until a Bedouin treasure hunter stumbled across some a few years ago. Great story, great creature.

Favorite Career Move: Lawyer to Doctor- so far I know two people who have made the move, and neither seems to regret it one bit.

Favorite NYC Columnist: Ginia Bellafante.  Check out her latest on community colleges here:

Favorite Binge Watch of the Week: Transparent. Smart, funny, sad, and so real. Full of beautiful, interesting characters. Watched all eleven episodes in a day and a half.

Favorite Retro Activity: I sat down to watch baseball multiple times this week for the first time in years, and man, was it exciting. Go Royals!

Favorite Throw-back Discovery: I recently picked up a used copy of Doris Kearn’s (pre-Goodwin!) copy of Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. It’s a fascinating insight into LBJ’s final years in and out of office, from a before-she-was-famous historian with enormous access. At times, she simply quotes him rambling for pages about how he’d been wronged, sometimes quite cogently. Sometimes used books come with bookmarks, and in this case it was a flyer for a movie at the Thalia Theater, on 95th and Broadway. This is five blocks from where I grew up, and I’d never heard of the place. The flyer was from a movie that came out in 1984, and the Thalia closed in 1987. And the book hadn’t been opened since.  Anna was born in 1984, and this fascinating account of LBJ was waiting her whole lifetime to be read.  Thanks, Doris!

Favorite Photo I’ve Seen This Week: Marsel Van Oosten’s delightful shot of a Japanese snow monkey inspecting an iPhone. It’s up for an award, which it really ought to win, despite some great contenders like “Mouse under Lion”:


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