A small but select group of big names in the music world will be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this Monday. I've got a Single Song Sunday feature on oft-covered fellow inductee Leonard Cohen scheduled for Sunday, and I couldn't find any folk covers of the theme to Hawaii 5-0, but to whet your appetite a bit, here's a few choice covers of and from three other artists who will be strutting their way across the stage to get their due.
As songwriters and producers, Philadelphia soul pioneers Gamble and Huff had their fingers in the pies of thousands of songs; separately and together they've made 170 gold and platinum records, and you know a bunch of them, including the theme to Soul Train. They're also one of the few major players known for celebrating the use of their music for remixes and as hip-hop beats. Here's a few choice covercuts from their stable of songs. (Winehouse song removed, as it was not a cover after all.)
- Beth Orton, Ooh Child (orig. Five Stairsteps)
- Eva Cassidy, Drowning In The Sea Of Love (orig. Joe Simon)
- Keb' Mo', Love Train (orig. The O'Jays)
- Billy Bragg, When Will I See You Again (orig. The Three Degrees)
The roots rock of John (Cougar) Mellencamp transformed my childhood when a family friend who wrote music reviews for a national weekly gave me a copy of Scarecrow; up until that point, other than a few pop 45s, the only records I owned were Thriller and a used copy of the Bee Gees greatest hits. Today, every time I post a song, I'm paying it forward. Here's two surprisingly well-done Mellencamp tributes to his folk predecessors.
- John Mellencamp, Gambling Bar Room Blues (orig. Jimmie Rodgers)
- John Mellencamp, Farewell Angelina (orig. Bob Dylan)
The wholesale reinvention which typifies Madonna, both as a musician and a cultural icon, is essentially anathema to the whole authenticity thing that practically defines the folkworld; as such, it's especially hard to find earnest acoustic covers of Madonna songs. Neither of the two male coverartists below can keep from laughing at the sheer audacity of trying to take their live covers seriously. All three versions are lighthearted romps worth hearing nonetheless.
- Jack Johnson w/ G. Love, Holiday (orig. Madonna)
- Ryan Adams, Like A Virgin (orig. Madonna)
- Lavender Diamond, Like A Prayer (orig. Madonna)
We'll be back Sunday with a short but solid set of covers of my second favorite Leonard Cohen song. Hint: it's not Hallelujah.