Friday, July 06, 2018

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

[I originally posted this back in 2010, back when the world and this blog were young. I've decided to revive it for no particular reason except I chanced across it the other day and thought -- hey, if I was doing this now, I'd probably include some other songs. So I've re-written parts of it and changed a bunch of the song selections, just to prove I'm not the slacker everybody mostly assumes I am. Enjoy, if at all possible. -- S.S.]

Okay, kids -- here a fun project for us all!

All-Time Best or Worst Covers of Songs by the Rolling Stones!!!

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 Fourteen is --

14. Alvin Youngblood Hart -- Moonlight Mile

On balance, if I had to pick my favorite Stones song of all time, this would be it, and this great blues guy just nails it to the wall. Genius at work.

13. The Loud Family -- Rocks Off

In a million years, it never would have occurred to me that this bunch would do such a great version of this masterpiece from Exile on Main Street. But then again, the late Scott Miller was a freaking genius, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

12. The Floor Models -- 19th Nervous Breakdown

Recorded with a boom box in front of the band at one of our legendary gigs at the Other End, with the late great Andy Pasternack doing the famous opening Brian Jones riff on an electric 12-string, and our singer's then girlfriend discussing the tab.

As you can see (and hear, especially at the end) I got to do my best Bill Wyman imitation on bass, which was a hell of a lot of fun.

11. The Mona Lisa Twins -- The Last Time

Love these young gals from Liverpool. Their version of this one doesn't have the air of menace of the original, but it more than makes up for that by sheer sprightliness.

10. The Flying Burrito Brothers -- Wild Horses

This actually came out before the Stones version on Sticky Fingers, and after all these years I still kinda prefer it. Gram Parsons never sang more affectingly.

9. Linda Ronstadt -- Tumbling Dice

Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of challah toast -- despite the presence of the great Waddy Wachtel on guitar, this sounds like Ronstadt recorded it with a metronome rammed up her ass.

8. 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.

7. 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.

6. Bette Midler -- Beast of Burden

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

5. 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.

4. 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).

3. The 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.

2. Grand Funk Railroad -- Gimme Shelter

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

And the number one simultaneously best AND worst Rolling Stones cover of all time, it's not even a contest my friends, is....

1. Charo -- Let's Spend the Night Together

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Oh, and have a great weekend, everybody!


edward said...

It's early, so I'll I can think of is

Marianne Faithfull - As Tears Go By

The Mo-Dettes: Paint it Black

Anonymous said...

Aretha - Jumpin' Jack Flash

Anonymous said...

Ellen Foley - Stupid Girl
Peter Frampton - Jumping Jack Flash

Pussy Galore's "Exile on Main Street" was a great stroke of marketing (in a very small market), if nothing else.

Grand Funk's version of "Gimme Shelter" cured me of listening to them, well, at least until "We're an American Band."

Shriner said...

Speaking of American Idol...

I always kind of liked this cover of Paint It Black:

J. Loslo said...

I've never been a big Odetta fan, but her version of No Expectations lurked unplayed in my music library for years before popping up a couple of weeks ago & getting my attention:

Anonymous said...

Favorite: (it varies day to day but for 7/6/18 it is) Street Fight Man - Rod Stewart.

Hated: (never varies) I Can't Get No Satisfaction - The Residents!!!

J. Loslo - The Odetta version of No Expectations is wonderful!

Captain Al

steve simels said...

Sheesh -- I love, nay lurve, the Residents version of "Satisfaction."

Anonymous said...

Shit, I changed my mind already. Now my favorite cover version is Silver Train by Carla Olson and Mick Taylor!

Wait a minute, does it qualify for inclusion? Mick Taylor played (and also claims he should have received songwriting credit) for the original performance but he had been out of the Stones for 15 years by the time the Carla Olson version was recorded.

I vote it qualifies but does anyone else have an opinion?

Captain Al

steve simels said...

The Stones recently gave Mick Taylor several million dollars with no strings attached. Interpret that as you will.

Stu said...

Jeez, I thought this would be in there somewhere.

pete said...

What do all the ones that don't work have in common? They don't swing. I've always loved Aretha's Jumping Jack.

pete said...

And my favorite No Expectations cover is mine.

steve simels said...

Pete — is there a link somewhere?

Mark said...

If I had a favorite, it would definitely be the Loud Family's ROCKS OFF, already on your list. I miss new albums from Scott Miller.

pete said...

I don't know if this will work.

pete said...

Now I've made it public. Let me know if it works or not, or what I should do to make it work.

Anonymous said...


Plays good, good performance!

Captain Al

Alzo said...

OMG. You called Melanie a 'dingbat.' Sometimes you have to wait 45 years for the perfect label to pop up.

mainuh said...

keith urban did a pretty good cover of tumbling dice with albert lee and vince gill.
the video is worth looking for.