Mudcat Café message #214355 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20510   Message #214355
Posted By: Peter T.
19-Apr-00 - 12:47 PM
Thread Name: Shouldn't have been covered (songs)
Subject: RE: BS: Shouldn't have been covered
What I can't figure out is how people got good songs out of Leonard Cohen's originals. You listen to the originals and they sound like nothing, and then you listen to Judy Collins, or Emmylou Harris, or Jennifer Warnes, or 20 other people, and you go -- wow, great song, and you find out it is something of Leonard Cohen's that seemed to have two, maybe three notes tops. And you go back to the Leonard Cohen originals, and now you hear why they are great songs, and they are great when he does them -- you just couldn't hear them before. It is completely weird.
He and Dylan have surely benefitted more than almost anyone from having gifted interpreters.
A few heresies:
Judy Collins' version of "In My Life" is better than the original.
Dave van Ronk's version of Joni Mitchell's "That Song About the Midway" is better than the original.
Holly Cole's version of Joni Mitchell's "River" is almost as good as the original. Nothing is that good. Holly also has a great album of Tom Waits songs.

The cover version of Martha and the Muffins' "Walking on Sunshine" that seems to have replaced the original, whoever did it, is a crime against humanity.
All of Paul McCartney's later covers of his Beatle songs are dreadful. What is with this guy? His Russian album covers of old rock and roll songs are mostly terrific, and better than John Lennon's similar escapade.
Anne Murray's best album ever is "Crooning", covers of 50s songs -- I have always hated "that bitch", but it is great. She has the style down cold. Joni Mitchell's new similar album of these covers is horrible, and Sinead O'Connor and Linda Ronstandt should also not do this kind of thing. They have no idea.

The worst cover ever? Easy. Rosalind Russell doing the film version of "Gypsy". Two words: Ethel Merman.

No strike that -- the film version of "Carousel". And then there was Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls -- No, wait --- WORST TRAVESTY OF ALL: NECROPHILIAC SINGING WITH YOUR DEAD FATHER. TONY BENNETT (WHAT WERE YOU THINKING TONY?) SINGING WITH DEAD BILLIE HOLLIDAY. STOP THEM BEFORE THEY KILL AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yours, Peter T.