Chart Rundown number 1! 10 to 6, some cover versions! Hot cha!

1 Jun

(an occasional series where I post some YouTube vids instead of thinking of anything witty or poignant to write)

Hello gang.

Sorry about the last few posts. Life was bad, and now it’s good again, so let’s draw a line under that.

This is the first of two posts where I cover what I believe to be ten of the best cover versions of other songs of all time. Now, these won’t be my favourite ten, nor will they be in a strict order, simply because I have a nasty habit of doing this sort of thing, someone then commenting “yeah, but what about Wonderwall by Mike Flowers Pops?”, resulting in me hastily revising the original post. Or, if I can’t be bothered doing that, simply throwing the computer machine across the room.

So get your headphones “plugged in”, your “eyes” “turned on”, and your attentions spanned. These are nominally numbers 10 to 6. Enjoy.

10. Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – This Is How It Feels

In 1990, popular northern beat combo “The Inspiral Carpets” did a trippy, sad, Farfiza organ led song about a man who, trapped in the lonelyness and despair of being at the top of his game, topped himself. In 1991, Carter USM released an equally depressing tune called “After the Watershed”, about domestic abuse. On the B-Side, or track two if you had a new fangled CD player, was this.
Poppier, faster, more upbeat than the Inspirals original, it can be seen in one of two ways; a) a sideswipe at their early britpop contempories or b) an attempt to address a serious subject in an irreverent, but not necessarily disrespectful tone. As it turned out, it was to be the first of many irreverent covers that they’d do as B-sides or live versions, including Kraftwerk’s The Model, The Smiths’ Panic, and Shampoo’s Trouble to name but three.

9. bis – Don’t You Want Me?

bis (who don’t believe in conventional grammar) are/were a band from Glasgow, perhaps most famous for being the first unsigned band to appear on Top of the Pops, or for performing the closing theme to the Powerpuff Girls cartoon. I say are/were. To date, I have been to three of their farewell gigs, and the fuckers keep coming back. Perhaps’s they don’t really die. Maybe they weren’t ever really a band. They might be a musical Schrödinger’s Cat. Anyway, this is them doing the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” as an encore at their most recent farewell gig, at the ABC in Glasgow in 2007. If you squint, you can just about make out my shadow at the front.

8. The Fall – Lost In Music

The Fall. If I’m honest, I don’t really understand what it is they are trying to do. Scare kids? Get arrested? Get naked? I shudder to think. What I like about them is the contrast between the tight, organised session musicians (and let’s not kid ourselves, that’s exactly what they are) more than holding a tune and the bizarre, barely comprehensible (but often witty) words of Mr Mark Smith.
In this tune, a cover of the 1979 Sister Sledge classic, is an excellent case in point. Played as a straight cover, this would have been technically brilliant yet utterly pointless, much like Speedway’s cover of “Genie in a Bottle”. Enter M.E.S. stage left, telling us in French that the money is on the table. What money, Mark? Who does it belong to? Why are you telling us? Why don’t you know the French for money? It’s Argent, Mark. ARGENT. No, Kiss’ cover of “God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You” won’t be in this damn list. Huss!

7. Balanescu Quartet – The Model

Ah yes, the Balanescu Quartet. Who dem, den? Well, according to “Wikipedia”, the “free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit”, they are an avant-garde string quartet founded in 1987 by Alexander Bălănescu. They specialise in covers, apparently, and they do the theme for Jeremy Paxman’s modern “University Challenge” telly series.
This is a cover of Kraftwerk’s “The Model”. Now, they did a whole album of Kraftwerk covers, and I chose this one here simply because it’s the first one that came up on YouTube. But what’s that? Who’s that groovy cat in blue? Surely it can’t be Dumbarton’s finest Canadian, the Talking Heads’ David Byrne? I’m afraid so. He just had to turn up and ruin it, didn’t he? Just like he did with Windows 98.

6. Apoptygma Berzerk – Electricity

I know absolutely nothing about these guys. I had assumed from the name alone that they would be German, possibly Swiss, nu-Goth, possible Satanists and almost certainly on the run from die Polizei. How wrong could I be! According to their Wikipedia entry, they’re from Norway, the name doesn’t really mean anything, nothing’s said about Lucifer, and the police aren’t even involved! How disappointingly vague! The only notable fact about the band is that they once released a live album, titled “Imagine there’s no Lennon”, for which they are surely due some sort of award.
This is a cover of O.M.D.’s first single, released on Factory Records back in 1978. The cover isn’t all that different to the original – it’s played fairly straight, but slightly faster, bit louder, a longer instrumental in the middle, and a funny accent. Yes, I know xenophobia ain’t cool, but we’re all allowed a Eurotrash moment, aren’t we?

Join me next time, you lovely people, for the definitive* best 5 songs-what-are-covers of all time, ever. Don’t forget, if you have a different opinion, want to tell me why my choices suck, or simply to remind me about that thing, why not leave a comment?

*not definitive.


One Response to “Chart Rundown number 1! 10 to 6, some cover versions! Hot cha!”


  1. Wot, no Laibach’s Final Countdown? Top Cover Versions ARE GO! Part 2. (5 down to 1, ya dig?) « Explainin' The Cosmos - June 2, 2011

    […] result? Eight minutes of pure joy. As I said yesterday, what I like about cover versions is that they distort and change the context in which the lyrics […]


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