Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 32, Day 3

Beyonce2 As soon to be former tournament competitor R. Kelly would say, it’s the freakin’ weekend, I’m about to have me some fun. Listen to today’s match-ups at the bottom of this playlist, see the brackets here, and vote by commenting below before 11:59pm on Sunday.

#1 Hurt (Johnny Cash) vs. #8 Sex on Fire (Beyonce).  I found a good audio for Sex on Fire- let’s see if it gives Bey a fighting chance.

#13 I Fought the Law (Clash) vs. #5 Blinded by the Light (Manfred Mann).  Cash would have seemed like the obvious winner out of this quadrant, but scores from last round suggest a Clash v. Cash battle would be tight, and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (full name) has its supporters too.

#2 Twist and Shout (Beatles) vs. #7 I Heard it Through the Grapevine (CCR).   Fun fact: The Grapevine Tavern was a hip hangout in the Bohemian West Village between the wars. You could go there to get the latest gossip, and “hear it through the Grapevine.”  Beatles major favorites in this quadrant, but all four songs offer something unique.

#3 Valerie (Amy Winehouse) vs. #6  Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes).

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Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 32, Day 2

Full name: Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole

Full name: Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole

Spreading the match-ups out by an extra day to see if that encourages more participation. Listen to today’s match-ups at the bottom of this playlist, see the brackets here, and vote by commenting below before 11:59pm on Friday.  You can listen to R. Kelly (Track 17) here.

#1 All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix) vs. #8 In the Pines (Nirvana).  Recently read about a show Leadbelly did with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in New York, 1940- some old school, radical times.

#4 Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Israel K.) vs. #5 The Great Pretender (Freddie Mercury).  Perhaps this showdown is coming early in the tournament, but I imagine it will be a close one! The winner takes on Jimi v. Kurt.

#2 House of the Rising Sun (Animals) vs. #7 Change Gonna Come (R. Kelly). As you can see, I’ve linked to the audio of the R. Kelly show, which is higher quality than Youtube.  Just learned that while House is an obscure old song, the man who brought it to prominence was Woody Guthrie.

#3 Respect (Aretha Franklin) vs. #6 Head On (Pixies).  Based on last round, Aretha is heavily favored here, but Head On is a great pregame song, if anyone is off to a mid-week holiday party.

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Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 32

stripesWelcome to the Round of 32! From here things will move pretty quickly.  The whole round will take about a week, and then we’ll be in the Sweet 16.  Listen to today’s match-ups at the bottom of this playlist, see the brackets here, and vote by commenting below before 11:59pm on Wednesday.  Enjoy!

#3 We Can Work It Out (Stevie Wonder) vs. #6 Jolene (White Stripes)

#2 Mr. Tamburine Man (Byrds) vs. #7 Everlasting Love (U2).  The winner of these first two match-ups will play each other in the Sweet 16.  All did well last round, but the Byrds looked the sharpest.   Their version is the only one of these four that was a bigger hit than the original song.  Continue reading

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Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 64, Day 10

Strummer mural on 7th and A.

Strummer mural on 7th and A.

The Round of 64 ends in style tonight with a tournament titans like Jeff Buckley.  We didn’t allow Hallelujah in last time because the song was too closely associated with him. It turns out he didn’t even discover Leonard Cohen’s original, but a John Cale cover.  Cale, the Scottie Pippen of the Velvet Underground, for his part, saw Cohen perform it live and ask for the lyrics.  Cohen sent him innumerable pages of poetry that Cale condensed to the version we’ll be hearing today. Listen to all of Day 10’s songs here (at bottom of playlist) and vote by commenting below before 11:59pm on Thursday.    You can check out the evolving tournament bracket and our results so far.

#1 Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley) vs. #16 I Want You Back (Lake Street Dive)

#4 Killing Me Softly (Fugees) vs. #13 Don’t Do It (The Band).  The Fugees cover Roberta Flack’s hit from the 70s, and The Band covers Marvin Gaye’s hit from the 60s.

#5 Redemption Song (Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer) vs. #12 Police and Thieves (Clash). Two Joe Strummer songs against each other? That’s my bracketing mistake, although Joe’s fans could take satisfaction in one guaranteed advance to the Round of 32.

#3 With a Little Help From My Friends (Joe Cocker) vs. #14 Johnny B. Goode/Roadrunner (Sex Pistols).  Our defending cover champion fends off a truly ridiculous Pistols cover of Chuck Berry and the Modern Lovers.

 

 

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Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 64, Day 9

By Sebastian Wahl...

By Sebastian Wahl

A couple serious contenders in the mix today.  You can listen to them at the bottom of this playlist and vote by commenting below by Wednesday at 11:59pm.

#1 All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix) vs. #16 It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (Van Morrison).  All Along the Watchtower was the posterchild for our rule a few years ago that no covers were allowed if they were better known than the original.  Dylan himself changed the way he played this song live after hearing Jimi’s version (which came out the same year, btw.) Let’s see if Van the Man can put up any resistance in HIS Bob Dylan cover. Continue reading

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Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 64, Day 4

janis_joplin_by_ed_lloyd-d5wo6cpWelcome to Ladies Night.  This tournament has more gender diversity than past ones, but it’s still not close to parity.  That said, I’d venture that nearly half of the favorites to actually win the tournament are female vocalists, and a few of them are leading the Day 4 brigade.  Listen at the bottom of the playlist here except America and vote by commenting below before 11:59pm  on Sunday night.  See you later, I’m out to protest the NYPD.

#1 Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin) vs. Don’t You Want Me (Bahamas).  While everyone associates this song with Janis, it’s actually a Kris Kristofferson cover.

#2 Tide is High (Blondie) vs. #15  I Found a Reason (Cat Power).  Blondie’s catchy tune is pretty damn ambitious when you hear the Paragons reggae classic.  (From an album called “On the Beach”!)   Cat Power got love last round, let’s see if she can keep up the momentum. Continue reading

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Best Covers of All-Time: Round of 64, Day 3

eric_garnerI’m posting right after the Eric Garner decision came down.  It’s a somber mood here in New York.  Music is appropriate for all occasions, but I’ll limit comments on these fine songs tonight.   You can listen to the bottom of the playlist here (except Twist and Shout) and vote by commenting below before 11:59pm on Friday.

#1 Hurt (Johnny Cash) vs. #16 You’ll Be a Woman Soon (Urge Overkill).  We didn’t include Johnny last time because even Reznor calls this “a Johnny Cash song now.”

#4 Mack the Knife (Bobby Darin) vs. #13 I Fought the Law (Clash).  Says it all.

#2 Twist and Shout (Beatles) vs. #15 Blitzkrieg Bop (Yo La Tengo).  The Beatles were a great cover band, and this one made is onto their first album.

#8 Slippery People (Staple Singers) vs. #9 Like a Rollin’ Stone (Rolling Stones).  Slippery People is a Talking Heads classic, while the Stones have fun with Dylan. Both of them got the name from Muddy Waters.

#7  Walk This Way (Run-DMC) vs. #10 Higher Ground (Red Hot Chili Peppers).  A nice pair of cross-racial covers.

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