20 covers of classic songs that improve on the originals



The circle is complete, here we have bassist and new music conceptualist Bill Laswell, co-producer Michael Beinhorn (later head of the Soundgarden boards) and friends, under the collective name Material, covering a sung tune. originally by Robert Wyatt, back when he was playing drums and singing with the then psychedelic and jazz trio Soft Machine. Their choice for the singer was Whitney Houston. She girdles the ballad with premonitory confidence, pulling it out of the park; the sax work, by jazz-fire pioneer Archie Shepp, will likely sound rough to some ears, but provide an unusual type of ballad ballad.


21. “Laugh at Me” (Composed by Sonny Bono; first performed by Sonny Bono; covered by Mott the Hoople.)

Why make you look for this? (See the entry for “Needles and Pins.”) Sonny Bono wrote this oddly pitying tune after being kicked out of a Hollywood restaurant for breaking his dress code or something. “I never thought I would make a record on my own, but I have something to say,” says her questionable opening. It’s a pretty weak tear from Dylan, but strangely enough, British rockers Mott the Hoople actually gave the song some dignity if not majesty by accompanying it to Full Dylan, with organ licks à la Al Kooper. .

22. “Tumbling Dice” (Composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; first performed by the Rolling Stones; performed by Linda Ronstadt.)

“It’s my favorite Rolling Stones song,” my wife told me the other morning. “If you put Linda Ronstadt’s version on your ‘best cover’ list, there will be problems. “

“But, honey,” I replied, “according to Robert Christgau, the live version she does of the song on the soundtrack of FM “Is so passionate and revealing that it goes out of context and tramples the Rolling Stones everywhere!” “

Be the judge! Either way, Keith Richards cannot have completely disapproved of, as he then recruited guitarist Waddy Wachtel for his own solo group, the X-Pensive Winos.

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