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“Dawg, you really made that your own!” Every American Idol contestant beamed when they heard Randy Jackson say that.
Of course, some covers are just awful, like the Jonas Brothers totally destroying the 80s’ classic “Take On Me.”
Oh brother. That was painful. Ruined a perfectly good memory for me. I spent more than my share of quality time feathering my hair and slathering on makeup to that song.
And then there’s this abomination—Candy Flip’s cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” (You have to watch this, just to experience its awfulness.)
Truly cringe-worthy stuff. Someone please send Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr a sympathy card.
But, thankfully, there are covers that are absolutely brilliant. One of my favorites is Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Rufus Wainwright also does a great job (his version is in Shrek), but no one sang with heart like Buckley. It was a great loss to the musical world that he died in 1997 at only 30 years of age.
Jeff’s version was played during the tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings at Fenway Park.
Another cover I’ve recently found that deserves acclaim is Sturgill Simpson’s country version of “The Promise.” (As you listen to the 80s’ version, don’t be surprised if you have images of llamas named Tina, fried steak, and Glamour Shots by Deb dancing in your head.)
Sturgill’s cover would make Randy Jackson proud. As a traditional country singer with a silky baritone voice, he truly makes the song his own. Anyone who loves the smooth tones of Don Williams will swoon to Sturgill’s version of The Promise.
What are your most beloved—and most despised—covers?