No…not talking bed linens this week…though that might be something to consider with the right volunteer assistant for a future post…
I was listening to the radio yesterday during my trek into the city of Toronto and at one point the talking heads took up the subject of all the recent remake of old Arnie Schwarzenegger films and how generally bad they have been doing. Bad of an actor as he was/is, there was something about him that just worked. This led to a further discussion of other film and television remakes…good, bad, or yet to be made.
The general consensus was that the original is always better.
In most cases, this is probably true…we all remember Dr. Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinnati, but how many recall Mona Loveland in The New WKRP in Cincinnati? There are exceptions…some really good exceptions such as J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009.
So…long story short, I started to throw this around in my head on the musical side. Which cover versions are actually better than, or at least worthy of the original song…so here are five that are my favourite cover versions…be warned, in that I am giving you two versions of each with the original and the cover.
5. Sarah McLachlan – The Rainbow Connection
It truly is a toss up for me whether Sarah’s version is better than the original Jim Henson version or not. With her haunting voice and a slightly more modern version of the tune…it is certainly the best of many covers that are out there.
4. Johnny Cash – I Hung My Head
Before he passed, the man in black did a number of cover versions. This one is a absolutely beautiful cover of a song originally written by Sting.
3. Ray Wilson – Solsbury Hill
I’ve told Ray’s story previously…working class singer that took over the vocals for Genesis after Phil Collins left in 1993 and, unfortunately, only made one album with the band. He does, however, do an excellent version of this Peter Gabriel classic.
2. “Weird Al” Yankovic – Yoda/Lola
Okay…this is not a tradition cover version even…but Yankovic even closes his live shows on his last tour with this number and, quite frankly, it may be the best of his work. A wonderful cover…er, sorry…parody of The Kinks’ song, Lola.
1. Rush – For What It’s Worth
You expected someone else? Rush is not generally known for covering songs, but this old Buffalo Springfield tune was one they added to their little known album, “Feedback”. Gives an entirely different feel hearing one of the world’s greatest rock bands doing what has become an something of an anthem for the wars of the 60s and 70s.