Happy Halloween! A few of our nominators sent in blurbs about their songs at the last minute, after I had made up ghost stories about all these tunes. So you’ll get both.
Read these chilling tales, listen to these haunted tunes, and vote by 8:00 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, November 2.
“Valerie” was actually the name of lead singer of the Zutons’s childhood love, but she drowned when she was just a girl. He wrote this song to commune with her ghost, but he roused a wrathful spirit that drowns anyone who happens to be listening to this song near water. In the late 70s the spirit was exorcised and contained, but awakened again when Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson produced this version. Don’t vote from the tub for this one.
Rumor has it that Elvis co-wrote “Love Me” with a witch in order to cast a love charm in order to win over his best friend’s girl. It worked, but the friend flew into a jealous rage and killed her before killing himself. His spirit still haunts this song, and anyone who sings it will be tormented by night terrors for seven years. Sorry about that, Department of Eagles. Oh, but Dinah likes this song despite its curse because:
It’s hypnotizing. It’s a reminder that love renders us fools. And most importantly, it’s reawakened my latent obsession with the King.
Adam, by responding promptly to my request for a blurb, broke the curse upon the Black Crowes’ cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle,” wherein if you spoke ill of this song actual black crows would peck out your eyes next time you left the house. Adam writes:
Hard to Handle might be the Black Crowes most popular song, despite a strong history of original songs across 3 decades. This tune stretches their “Blues/Rock” boundaries significantly towards the rock side. Originally written by Otis Redding with a popular Greatful Dead cover, this is probably the most well known version.
Up against this is Jose Gonzalez’s version of the Knife’s “Heartbeats.” If you listen to it backwards three times, your own heart will stop and you will die with your face frozen into an expression of such agonizing sorrow that anyone who looks upon you die of a broken heart. This did not happen to Sally, who just wrote in:
I love this version of heartbeats because everyone gets confused and thinks that the knife version is the cover. They’re both such lovely, heartstrings-tugging songs, but the tone and the feeling is completely, completely different. They took a tweaked out, angsty, catchy as all hell dance tune and turned it into a soothing, addictive
Chan Marshall has always seems little otherworldly: turns out the voice behind Cat Power is the last living descendent of the Sirens, and if you listen to her rendition of Phil Phillips and George Khoury’s “Sea of Love” while at sea, you will go mad and cast yourself into the icy waters.
It’s a little known fact that Rodrigo y Gabriela dabble in the black arts, and that their haunting rendition of Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” heard in this recording actually summoned Lucifer himself, who sucked the entire audience into eternal torment in hell after the performance.
I already wrote ghost stories about these two artists, so these last two will just have to haunt you with deja vu, as “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by Amy Winehouse (originally by the Shirelles) goes up against “I Found A Reason” by Cat Power (originally by the Velvet Underground).
Listen, copy, paste, and vote:
“Valerie” (Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson) vs. “Love Me” (Department of Eagles)
“Hard To Handle” Black Crowes vs. “Heartbeats” (Jose Gonzalez)
“Sea Of Love” (Cat Power) vs. “Stairway To Heaven (Rodrigo y Gabriela)
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (Amy Winehouse) vs. “I Found A Reason” (Cat Power)