Urban Fathers' Liberation Front

Confused dads working out the city

75 Great Cover Versions

Part three of the blog indulgence is a list of cover versions.  I love a good cover version for what it can bring to a well known song, for introducing you to new artists or a breadth of artists you already know, and to re-engage you in a song you thought you didn’t like.  A good cover version brings something new; some good cover versions will trick you into thinking the song is an original – indeed, some cover versions are the definitive version – think Tainted Love, Always on My Mind or Hallelujah.

Tori Amos is a bit of a champion of the cover; her version of Smells Like Teen Spirit was probably when I first realised the potential in re-interpreting songs.  She’s done some other corkers as well, from Slayer to Chas ‘n’ Dave.  Some will note a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody by Fuzzbox – the original by Queen was in my most hated songs, but the Fuzzbox version – a loopy acapella romp is genuinely hilarious.  There are a couple of oddities in there – Eddi Reader is best known for Patience of Angels, which was written by Boo Hewerdine who then recorded it in 2006; his might be the cover.  Likewise, the Gwen Stefani and Annie Lennox tracks are both obscure Keane tracks, the originals of which won’t be known to many.  Check out the Arctic Monkeys ‘Love Machine’ – a band really having fun with a song.

There are a couple of covered songs here that appear twice – Love Will Tear Us Apart, Hallelujah and Always on My Mind (though the Elvis version isn’t one of them), a couple of artists whose songs are covered a couple of times and hopefully one or two surprises… Original artists are in brackets.

  1. 29 Palms – American Girl (Tom Petty)
  2. A-ha – Crying in the Rain (Everly Brothers)
  3. Alison Krauss – Baby, Now That I Found You (The Foundations)
  4. Amy Winehouse – Valerie (The Zutons)
  5. Annie Lennox – Pattern of My Life (Keane; originally Closer Now)
  6. Arctic Monkeys – Love Machine (Girls Aloud)
  7. Avril Lavigne – The Scientist (Coldplay)
  8. Barry Manilow – If Tomorrow Never Comes (Garth Brooks)
  9. Beautiful South – You’re the One That I Want (Olivia Newton John/John Travolta)
  10. Bloc Party – Say it Right (Nelly Furtado)
  11. Brooke Fraser – Distant Sun (Crowded House)
  12. Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way (Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes)
  13. Corrine Bailey Rae – Munich (Editors)
  14. David Gray – Say Hello Wave Goodbye (Soft Cell)
  15. Deacon Blue – It’s Not Funny Anymore (Husker Du)
  16. Deacon Blue – Trampolene (Julian Cope)
  17. Devendra Banhart – Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis)
  18. Eddi Reader – Patience of Angels (Boo Hewerdine)
  19. Erasure – Take a Chance on Me (ABBA)
  20. Fat Lady Sings – Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Paul Simon)
  21. Flaming Lips – Can’t Get You Out of My Head (Kylie Minogue)
  22. Fuzzbox – Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
  23. Girls Aloud – Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus)
  24. Glenn Campbell – Good Riddance (Green Day)
  25. Gossip – Careless Whisper (George Michael)
  26. Guns N Roses – Live and Let Die (Wings)
  27. Gwen Stefani – Early Winter (Keane)
  28. Happy Mondays – Step On (John Kongos)
  29. Hootie and the Blowfish – Driver 8 (REM)
  30. Horse – Wichita Lineman (Glenn Campbell)
  31. Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
  32. John Mayer – Free Falling (Tom Petty)
  33. Johnny Cash – One (U2)
  34. Jose Gonzalez – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
  35. kd lang – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
  36. Keane – Under Pressure (Queen and David Bowie)
  37. Keaton Henson – You Were Always on Mind (Gwen McCrae)
  38. Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hanging On (The Supremes)
  39. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – I’ve Been Losing You (a-ha)
  40. Kirsty MacColl – A New England (Billy Bragg)
  41. KT Tunstall – Tangled Up in Blue (Bob Dylan)
  42. KT Tunstall – The Prayer (Bloc Party)
  43. KT Tunstall – Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
  44. Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get Blue Monday Out of my Head (New Order)
  45. Lemar – I Believe in a Thing Called Love (The Darkness)
  46. Lily Allen – Mr Blue Sky (ELO)
  47. Manic Street Preachers – Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head (BJ Thomas)
  48. Mindy Smith – Jolene (Dolly Parton; Parton features on this version)
  49. Nerina Pallot – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
  50. Nouvelle Vague – Guns of Brixton (The Clash)
  51. Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind (Gwen McCrae)
  52. Phil Collins – Can’t Stop Loving You (Leo Sayer)
  53. REM – The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Solomon Linda; originally Mbube)
  54. Renee Geyer – Into Temptation (Crowded House)
  55. River City People – California Dreaming (The Mamas and the Papas)
  56. Robbie Williams – Louise (Human League)
  57. Elvis Costello – She (Charles Aznavour)
  58. Sixpence None the Richer – There She Goes (The La’s)
  59. Smith and Burrows – Wonderful Life (Black)
  60. Soft Cell – Tainted Love (Gloria Jones)
  61. Stephen Lindsay – Monkey Gone to Heaven (Pixies)
  62. Stereophonics – Handbags and Gladrags (Chris Farlowe)
  63. Take That – Relight My Fire (Dan Hartman)
  64. The Big Dish – Refugee (Tom Petty)
  65. The Civil Wars – Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
  66. The Futureheads – Hounds of Love (Kate Bush)
  67. The Streets – Your Song (Elton John)
  68. Thea Gilmore – Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  69. Tom McRae – Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)
  70. Tori Amos – Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
  71. Travis – Hit Me Baby One More Time (Britney Spears)
  72. U2 – Everlasting Love (Love Affair)
  73. Vonda Shepherd – This Ole Heart of Mine (The Isley Brothers)
  74. Will Young – Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush)
  75. Wonder Stuff and Vic Reeves – Dizzy (Tommy Roe)
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75 Terrible Songs (in no particular order)

