Friday, April 28, 2006

Tribute to Neil Gaiman

Way back in the day (as in way back in "internet time") when the best site for movie scoops was Corona's Coming Attractions before it was taken over and mutated into part of Cinescape's film section, I first heard about a film in development called Neverwhere based on the novel by Neil Gaiman (which was in turn adapted from his own BBC miniseries) whom I had never heard of hitherto this point.

Life-changing day, that was.

Based on the one-line synopsis of the plot which I fell in love with, I tracked down the book and thrilled myself to bits. I sapped up whatever Gaiman books were available at our library. Soon I was among the eager fan community awaiting his new novel American Gods in 2001. At this point, I had no idea of the scope of this so-called fan community... he was my secretly unknown favourite author. In conjunction with the writing and publishing of this book, he started up an online journal to track its progress. Now this certainly wasn't one of the first "blogs" or even an early one, but it was around a long time before everyone and their neighbour's cat ran a blog (moi-self included). Now it's one of the most popular blogs (there must be stats somewhere to prove this...) and he still regularly updates nearly every other day with interesting, readable postings even though he was under no obligation to continue past the 2001 publication of American Gods.

I remember when the library had maybe three books categorized as "Graphic Novels" including an adaptation of the Vampire Lestat. It was around this time that I had first heard this term and adopted it as my own to defend my reading of comics. "NO! It's a graphic novel," I'd tell my mom, although it was indeed she that handed me the Lestat book and asked me if I was interested. Another one of the early ones available at the ol' EPL was Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters, which sorta went over my head at the time and I didn't get who or what Sandman was supposed to be. Of course, when you hear about Neil Gaiman it's usually Sandman-This and Sandman-That, but the whole Sandman thing eluded me until several years after the fact, the library's graphic novel collection exploded and I finally got my hands on the seminal, epic 10 volume, 9-year run of the series. Masterful storytelling, exquisite art, complex interweaving of myths and history, etc, etc, etc. It was everything great literature could be and it was a comic, so there. It could hardly exist in another medium with the same impact and resonance.

It still baffles me to this day that I try to expose friends/families to Neil Gaiman and no one pays attention. "Neil who?" say the slobbering masses. Yet don't they realize that Neil Gaiman is SLOWLY TAKING OVER THE WORLD??

His career drastically reduced to some trivial points:
-left an indelible mark on the comics world with the Sandman series (1988-1996)
-became a best-selling author of novels (Neverwhere, American Gods, Anansi Boys), then children's books (Coraline, Wolves in the Walls)
-has written lyrics for Tori Amos (a friend who has been known to name-drop Neil in her own lyrics)
-wrote the English language adaptation of Princess Mononoke, which was certainly the first Miyazaki film I saw before I even realized I was watching a Miyazaki film
-decides he's going to make some movies, so he writes and directs A Short Film About John Bolton... just to warm-up
-then he collaborates with Dave McKean to create last year's MirrorMask
-co-wrote with Pulp Fiction's Roger Avary the uber-hyped Robert Zemeckis-directed Beowulf (which, for the record is most definitely not filmed with stop-motion techniques) set for release in 2007 with the most eclectic cast one could ever hope to assemble: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover(!), John Malkovich(!!), Robin Wright-Penn
-currently Matthew Vaughan (producer of the Snatch/Lock Stock; director of Layer Cake; near-director of X-Men 3) is in Inverness filming an adaptation of Neil's novel Stardust with another dandy cast of Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Alfred Molina, Sienna Miller, Charlie Cox... OK, I've never heard of Charlie Cox either.
-Henry bleedin' Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, anyone?) is directing an adaptation of Coraline, which will be stop motion animation, if I'm not mistaken. Sadly to do Coraline, Selick abandoned his work on the film version of Roald Dahl's The Fantastic Mr. Fox... but Wes Anderson came in to replace him! Henry Selick's Coraline!! Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox!! Has the world gone mad and suddenly fulfilled my fantastical dreams of non-stop stop-motion animation!?!? BWAHAHA, Brilliant!
-Wolves in the Wall was recently adapted for the stage and is being performed by the National Theatre of Scotland
-I think Neil's still in the development stages of his own feature directorial debut for a film adaptation of Death (Sandman's cute gothic sister)
-internet sensation, according to me.

Movies, music, literature, the stage, the internet... is there anything he can't and/or won't dominate? Plus, he has a wonderfully delightful young daughter Maddy who is the real star of Neil Gaiman's journal if you ask any regular reader, and he knows it too.

OK, the real reason behind this whole rambling tirade of tribute is because I was just reading on his journal about "Where's Neil When You Need Him?" an album of music inspired by his work. See? He's unconsciously determined to conquer every form of media. Now it doesn't surprise me that Tori Amos is involved nor am I remotely shocked that past collaborator Stephen Merritt of The Magnetic Fields is a contributor. But according to Neil's latest post, Rasputina is singing a song about Coraline. Rasputina + Coraline?!? Victory is mine! Plus, "Hungry Lucy doing a haunting take on Wolves in the Walls". I know one Hungry Lucy cover and I love it. I can only wish for a tune by the Ditty Bops, another fantastic group that I dig listening to, which can be directly attributed to Neil.
It's kinda scary to see how he has influenced my tastes... damn you! I'm independent and think for myself! You can't brainwash me. Fine... you can, but I won't like it. Ok, ok, I'll like it.

Tori Amos - Angie [originally by the Rolling Stones]
Rasputina - Wish You Were Here [originally by Pink Floyd]
The Magnetic Fields - Heroes [originally by David Bowie]
The Ditty Bops - Ooh La La
Hungry Lucy - Jealousy [originally by the Pet Shop Boys]

Neil who? Now you know.

...and just because I can't not share this unrelated great cover:
Motormark - Left To My Own Devices [originally by the Pet Shop Boys]


That's it, I'm off to Europe until July!

I leave you with a newly discovered (very exciting) cover of a song I'm obsessed with (see here).
Blind Spot - 12 [aka the Pinball Number Song from Sesame Street]

By the way, if there are any errors in this post I won't be around to fix 'em. So there.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Franz, Death Cab, (Harvey Danger), Oilers

Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie came through town last night and I went to check it out... it was pretty good. Alas, I wish I could say I'm a huge fan of either of these bands and that I know more than just whatever's played on the radio, but I'm not really all that familiar with any more than 5 or 6 Franz/Death Cab tunes, so that kinda put a damper on the entertainment. But still, not bad.

My favourite part was when Ben went solo acoustic and played I Will Follow You Into the Dark. I was somewhat surprised that most of the crowd was singing along since I wasn't sure how much of a following Death Cab had here in E-Town, but they proved me wrong. During that song he sings, “You and me have seen everything to see from Bangkok to Calgary”, which inspired boos for our hated rivals to the south. Later Ben would shout “Hockey update! Oilers 1, Red Wings 0." to a loud ovation because game 3 of our playoff series was going on elsewhere in the city, then he added "And here’s a song about something completely different." I must say that they were rocking harder than I would have expected from the few songs I know by them. I was also kinda hoping they'd play Such Great Heights from Ben Gibbard's other band The Postal Service, but 'twas not to be.

Franz Ferdinand was rockin' hard. Though again, outside of their hits Take Me Out, Do You Want To, and This Fire, I was sorta out of the loop. The best part was in the second song of the encore when the Death Cab for Cutie guys came out with drum sticks for a big drum-a-long percussion spectacular, which was damn cool. Two Franz guys + a Cutie were on one drumset and the other 3 Cuties were banging along some side drums. Then after This Fire, the concert ends and everybody filters into the lobby to find a 3-3 Oilers tie with 3:00 minutes left in the 3rd. Everyone freezes and 1000 people are riveted to one teeny weeny 17-inch TV hanging from the ceiling. Oiler chants begin as time winds down and we get a late powerplay, but the period ends and everbody rushes off to find a real TV to watch overtime. Long story short, Oilers won in double OT. YEEEHA! Now I'm scared the Oilers will go deep in the playoffs as I jet off to Europe... oh the dilemma!

For lack of Death Cab apparel, I went to the concert armed with my Harvey Danger shirt. If you go way back to one of my October posts, you'll know that I'm a huge HD fan and that their fates are curiously intertwined with Death Cab for Cutie. Both hail from Seattle and have done gigs/collaborations with each other. Their careers follow opposite paths: Harvey Danger had one huge song (Flagpole Sitta) then unfairly faded into oblivion, while Death Cab for Cutie were relatively unknown for years before having a meteoric rise in fame in the past year. I couldn't help but think as I watched Death Cab perform how much I wish Harvey Danger would actually tour up here (or me down there). Their second album King James Version is just so damn good! They reunited late 2004 after a 4 year hiatus (now if I could only get Moxy Fruvous to reunite, I'd be complete) and last year released their 3rd album Little By Little, which can still be downloaded in its entirety for FREE from their website. Go! Download! Listen! What you waiting for?

