Best Cover of All-Time, Day 4

Warren's last appearance on Letterman. When asked how to approach death, he said, "Enjoy every sandwich."

Warren’s last appearance on Letterman. When asked how to approach death, he said, “Enjoy every sandwich.”

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!

About Janos Marton

Janos Marton is a lawyer, advocate and writer.
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4 Responses to Best Cover of All-Time, Day 4

  1. Daddy-O says:

    My Ride’s Here – 5.0 vs Searching for a Heart – 7.0 Bruce’s song is OK but Bruce……………..meh as always. Not familiar with Searching for a Heart but did like this number.

    Johnny 99 – 6.5 vs Cottonfields – 5.5 – Los Lobos was more believable in their version. The Beach Boys not so much. Not like they have any cottonfields in Southern California.

    Wish You Were Here – 6.5 vs America 6.0 – I was surprised with this one. Not familiar with Wish You Were Here but was surprisingly OK with this song. Combination of Sting and Paul Simon should have been a slam dunk I suppose but he was trying to sound like Simon and that’s not always a good thing.

    Go Tell It on the Mountain – 7.5 vs Police & Thieves – 5.5. Listeners here usually don’t like anything that is remotely reggae so I will have to play the “ear” of reason in this case.

    Darling Nikki – 5.0 vs Orchids 6.0 Not much to chose from so I went with the less noisy song.

    Pink Houses – 4.5 vs Johnny B Goode – 4.6 Pink Houses was rendered unrecognizable in this version and Johnny B Goode was simply shameful but I could understand all the la, la, la’s that passed for lyrics.

  2. janos marton says:

    We had our first listening party last night!
    Play-in: My Ride’s Here (Bruce Springsteen) vs. Searching for a Heart (Don Henley).
    Janos 8.2 : 7.2
    Graham 8 : 4.2
    Anna 7 : 8
    Anna C; 6.6 : 5
    Knight 5.8 : 4.7

    Play-in: Johnny 99 (Los Lobos) vs. Cottonfields (Beach Boys).
    Janos 7 : 9
    Graham 4 : 7.5
    Anna 5.5 – 8
    Anna C 5 : 5

    Play-in: Wish You Were Here (Wyclef Jean) vs. America (Kathy’s Song) (Sting).
    Janos 8.5 : 7
    Graham 4 : 4.8
    Anna 7.7 : 6
    Anna c. 3.7 : 6.2
    Knight 5.3 : 4.2
    Play-in: Go Tell it on the Mountain (Wailers) vs. Police and Thieves (Clash).
    janos marton: 6 : 8
    graham 6.5 7
    anna 7 : 5.9
    ann c: 5.5 8

    Play-in: Darling Nikki (Foo Fighters) vs. The Orchids (Califone).
    Me: 6.9 : 6.5
    Anna: 6.4 : 7.5

    Play-in: Pink Houses (Avail) vs. Johnny B. Goode/Roadrunner (Sex Pistols).
    Janos 5.5 7.7
    Graham 5 9
    Anna C 4.5 8
    Knight: 1.5 6.6

  3. stoney duckworth-shapiro says:

    ride 7
    heart 6

    johnny 6
    cotton 5

    here- 5
    america- 4 pre-song banter is better than the song

    mountain- 6
    theives- 9


    johnny- 9 because who really cares about getting lyrics right

  4. Dem Adam says:

    ride – 6
    heart – 6.5

    I like that line in “Searching for a Heart” – ‘you can’t start it like a car, you can’t stop it with a gun’

    johnny – 7
    cotton – 5.5

    Digging the Los Lobos cover – got into the early Dwight Yoakam and Randy Travis records last year, strangely enough, and was learning more about this batch of 80s country artists who were taking things back to basics. They’re good records. Anyway, Dwight Yoakam thanks Los Lobos in the liner notes of his first album, and it’s cool to think of those guys doing shows together before they all hit it big.

    here – 2
    america- 6

    mountain – 7
    thieves – 9

    listening to the original makes me really appreciate what the clash did with it

    nikki – 6
    orchids – 9.5

    Full disclosure the califone tune is my entry – califone is a weird post-twang noisy group out of chicago that came out of the ashes of the mighty red red meat, also from chicago. their music is sad and uncomfortable, and i liked they covered a song by an even stranger band from a different time and place, psychic tv. it’s upset and hopeful at the same time.

    pink – 9.5
    johnny – 4.5

    i always liked this avail cover a lot – avail was from richmond and unlike a lot of national punk rock bands in the 90s they weren’t from the midwest or the coasts, so i thought they had more nuanced vibe about this country and being from the south (also see: assfactor 4: ) – so when they covered this song i felt they were taking it seriously – it was very easy to say this sucks and that sucks in super left wing punk rock songs but i like that they focused on the good and not just the bad of america. it’s something to celebrate.

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