As promised, I’m following up my favourite songs list with a list of stinkers.  This has been more difficult for a couple of reasons.  First, you tend not to cherish these, rather you put them to the back of your mind.  A lot of them are one-hit wonders, so the artists don’t stick around, and a lot are recognised stinkers, so they don’t get played much. There might be some controversy: I’m no fan of Eric Clapton and I think ‘Wonderful Tonight’ is particularly risible.  John Lennon’s half-arsed ‘Imagine’ is in the same camp.  I’m no fan of Queen either and their regular appearance at wedding discos (not in person, obviously) is sure to get my hackles up.  There’s a lot of awful 90s techno in there, which should be banished to the musical dustbin promptly and I think the rest are acknowledged stinkers, insipid covers, patronising kids songs and sappy dross.

A couple of notes: some of the tracks often cited in lists like this – Las Ketchup, Macarena, Mambo No.5, anything by Steps – I actually quite like.  And this isn’t a ‘coming out’ post either.  Further, I’m not a fan of jazz or reggae as two of the more mainstream forms of music, but I can’t include tracks here because you actually have to know the songs to actively hate them.  See what you think.  75 covers to follow soon…

  1. 10cc – Dreadlock Holiday
  2. 2 Unlimited – No Limit
  3. Amy Grant – Baby, Baby
  4. Apache Indian – Boom Shak-a-lak
  5. Aswad – Don’t Turn Around
  6. Aztec Camera – Somewhere in the City
  7. Baha Men – Who Let the Dogs Out?
  8. Barry White – Show You Right
  9. Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart
  10. Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
  11. Bombalurina – Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
  12. Celine Dion – Think Twice
  13. Charles and Eddie – Would I lie to you?
  14. Chris de Burgh – Lady in Red
  15. Clive Dunn – Grandad
  16. Cranberries – Desperate Andy
  17. Crazy Frog – Axel F
  18. Demis Roussos – Forever and Ever
  19. Eiffel 65 – Blue
  20. Elton John – Nikita
  21. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
  22. Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven
  23. Eva Cassidy – Songbird
  24. Extreme – More Than Words
  25. Fast Food Rockers – Fast Food Song
  26. Glenn Medeiros – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You
  27. Ini Kamoze – Hot Stepper
  28. Jason Donovan – Sealed with a Kiss
  29. Jennifer Lopez – Jenny from the Block
  30. Jennifer Rush – The Power of Love
  31. John Lennon – Imagine
  32. John Paul Young – Love is in the Air
  33. Keith Harris and Orville – I Wish I Could Fly
  34. Kriss Kross – Jump
  35. MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
  36. Michael Jackson – Earth Song
  37. Middle of the Road – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
  38. Mousse T Vs Hot ‘n’ Juicy – Horny
  39. Mr Blobby – Blobby Song
  40. Nick Berry – Every Loser Wins
  41. Nizlopi – JCB Song
  42. OMC – How Bizarre
  43. Owen Paul – My Favourite Waste of Time
  44. Pat and Mick – Let’s All Chant
  45. Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack – Tonight, I Celebrate My Love For You
  46. Psy – Gangham Style
  47. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
  48. Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe
  49. Reynolds Girls – I’d Rather Jack
  50. Robert Palmer – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
  51. S Club 7 – Reach
  52. Salt n Pepa – Push It
  53. Scorpions – Wind of Change
  54. S’Express – Theme from S’Express
  55. Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode
  56. Shanice – Loving You
  57. Smokie with Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown – Living Next Door to Alice
  58. Snap – The Power
  59. Snow – Informer
  60. Spin Doctors – Two Princes
  61. St Winifred’s Choir – There’s No-one Quite Like Grandma
  62. Stefan Dennis – Don’t it Make a You Feel Good
  63. Stevie Wonder – I Just Called to Say I Love You
  64. Sting – Russians
  65. Taja Sevelle – Love is Contagious
  66. Technotronic – Pump Up the Jam
  67. The Beatles – Long and Winding Road
  68. The Knack – My Sharona
  69. The Nolans – I’m in the Mood for Dancing
  70. THFC – Tottenham, Tottenham
  71. Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight
  72. UB40 – Rat in Mi Kitchen
  73. Westlife – Mandy
  74. Will Smith – Boom Shake the Room
  75. Womack and Womack – Teardrops