Votes due by Thursday, October 27th at 11 pm EST: Not too much intro, as we are rolling out a new thing. Grooveshark link is here, let the voters speak.
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: Somewhere over the rainbow sums up our aspirations to create and visit fantastic locales. It was the song played for my first dance at my wedding, and set a beautiful tone for our life together. Plus, a 300 lb guy with a ukelele? Awesome.
“Common People” by William Shatner feat. Joe Jackson: She told me that her dad was loaded. I said, “in that case, I’ll have a rum and coca-cola”; she said, “fine.” Pulp’s blistering anthem sounds the class warfare trumpets, but it does so with borderline preposterous lyrics. Enter acclaimed thespian, William Shatner. Unlike his more ponderous covers from the early 70s, this is a self-aware old guy, as willing to make fun of himself as the pomposity of these lyrics, without conceding the vibe. And I love the way Shatner growls, “He’ll tear your insides out…” This is a masterful cover that should get you out of your seat and dancing in the streets. -Janos Marton
“I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” by J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound: When a friend wanted me to “listen to this Motown cover of a Wilco song,” I expected it to be interesting, but not necessarily good. It surprised me by being great–it’s a lot of fun hearing this song with an upbeat tone. A cover should be an interesting reinterpretation as well as a genuinely good song in itself, and this is both. -Tessa
“Puttin’ On The Ritz” by Taco: Although largely associated with Fred Astaire (who performed a dance version in the 1946 film Blue Skies), this standard was penned by the Russian Jewish immigrant Irving Berlin. The Taco version, cheesy as it may be, is testament to how a great song is timeless, evidenced by the fact that it went to #4 on the Billboard chart in 1983, making Berlin the oldest living songwriter to have a top-ten chart hit (he was 95 (thank wikipedia for that tidbit)). For some real ritziness here’s the Fred Astaire tap-dance number. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFabjc6mFk4) -asf
“Good Lovin'” by The Grateful Dead: This cover returns the infectious joy of the Young Rascals’ original, mixed in with the style that made the Dead a headliner band for nearly 30 years. Picture this song in the warmth of the sun, embrace the message, flow with Garcia’s guitar lick and the jamming pianos. I might be biased, having seen the Dark Star Orchestra (the preeminent Dead cover band) play this while I was on shrooms, but to me this retains the musical quality of the original, while adding some passion to the words. I acknowledge that “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” is superior, however. -Janos Marton
“Graceland” by Willie Nelson: Willie Nelson’s Graceland cover is a new favorite, one that I just discovered this summer when I was working on a mix for a friend. I needed some country twang. I wanted Paul Simon on there, and had a travel-theme– this cover fits the bill nicely. Graceland has always resonated for me, and I like the way Willie’s version seems to push forward a bit more aggressively, while Paul’s meanders along. Willie seems to embrace the journey, and I love to travel with him. -Lindsay
“Pursuit of Happiness” by Lissie: an·them/ˈanTHəm/
yes, i used the hackneyed approach of using a definition to begin my thoughts, but here it is: “Pursuit of Happiness” is the anthem song. The one you plug in when you’re behind the wheel, angry and dangerous. Or in the context of the actual song, drunk and rolling dope. The one you need in your life when you’re sure you’re fighting against something, but you may not know what it is. I think we’ve all had those songs. Lissie, herself, couldn’t resist the urge to drink some tequila before beginning, and what follows is an amazing performance that channels the lyrics way better than Kid Cudi. –Ryan Quinnelly
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole vs. “Common People” by William Shatner feat. Joe Jackson
“I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound vs. “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by Taco
“Where Did You Sleep Last Night” by Nirvana vs. “Good Lovin'” by The Grateful Dead
“Graceland” by Willie Nelson vs. “Pursuit of Happiness” by Lissie