Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special You Can't Always Get What You...Whatever Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my V is for Vavoom! consultant Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to beautiful downtown Dayton, Ohio for a weekend at the private tanning salon of Rep. John Boehner (R-Protozoan). Seriously -- doesn't anybody else think it's worth noting that the current face of the Republican Party is an angry orange guy? I mean what's up with that?

In any case, further posting by moi will have to be sporadic for a day or two as a result.

In the meantime, then, here's a hopefully fun little project for us all:

All-Time Best or Worst Rolling Stones Covers!!!

No arbitrary rules here, but just so we're clear -- we're talking about covers of songs by the Stones, not songs that the Stones covered. Jagger/Richards tunes, in other words, as interpreted by other artistes or miscreants.

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is --

7. Melanie -- Ruby Tuesday



You know, I get a little annoyed sometimes by uninformed anti-Baby Boomer snark from younger friends, but then sometimes I remember -- shit, my generation actually bought this dingbat's records.

6. Rage Against the Machine -- Street Fighting Man



This one totally misses the point, I think, but of course nothing says "Total victory is ours, comrades!" like an album marketed by the Sony Corporation.

5. Bette Midler -- Beast of Burden



Miss M's finest recorded moment, no question. Certainly it beats "Wind Beneath My Wings" all to hell.

4. Social Distortion -- Back Street Girl



I had mixed feelings about this one for the longest time -- the original is, IMHO, one of the Stones' genuine (if mostly overlooked) masterpieces, and SD's punkish take lacks a certain depth and ambiguity. On balance, though, I think it's effective on its own terms.

3. The Dirtbombs -- No Expectations




I'm a huge fan of these guys, but I have to admit, in theory I didn't figure this one was going to work. Frontman Mick Collins' trademark punk-with-soul turns out to suit the song to a T, however (as does the mashup with another Stones classic).

2. Supersuckers with Steve Earle -- Before They Make Me Run



The band is a little clunky, but if anybody has a right to sing Keith's outlaw blues classic it's Earle.

And the Numero Uno, so unbelievably bad it's amazing they were able to go out in public after it was released, Stones cover has got to be...

1. Grand Funk Railroad -- Gimme Shelter



Seriously, this is worse than that kid on American Idol doing "Under My Thumb" last week.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: Most Amusing or Alarming Movie Titles! -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and leaving a comment, it would make all the difference vis a vis sensitive negotiations between me and management. Thanks!]

45 comments:

Peter said...

Ellen Foley did a version of "Stupid Girl" that did what a lot of these have done, drain it of all subtlety, musicality, and fun.

At the other end of the scale there's Townes Van Zandt's "Dead Flowers," as heard at the end of "The Big Lebowski."

Otis Redding's "Satisfaction"? I know I'm supposed to like it but it's a little too Gotta-Gotta for my taste.

Jeffrey said...

"Honky Tonk Women" - the Pogues. A recording followed, but mostly I remember it as an encore at one of their shows, with (I think) Spider Stacy singing lead while mimicking Jagger's mincing strut. Great fun.

"Satisfaction" - Television (on The Blow-Up). Messy, but exciting.

cthulhu said...

Well, there's the Who's cover of "Under My Thumb"; interesting take, but kinda shows the essential differences between the songwriters for the bands...three guesses which one I prefer.

FD13NYC said...

But Grand Funk did some good songs too, no?

Dave said...

Little Richard's cover of "Brown Sugar" might not have been his crowning achievement: http://s0.ilike.com/play#Little+Richard:Brown+Sugar:1654257:s27961551.8790196.13993335.0.2.130%2Cstd_8917d8afaf954383a2388e5f4b9099b0

Nor Ramblin Jack Elliott's "Connection" http://s0.ilike.com/play#Ramblin%27+Jack+Elliott:Connection:4329294:s35132564.9771114.15864207.0.2.100%2Cstd_98f2e049ce4b4c1693431e010473197d

Lulu almost can do no wrong in my book, and her recorded version isn't bad at all, but yikes -- watch this TV version of "The Last Time" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kcaw-ZDUp9o

Charo's version of "Let's Spend the Night Together" is, well, different: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE5xzHT_nDg

Chris Farlowe and Del Shannon's covers of "Out of Time" were both superb. Likewise Shannon's cover of "Under My Thumb"

A little half and half, but I liked Adam Levine's part of the "Wild Horses" duet with Alicia Keys.

dave™© said...

