Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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36 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    No, but I’ve heard some songs and thought, “gee that SOUNDS like x but not quite.” I usually don’t find covers or remakes to be that interesting. I remember when I got my first IPOD and was d/l music from the store and I found out that some of the artists had remaked their own songs. Really annoying when I’m looking for the original Gene Love Jesabel song “Desire” and it’s been remixed.

    I will say that some covers/redos are good: Both the original Venus by Shocking Blue and Bannarama, and Blue Monday by New Order and Orgy I like very much.Report

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    Hey, it’s not fair to say that Oasis just ripped off the Beatles!

    They also ripped off T. Rex:

    And the Verve:

    And the Pistols:

    (None of this should be taken as a slam on Oasis, who I have a soft spot for. Noel is hilarious and down to earth, and he had the good sense to steal from the best. He also focused on hooks and melodies, and that is why his songs will last, while so many of his contemporaries focused their energies on sounds and scenes – those, inevitably, date.)Report

  3. Avatar Bob says:

    Love that Modern Vices is mentioned. Great record and live even betterReport

  4. Avatar aaron david says:

    I always loved covers and reinterpretations, but yeah, covers bands do suck.

    In any case, you might like Cults, they seem to really capture that girl group sound:

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to aaron david says:

      I won’t opine negatively on bands that *strictly* do covers (working musicians gotta pay the bills somehow). But I always enjoy a band that has a wide repertoire of quality covers to go along with their originals.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        I think a band having its own identity can make covers more interesting. Knowing that Joe Cocker is, er, abundantly energetic lends a color to “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” without which, if you simply heard it next to the original without knowing Cocker, might make his interpretation seem kind of silly.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        Say, the Beatles, three of who first four albums had 8 originals and 6 covers. And the covers were so good that many people think of Twist and Shout and Please Mr. Postman (among others) as Beatles songs. I suspect a lot of folks likewise think of Summertime Blues as a Who song.Report

  5. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Your chronology is off regarding Sha Na Na. They began performing in 1969. They played at Woodstock, immediately before Hendrix: one of the greatest WTF? moments in music history. It is a defensible position that they *created* the ’50s nostalgia we associate with Happy Days and Grease. (This is not, by the way, intended as a defense of Sha Na Na: merely a factual correction.)

    As for covers, I come from a classical music background. I find the attitude of distain kind of mystifying. Classical music nearly entirely separates the roles of composer and performer. It is kind of interesting to hear, for example, a recording of Aaron Copland conducting his own composition, but no one would suggest that other recordings or performances are less valid. Other musical traditions have this idea that they have to keep moving forward. I have read jazz critics who complain about young jazz trumpeters who sound like Miles Davis, and traditional New Orleans-style jazz seems to be regarded as strictly a museum piece. Coming from a background that regards music going back to the 12th century to be fair game, I find this very weird.Report

    • Avatar ian351c in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I’m not sure if this a confirmation or a counterpoint, but I’ve always appreciated covers most when they stand on their own as performances. Some of my favorites that come to mind are:

      – Gob’s cover of Paint It Black (I love the Stones, but Paint It Black is definitely a punk song at heart)
      – Metallica’s cover of Astronomy (it was years before I found out this was a BOC cover)
      – Joe Cocker (enough said)
      – Run DMC’s cover of Walk This Way (the music video especially)Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I don’t really follow contemporary music. Is there no such thing as a pop standard anymore?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Wasn’t that what Winehouse was doing in essence?Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

          Maybe I’m using the term incorrectly, but as I understand it, a standard is defined by having many recordings by many different artists.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Sublime did “Summertime.” 😉Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

              Sorry—I guess that wasn’t quite clear. I know people still record old standards occasionally. I was asking about new standards. Say, songs written in the last fifteen years recorded by ten or more prominent artists. That’s not really a thing anymore, is it?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Yeah, I knew that’s what you meant. There are songs that get covered by more than one other artist, but I don’t think anything on the level of a “Summertime” or “Mack the Knife,” which were pretty much requirements to record in the “pop standards” genre.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Everybody covers Leonard Cohen and not anywhere near enough people but still a non-zero amount cover Joan Armatrading…

                But not the same songs.

                They don’t make them like they used to.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are a couple eighties post-punk songs that have sort of become “standards” in the alt/indie/whateveryouwannacallit scene. I can compile for you a dozen known (if not superstar) bands covering songs like “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” or “Love Will Tear Us Apart” without breaking a sweat.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

                Though a lot of them would be live. “Recorded” on stage might not be what Brandon meant.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            I posted a cover of Chromatics’ version of Rodgers & Hart’s “Blue Moon” not long ago.

            But that may be stretching the “pop” part, because as much as *I* love them, Chromatics are not operating at superstar levels of mass popularity.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor says:

    this is fun, and made me also think about older music that still sounds ahead of it’s time today (Sonics, Iggy Pop, Son House, Flaming Lips). Anyway, some stuff along the lines of Sharon Jones (though she’s incomparable):

    (Curtis Mayfield) Mayer Hawthorne – Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out

    (Bobby Darren) Nick Waterhouse – Say I Wanna Know

    (Serge Gainsbourg) Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Come Undone

    Sallie Ford – Against The Law

    • Avatar Chris in reply to trizzlor says:

      Man, I am picking up pretty much everything that comes out of Daptones because of that retro feel.

      Plus we’ve now seen both Charles Bradley twice.Report

  7. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    For years I thought “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was actually from the 50s.

    Back when it came out, my sister bought, and played to death, the American Pie soundtrack. I could have sworn that “Sway” was a much older song. In retrospect, I’m not sure why, because I can’t point to any particular era it reminds me of; but at the time it sounded decidedly not-90s to me.

    A few years ago, Jay posted starstella’s “Lost in Time” over on MD. I thought it for sure it was from the late 70s or early 80s, but it was actually from 2005.

    Listening on YouTube with headphones, I can definitely tell that it’s not Bobby Darin, but on AM radio with freeway background noise, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ “Come Back to Me” was close enough to fool me.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Oh, yeah. Lost in Time was amazing. It deserved to come out decades prior.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

        Thanks for that. Also, “Tea & Sympathy,” which was a twofer, because not only was it a pretty good song, but while trying to find it I stumbled on an even better song of the same title by Janis Ian.

        Turns out that the Nicky in “Tea & Sympathy” (the one you posted) is the proprietress of a British grocery store in New York called “Tea & Sympathy.” I did a double take when I saw her featured in this story about Hershey’s blocking imports of British Cadbury chocolate into the US after they acquired it.Report

  8. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    By the way, the last video is a duplicate.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I still can’t believe that Ladytron is from 2001. I would have sworn that I had spent the nineties listening to them alongside Massive Attack.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Sha Na Na is interesting insofar as how it was a cover band.

    It wasn’t pretending to be (pick a group) as much as it was pretending to be the sound of an era. I’m trying to figure out if we have anything at all like that today and the closest thing that I can think of is a Bar Cover Band. On a big national level, do we have anything like that?

    I know that Ringo Starr and his All Star Band might come the closest (but they’re all singing the songs that someone in this year’s version of the supergroup was associated with anyway and besides it’s not like they’re releasing albums or anything).

    But if you wanted a group that came out and sang a bunch of songs from your youth or adolescence (or the youth or adolescence your parents inflicted on you), is there anything like that today?

    I can’t think of anything.

    Well, except going to a local bar.Report

  11. When I first heard Hey There, Delilah, not only was I sure it was from the 70s, I recognized it as Jonathan Richman.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Oh man… I used to listen to that Oasis album all the time. I feel young again!

    And now I feel old again thinking how long ago that was…Report