To cover a song is to express admiration. And when it's done well, artists can reach audiences that may have previously been off-limits. Whether a band you've never heard of knocks out a stellar cover of a top 40 hit, or a seasoned headliner covers that band you've now just heard of, the cover is a staple of the music industry. Near and dear to artists, writers, and performers for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is solidarity, appreciation, and community.
1. Smashing Pumpkins - David Bowie's "Space Oddity"
Billy Corgan and crew clearly admire David Bowie and wanted to pay homage to the legendary artist. Here, an already famed band covered a legendary track and added their own hard-edged accents to it.
2. Moon Taxi - Rage Against The Machine's "Bulls On Parade"
This is a great cover because of how unexpected it is. Rage isn't exactly in these indie-rockers' wheelhouse, but they adopted the necessary grit and aggression and nailed it.
3. Ben Gibbard - Avvays' "Archie, Marry Me"
Here we have a very well-known and adored artist covering a track from a brand new band that he admires. This is an awesome gesture because it shows in Gibbard a genuine passion for music and a desire to help talented new artists progress.
4. Father John Misty - Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box"
In this cover, Misty uses his penchant for sarcasm and status as a counter-culture icon to nail a true-to-form rendition of grunge legends Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box." Another clear example of admiration, Tillman adopted some rasp and paid homage to his fellow seattle natives.
5. Tori Kelly - Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie"
Tori Kelly took the Youtube route to stardom. She started uploading videos at age 14, covering top pop acts to garner attention and search bar priority. This JT cover is beautifully executed, and a smart move for a music hopeful trying to get noticed. It looks like it worked.
People, whether artists or fans, like different things in a cover. Share your favorite or least favorite cover, this conversation, like the art of the cover, just never gets tired...