The Damned did a great version of "Citadel". And I'm surprised Steve didn't remember Bowie's version of "Let's Spend the Night Together" from "Aladdin Sane"! "They said we were too young and our love was no fun...!"

dave™© said...

Oh, and the Residents first single, IIRC, was a wild, wild cover of "Satisfaction". Let's not forget the Devo version, either...

dave™© said...

Here's that Damned cover of "Citadel".

Pretty cool!

dave™© said...

Howzabout Cal Tjader's cover of "Gimme Shelter"?

Marsupial said...

'2000 Man' covered by KISS. Honestly, it's been so long since I've heard it I don't remember if it was a good or bad version -- I just know that it was the first version my young ears heard.

Michael said...

Susan Boyle's Wild Horses makes me wish the song was never written.

steve simels said...

Marsupial -- the Kiss version of 2000 man is godawful, if memory serves.

And dave --
Charo's version of "Let's Spend the Night Together" is, well, different: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE5xzHT_nDg

-- there's a part of me that's gone forever; there's a part of me that's never coming back.
:-)

MBowen said...

The Loud Family and Anton Barbeau did a nice version of "Rocks Off" on their comeback album What If It Works? Braniacs that they are, the followed it with a song called "Song About 'Rocks Off'".

The studio version is L.A. lame, but Linda Ronstadt did a live version of "Tumbling Dice" (on the FM soundtrack, IIRC) that kicks.

Gummo said...

Man, listening to that Grand Funk song makes me think that most of what was wrong with that band was the bass player. Yuck.

(Though, who can forget their hit version of Locomotion -- with a vocal that's flat for the whole damn song!)

But as to the subject of this list, I'm drawing a blank -- except that the Dead used to do a pretty lame version of Satisfaction occasionally, usually on nights when things just weren't going right. They'd break it out as an encore just to get a singalong going. Didn't help.

Gummo said...

Trademark Dave, I don't have a copy (I used to but that's another story), but I remember that Residents version of Satisfaction -- it was like having a steel comb rubbed up & down your spine. Absolutely creepy, almost unlistenable, and totally great!

Sal Nunziato said...

Ollabelle, Levon Helm's daughter Amy's band, does a pretty great, gospelly "I Am Waiting," that I highly recommend.

Lindsey Buckingham's "She Smiled Sweetly" also great.

Guns & Roses--Sympathy For The Devil running a close second to Grand Funk for worst, IMHO>

steve simels said...

BTW -- re that Bette Midler video abive, which I'd never seen before. I have no idea where it came from -- she did a famous promo movie of "Beast of Burden" with Jagger that I assumed was it.

But this one is fricking amazing. And i daresay a young Amy Winehouse watched it compulsively....

J. Loslo said...

That "All Blues'd Up" compilation of blues artists doing the Stones is a mixed bag at best, but I'm fond of Alvin Youngblood Hart's takes on both "Moonlight Mile" and "Sway."

steve simels said...

I love AYH's 'Moonlight Mile."

Edward said...

The Mo-Dettes version of Paint It Black is fabulous.

Edward said...

And a double feature of Marianne Faithful's
As Tears Go By and Sister Morphine (though the latter it turns out is actually hers)

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

How about the entire American Idol show from last week?

That has to be the all-time worst show in history - not just the worst AI show - but the worse OVERALL - in history.

I kept waiting for Chuck Barris' gong. And, worse yet - it didn't come!

Gummo said...

Sanctuary, I'm with you there.

I won't mention who was watching it, but that abomination was on in our house so I saw some of it.

The absolute worst I saw had to be that girl who sang Ruby Tuesday with a big grin on her face the whole time. She obviously had less than no clue what she was singing or what emotion she was supposed to project, so she put on a high school musical smile and went at it.

Bob said...

Nancy Sinatra does As Tears Go By on Boots.

Mike said...

Can't seem to find the video but Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams did a cover of Wild Horses on a CMT show a few years ago that was just sublime.

How about the Records' version of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby?

steve simels said...

Mike:

The Records did Have You Seen Your Mother?

Why did I not get the memo on that? When? Where is that from?

More important, have you got an mp3?

Brooklyn Girl said...

