A Global Army of Veteran Rockers
The other day, a friend maintained he'd never heard a decent Ramones cover. I couldn't think of any off the top of my head, either. We're not talking acceptable facsimiles, we're talking better-than-the-original material. I told him I couldn't think of too many decent Stones covers, either -- although I've heard a lot, few do more than merely ape the original. Perhaps it's Keef's tunings and five-string guitar, perhaps it's the fact that most of us are not Mick Jagger... who knows, but it's a tough order to fill.
The subject, therefore, is:
Bands that have not been or cannot be covered effectively.
After the fact I remembered Devo's and Otis Redding's versions of "Satisfaction", both of which are exceptional, so I kinda proved myself wrong on that one, but anyway...
The Who (original band with Moon, Entwistle, Townshend, Daltrey). No one can top their playing or singing as a group. And without Moon driving the bus, it comes off as a cover. I give you exhibit 1, and rest my case--Oasis does a nice cover of My Generation, but it is merely "nice." It does not snarl like Daltrey's stutter and Townshend's surgical riffs:
The Jam and the Breeders have done excellent versions of "So Sad About Us".
So has Shaun Cassidy, my friend. Seriously. Produced by Todd Rundgren, backed by Utopia.
Quasi also routinely trot out Who covers as encores in their sets, to very nice effect, and as a two-or-three-piece. I've seen them do a bunch. Janet Weiss is one of the few drummers I can think of that can bring the Moon thunder required to pull it off.
Apparently, they did a whole set on New Years Eve in their Portland hometown a few years back:
The Ramones is a good one. You would think given their vast catalog and penchant for catchy songs, more bands would try to cover them. Not so.
A highly unsatisfying attempt at LZ. Interesting note in my search it appears Led Zep have covered quite an array of artists. Lots of blues, Howling Wolf, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Joni Mitchell it does not appear that too many "known " artists attempted to cover them.
another non satisfying attempt Joan Baez, covering Babe I'm gonna Leave you..leaves me annoyed.
I was thinking that the Thunder of the Gods, aka Zep, could not be "effectively covered." However, I think that Dread Zeppelin does the impossible--combining a concept band and doing really great covers of Plant/Page:
Counting tribute bands...?Really?
I think those guys stand on their own. Even if their bellies are full of peanut butter and 'nanner sandwiches.
I found yet another Zep cover, quite by accident, which is quite compelling.