Got It Covered
Saturday, June 06, 2009
As a rule, I don't enjoy cover versions. Oh, okay, I like cover versions of songs I like, by artists I like. John Lennonâs version of âStand by Meâ, for example. Iâd argue it improves upon the original because itâs a song about insecurity and need. At the point in his life when he recorded it, Lennon was estranged from Yoko Ono on his extended so-called âlost weekendâ. He certainly knew about insecurity and need.
Perhaps Ben E. King, who made the original famous, did too. But he sings it with an altogether more majestic and secure vibe. Heâs not a lost, thiry-something-year-old trying to recapture the happiest part of his life.
But I still havenât seen Zappa Plays Zappa live. Even though Frankâs son Dweezil leads the band, it will never be Frank on that stage â even if he is on the screen, accompanying them through a few numbers. But I do have to admit, having heard recordings and seen clips â they are some of the best cover versions of Frank Zappaâs music Iâve ever heard. But it ainât Frank.
But donât start me on cover versions of Beatleâs songs. Thereâs a couple Iâll tolerate â some of the ones on the I Am Sam soundtrack, for example â but on the whole, I donât want to know about them.
Then thereâs this excellent version of âHey Judeâ. Itâs brilliant. I thank Andrew Vallentine for pointing me toward it.
I like it almost as much as Hugh Laurieâs version, many years before House, from A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
I also quite like a version Missy Higgins does of the Skyhooks song âYou Just Like Me âCosIâm Good In Bedâ but I think my attitude mostly dates back to that âis she or isnât she?â early stage of her career. Sorry, I canât find a clip of Missy playing it. Hereâs a live version of the Skyhooks, with an embarrassingly long and no longer quite funny cross-over from Hey, Hey Itâs Saturday.