Linda Ronstadt's "Tumbling Dice" ... great arrangement, she hits all the right notes ... but it is utterly devoid of any rock sensibility. This may be why:

Linda Ronstadt had a top 40 hit with "Tumbling Dice" in 1977. In an interview with Hit Parader magazine, Ronstadt said that her band played "Tumbling Dice" for soundchecks, but nobody knew the words. Jagger suggested that Ronstadt should sing more rock songs and suggested "Tumbling Dice". Ronstadt made him write down the lyrics.

And as a result, it sounds as if she's singing it phonetically.

And Bono's attempt to sing "Gimme Shelter" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary concert was fucking awful. Makes you realize how great Mick really is.

The Hamzinger said...

Devo's cover of Satisfaction is one of the best, IMO. The fact that it also granted them a new lease on life is just a nice bonus.

DC ska band The Pietasters did a very solid cover of Under My Thumb, too; I just like it w/ the horns...

Dan said...

Well I always was fond enough of Brand New Key etc., but I have to admit Melanie turned Ruby Tuesday into a warbly tuneless mush. "she comes... and THEN she goes..." It suggests that there might be a syndrome called "over-folking?"

steve simels said...

The Hamzinger:

Dude, did you really have an overweight Misfits cover band called the Misfats?

If so, that's fricking hilarious...

Mike said...

Steve, it's a bonus cut on the CD version of the first album. Originally it was on an EP of covers that came with the original release.

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:d9fpxqqrldke

I have it at home and will be glad to upload it for everybody's listening pleasure.

Nigel Tufnel said...

Gummo, funny you should mention the bass player in Grand Funk. The liner notes to the album "Mark, Don and Mel 1969-1971" (something of a record in pretentous album titles by power trios, certainly) contain reprints of contemporary reviews of Grand Funk albums by rock critics, some famous, some not-so-much, some from national outlets like Rolling Stone and some from small town papers. Two things ALL the reviews had in common were their impression that the band sucked donkey balls and their grudging praise for bassist Mel Schacher (some even spelling his name correctly).

Personally, I'm of two minds about Schacher: technically, he was pretty good on a lot of their less overblown stuff, but he tended to follow Mark Farner's lead and go way over the top on songs like "Closer to Home" and the Stones cover we have here. Anyone who can sit through all eleven minutes of "Closer to Home" without chemical assistance has my profound pity and my unwilling admiration for their systemic fortitude.

steve simels said...

Mike:

I totally forgot that it was on that EP. I'm a huge fan of the cover of "See My Friends" but I'd blanked out the Stones song.

rurritable said...

The Sundays' cover of Wild Horses always struck me as pretty otherworldly.

Gummo said...

Nigel Tufnel:

Hey, when I was 14, Closer to Home was IT!

But even then, it was a tongue-in-cheek "it."

DeepKarma said...

allow me to second your Dirtbombs mention. This band kicks ASS. Do yourself a favor and catch them live the next time they roll around. Mick and the gang put on an incredible high-octane show. Guaranteed to leave you drenched in sweat and begging for more.

Mike said...

The Records doing Have You Seen... is here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?ghjzy2mmjzh

David said...

Muddy Waters did "Let's Spend the Night Together" on "Electric Mud"

Dave said...

Sal,

Another weird "Sympathy for the Devil" cover...

Who would be the least likely contemporaneous English pop star would cover the song? How about Sandie Shaw?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCnZJt26lh8

Feral said...

3 days late but I gotta chime in...
No one mentioned Rod Stewart's cover of "Street Fighting Man", compentent if unexciting, and Buckwheat Zydeco does an OK cover of "Beast of Burden". The Dead covered "Let's Spend the Night Together" as well, IIRC.

Feral said...

Oh, and Blood, Sweat and Tears did a cringe-enducing cover of "Sympathy for the Devil".

cuddlefish said...

Some of my favorites:
Sympathy for the Devil - Laibach (all seven versions)
Paint It Black - Band of Susans, Avengers, The Feelies
Star Star - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Cat Power

TMink said...

Ewwww, BST does SFTD. Yuck!

The Stones did a great country version of Honky Tonk Women, if that counts.

It does for me!

Trey

Billy said...

I'm late too but nobody mentioned Johnny Winter's great versions of "Silver Train" and "Let it Bleed" (on Still Alive and Well LP).

And he did a great live version of "It's All Over Now."

The Fleshtones: Play With Fire. Done as a rave up, cool but not sure that tune needed that kind of treatment.

drkrick said...

A whole week and nobody mentioned the Flying Burrito Brother's version of "Wild Horses"? Apparently it was the only song on the second album Gram Parsons cared about or tried on.