And let’s hear it for long, convoluted article titles! Cover songs: some good, some bad, some result in you wondering who the hell that band or artist thought they were even touching that song. At times, that convergence of a great song and an inspired artist, can result in the conception of a classic. It’s a music nerd’s delight to place a song they have a great deal of affection for in the welcoming arms of a band they think could do it justice and maybe even improve it with their vision.
1. Eyes without a Face – Billy Idol
Should be covered by: Washed Out
“Eyes without a Face” is an unbelievable beautiful song. From the opening pitch wheel action on the synth to the angelic female vocal performance of Perri Lister that sings ‘Les jeux san visage’ (French for eyes without a face) as a background chorus which is also the title of a 1960 French horror film that Ido cited as giving him the idea for the song.
I nominate Washed Out to cover the song. I imagine the lush layers of synthesizer and understated vocal performance being a delicate but possibly mesmerizing version.
Best Case for Washed Out:
2. Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
Should be covered by: The Flaming Lips
I don’t know that there is a song that better embodies the 80s than “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. This is such a well crafted song with an incredible amount of elements, some dynamic some subtle. Who better than The Flaming Lips (based on the Borderline section of their resume alone) to give The Breakfast Club theme so much new spark that Judd Nelson would give it a full two fists in the air?
In an interesting tie in, both Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry turned down offers to record the song written by Keith Forsey for the John Hughes classic. Wah waaaah.No matching videos
Best Case for The Flaming Lips:
3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
Should be covered by: John Forte
OK, I’m a tad obsessed with covering songs from the 80s. You’ll get over it, just like the ozone layer got over the copious amount of Aqua Net hairspray. Hi-O! Take that stratosphere! Anyway, another timeless, incredible, meticulously crafted song exploring the lust for power and the misery that power brings, blah, blah, it’s freaking awesome.
And in another interesting tie in, hot damn for you reader, Roland Orzabal, singer and songwriter for the band, admitted that the beat from the song was “borrowed” from a Simple Minds song called Waterfront.
John Forte, hip-hop artist gone the way of the acoustic singer/songwriter, would be the perfect fit to really break the song down in a simple way and apply his incredible story to the songs message.
Best Case for John Forte:
4. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – Marvin Gaye
Should be covered by: J.Viewz
Special mention: Spiritualized
This song is so good it’s otherworldly. It’s even hard to suggest that someone could do it justice. All the subtle percussion is just incredible and you’re not going to top recording with the Funk Brothers.
However, I think an artist with a jazz background and appreciation for subtle intricacies like J.Viewz could do something really special with this song. My first thought of Spiritualized would take it in an entirely different direction, but could still be interesting.
Best Case for J.Viewz:
And you know Marvin would have appreciated that video.
5. Catch the Wind – Donovan
Should be covered by: Built to Spill
Bob Dylan wishes he could write songs like Donovan. “Catch the Wind” may be the best love song ever written . . . lofty, but true. But anyway, it’s gorgeous and the lyrics capture everything that feels good about love.
Built to Spill is one of my favorite bands and have a history of pulling off amazing covers, but this comes down to one thing, Doug Martsch’s voice. It’s the perfect pairing!
Best Case for Built to Spill: