It feels great to be doing this. Turns out we have two days worth of play-ins left, so another post will go up tomorrow. You can listen to today’s songs here except America, and vote in the comment section below by 11:59pm EST on Sunday. There are some weird songs in the mix, but might as well enjoy the weirdness before we get to some of the true classics on Monday.
Play-in: My Ride’s Here (Bruce Springsteen) vs. Searching for a Heart (Don Henley). I love Warren Zevon. After he passed away in 2003, the best covers of his work were compiled in Enjoy Every Sandwich. Two of those tracks are included here.
Play-in: Johnny 99 (Los Lobos) vs. Cottonfields (Beach Boys). Leadbelly has his second song of the tournament, as conceived by Al Jardine, my favorite Beach Boy. He doesn’t sing lead on many of their songs (Help Me, Rhonda is his best-known lead), but this song is classic Americana. On the other side of the ledger is a spunky Bruce Springsteen cover.
Play-in: Wish You Were Here (Wyclef Jean) vs. America (Kathy’s Song) (Sting). Wyclef is one of the great coversmiths of all-time. His mash-ups aren’t really fit for his tournament, and Guantanamera is kind of well-known, I really dig this Pink Floyd cover because it’s a little more unexpected. Meanwhile, Sting tells an incredibly touching story about why he’s covering this Simon & Garfunkel song in the Youtube clip, so I’ll leave it to him.
Play-in: Go Tell it on the Mountain (Wailers) vs. Police and Thieves (Clash). Police and Thieves is a Junior Marvin song, written about violence in the streets of Jamaica, the same violence that exiled Bob Marley to London, where he recorded Exodus. While in London, Marley was pleased to hear the Clash’s cover, which he did not think was particularly good, but A for effort. In response, he wrote Punky Reggae Party, a song about how punks and rastas had a lot in common philosophically. Meanwhile, Peter Tosh on lead vocals for this Wailers’ cover.
Play-in: Darling Nikki (Foo Fighters) vs. The Orchids (Califone). When Prince heard this Foo Fighters cover he was pissed, and quipped that they should “write their own songs.” Then he performed “Best of You” at the Superbowl Halftime Show as some passive-aggressive revenge. Gotta love Prince! I’ll confess to not knowing a damn thing about “Orchids” or Califone, but Dem Adam has been a reliable music partner over the years, so I’ll trust his judgment here.
Play-in: Pink Houses (Avail) vs. Johnny B. Goode/Roadrunner (Sex Pistols). You’re going to need to remember that covers need not be taken too seriously. Avail brings some much needed energy to the tourney- most covers tend to slow songs down, not speed them up. The Pistols fucking around with Chuck Berry and the Modern Lovers is just delicious. Johnny Rotten doesn’t know any of the words to Chuck’s iconic song, calls for Roadrunner, and then doesn’t know the words to that either. What a punk.
Thanks for enjoying all SIX of these match-ups, and have a great weekend!