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Top 5 Cover Versions

7 Mar

It’s a given that taste in music varies. With that in mind, the original is often the definitive version. Here’s a list of covers that we feel need mentioning for being simply awesome recordings in their own right.

5.Come Together – Ike and Tina Turner

A Head-Turner of a vocal line. Good game.

Okay, so we’re going to start strong. A Beatles song. Arguably, Lennon is one of the best songwriters of all time. Tina Turner’s vocals on this recording shows John Lennon how he wanted it done! Extra points are awarded for the fact Tina Turner was born in a place called Nutbush, TN (1939).

On the original Beatles recording, Paul McCartney didn’t record his backing vocals because John said he would overdub them himself.

4. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix didn’t die – God just needed guitar lessons.

Bob Dylan’s songwriting and Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing. Do I need to say anymore?

Jimi’s version was released 6 months after Bob’s. Dylan himself said ‘I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way…strange how when I sing it I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way’ in the booklet accompanying his Biograph album.

3. Hurt – Johnny Cash

RIP Mr. Cash

Originally by Nine Inch Nails, this song was one of  the last things legend Johnny Cash recorded before his death. Johnny Cash changed some of the words to fit in with his Christian beliefs – e.g. ‘crown of shit’ was changed to ‘crown of thorns’. This lyric change was also present on the radio edit of the NIN version.

Trent Reznor (lead singer of NIN) said of Cash’s version ‘I pop the video in and wow… Tears welling silence goosebumps… wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend because that song isn’t mine anymore…’ in Alternative Press Issue 194 (Sept. 2004).

2. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley

Hallelujah – it’s Jeff Buckley

This song had very little success when Leonard Cohen first released it in 1984. John Cale had more success with his version but then came Jeff Buckley. His version is seen as the go-to version of this classic song.

The chord progression follows the lyrics in the first verse ‘it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, and the major lift’ following C, F, G, Am, F.

In contrast to the other writers in this Top 5, Leonard Cohen is dumbfounded by the sheer number of covers this song has spawned. The record company he was with at the time of writing it didn’t want to put it out. He’s been known to say ‘I think too many people sing it’. We agree – you only need one version and this is it (sorry Leonard!).

1. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

Someone unchained The Righteous Brothers in 1965.

Yes. I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t that the original? No, unbelievable as it seems, the definitive version of Unchained Melody is a cover version.

The song was originally written by Alex North for the 1955 prison film Unchained (hence the title). Hy Zaret put words to the melody and a classic was born. The original was sung by Todd Duncan and was nominated for a 1955 Oscar (Best Song) but it was given to Love is a Many-Splendoured Thing. The Righteous Brothers have taken this original version and created a song that never needs to be recorded again…

Unfortunately it’s been recorded more than enough… and none of them come close to this version.

Okay… So some of these were a little predictable but we’re out to find the Top 5 of everything – it’s likely you’ve heard some of these before.


Top 5 Novelty Bands You and Your Kids Can Enjoy!

1 Mar

If you’ve got children and sick of watching Glee – hearing Bieber (which shouldn’t happen) or can’t watch Grease again… then here’s some bands that will entertain the whole family! Even if you don’t have kids, I personally guarantee you’ll find something on this list to entertain you!

5. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Is there?

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a group of all-singing, all-strumming Ukulele players, using instruments bought with loose change, which believes that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation, as long as they are played on the Ukulele.

Taken from their website found here

4. The Wiyos

Why? O Why? O Why does everybody love my baby?

The Wiyos take their sound from the early 20’s and 30’s. Admittedly a lot of the lyrics are not for the younger ear. However – with all the washboards, bells, and whistles, they’ll be too busy jumping around to notice what it all means. If they do work out the lyrics – it’s likely it’ll just go right over their heads. Ultimately. The Wiyos just represent good, old-fashioned fun.

Go here to find out more.

3. The Spaghetti Western Orchestra

Ai-ai-ai-ai-aiiiii…. Wah-nah-nah…

The magnificent five are riding into town!

Armed with over 100 instruments, these brilliant musicians perform a fistful of Ennio Morricone classics from the movies that made Clint Eastwood a star.

The stunning soundtracks include The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, For A Few Dollars More and Once Upon a Time in The West.

This ingenious gang of comic maestros underscore these iconic compositions with hilarious sound effects… blowing on bottles, crushing cornflakes, ‘playing’ coathangers, apples, squeaky toys, rubber gloves, bicycle pumps, nailclippers and many more – recreating every punch up, gunshot, and jangling spur that define the gun slinging west.

Taken from their wonderful website here

What kid never wanted to be in the Wild West?!

2. Milkshake

Milkshake brings all the kids to the yard…

Milkshake were originally a punk band called ‘LOVE RiOT’, but after taking a hiatus to have children, they took to recording child-friendly rock music for kids instead. They plan on recording music that will grow with them. We look forward to what they have in store as their own kids grow up!

Need to know more? Check them out here

Milkshake comes in at #2 because they are aimed predominantly at children. What can possibly be at #1? Please let me introduce a fine gentleman of exquisite taste… for tea….

1. Professor Elemental

Geoffrey – get off the drums…

Hello there! Welcome to the world of Professor Elemental. Sit down and I’ll brew you a nice hip-hop number, stir in some comedy, then serve it with scones and a nice warm cuddle.

Who am I, you ask? I’m Professor Elemental, a unique and splendid hip-hop artist (though I say so myself). I host and perform at all kinds of shows, from children’s parties to burlesque, festivals to wedding parties. I also teach, as an experienced workshop leader with five years’ of experience. Yes, I’m a versatile chap who fits into a lot of places.

This year, a new Professor Elemental kids’ show has been premiered at the Big Chill festival. In the first kids-only rap show of its kind, Professor Elemental takes children on a fun journey through silly songs, daft dancing, and insane inventions live on stage.

Other than that, thanks for dropping by. You look marvellous, by the way, and I love what you’ve done with your hair.

Taken from his website here

Helpful? Possibly not – but I bet you had a little boogie to at least one!

Top 5 Classical Instruments that Rock!

26 Feb

You’re 16 years old and play in the school band. Your parents have poured their efforts into giving you music lessons. You’re a rock star in your own right. If only you hadn’t picked up the Euphonium. The cool kids don’t realise that some of the most bizarre and nerdiest instruments have been used in the coolest songs around. Beat back the bullies with our Top 5 Classical Instruments that Rock!

5.  The Bagpipes – Example: It’s a Long Way to the Top (If Ya Wanna Rock and Roll) by AC/DC

This is the curveball and hence comes in at #5. It’s in here because it proves that odd instruments not only rock but are pretty awesome. AC/DC = rock. Using Top 5 logic we can therefore say Bagpipes = rock.

4. Harpsichord – Example: Golden Brown by The Stranglers

Alright, this one probably doesn’t even feature on the ‘I-Mac-G4-technowizardry’ generation’s radar. What’s that saying? The old ones are the best. Young punks. Moving on…

3. Flute – Example: Sure Shot by the Beastie Boys

These guys are old school and will fight for your right to party with even the coolest of kids. It’s a Sure Shot.

2. Cello – Example: Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles

Okay. It’s the obvious choice and not exactly the rockiest of songs. It’s one that everyone knows. If you’re not convinced that the Cello can rock as hard as any other instrument, do some homework on the subgenre of rock and metal: Cello Rock. You won’t be disappointed.

1. Violin (plus supporting strings and horn section) – Example: Kashmir by Led Zeppelin

I can’t remember where I read this but I think it was Jack White who said ‘I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Led Zeppelin’. Let this be a lesson to you all. Kashmir has an array of strings and horns that will convince any nonbeliever that classical instruments do indeed rock!

Any other famous songs you think are worth mentioning? That’s what the comment box is for… interesting offers will induce labour for a part 2.