Harvey Danger - (This is) The Thrilling Conversation You've Been Waiting For
Ben Gibbard does back-up vocals on this HD song from King James Version.

Lounge-O-Leers - Flagpole Sitta [originally by Harvey Danger]
There aren't too many covers (if any, besides this one) of Harvey Danger... it's kinda goofy.

Franz Ferdinand - What You Waiting For? [originally by Gwen Stefani]
Oddly enough, this combo works.

The Shins - We Will Become Silhouettes [originally by The Postal Service]
Another reason to love the Shins: this cover.

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Death Cab for Cutie
This is the 60's novelty song from whence Ben Gibbard & the boys derive their name. Curiously, this song was also performed in the Beatles' film Magical Mystery Tour as a striptease, or so I'm told.

Death Cab for Cutie - Earth Angel [originally by The Penguins]
From the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fatboy Slim

This time next week, I'll be in Paris. Blimey.

I found this great CD at the library called A Break From the Norm, which is an album of the original songs from which Norman Cook AKA Fatboy Slim sampled some of his most famous tracks. Fatboy Slim, like one of my other favourite artists, Fantastic Plastic Machine, recontextualizes old samples to create new compositions that just use the originals as a jumping off point to unknown yet familiar territories-- sort of a Retro New thing. At the end of June, I'll be going to one of Fatboy Slim's patented beach party/concert festival things on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland. Should be a memorable experience, to say the least.

The original vocals that are sampled in Praise You are from Camille Yarbrough's Take Yo' Praise, which is an absolutely great song.

Fatboy Slim even samples cover songs, which are excellent in their own right:
Yvonne Elliman - I Can't Explain [originally by The Who; sampled in Going Out of My Head]
Ellen McIlwaine - Higher Ground [originally by Stevie Wonder; sampled in Song for Lindy]
Some interesting trivia here... Ellen crossed paths with Jimi Hendrix in 1966, playing with him for a while in New York City (supposedly trying to start a band with him). She also has some albums released on our very own Edmonton-based Stony Plain Records and she makes her home just south of us down in Calgary. On a related note, our Edmonton Oilers just beat the Detroit Red Wings this afternoon to tie the Stanley Cup playoff series 1-1. Hell ya! And I think I just heard the sound of bawling Flames fans on the Red Mile as Calgary lost to a team named after "mighty" water fowl (from California, no less). As cool as a potential Oilers/Flames playoff match-up would be, it's oh-so-satisfying to see the Flames burn out. A good day for hockey. Go Oilers!

A Break From the Norm also features the sample sources of The Rockefeller Skank, Soul Surfing, and other Fatboy Slim songs I haven't even heard of. But the great thing about the album is that the original songs are a good listen beyond the "Oh that's where it comes from" moments.

Sly & The Family Stone - Into My Own Thing
This is not from the album, but it was sampled by Fatboy Slim in Weapon of Choice.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Disney covered

Today, one of my favourite cover song subdivisions: Disney cover songs. Hopefully SaveFile isn't so screwy this time, 'cause I can't find a better alternative.

Disney Records puts out a series of cover albums called Disneymania, which as you'd expect contain a lot of fluffy pop versions by what I assume to be Disney Channel regulars. Yet I have to admit that a couple of the tunes have their charm, particularly Daniel Bedingfield's crooning of A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes-- kudos for revving up into a Bobby Darin-esque big band number. Bowling For Soup's cover of Bare Necessities also makes me smile because they even include the part in the original when Mowgli says "Yeah man!" in the last chorus.

Daniel Bedingfield - A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes [originally from Cinderella]
Bowling for Soup - The Bare Necessities [originally from the Jungle Book]

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - I Wanna Be Like You [originally from The Jungle Book]
Having Louis Prima as King Louis was pure genius at the time and led to one of the most memorable Disney songs.

Michelle Shocked - Everybody Wants to Be a Cat [originally from The Aristocats]
It's cool that there are a couple covers of this song out there, but nothing can come close to matching the alley cat jazz swing feel of the original. Plus, in the cover versions everyone leaves out the best part: when the cats kick it up a notch and all start jamming, shouting, "Everybody...Everybody... EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE A CAT, HALLELUJAH!"... etc. Man, I want to be a cat. This is from Michelle Shocked's whole album of Disney covers called Got No Strings.

4106 , Yuki, TDC, and Masa (Spoony) - Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo [from Cinderella]
An unexpectedly great cover that takes the original into uncharted territories. Sounds like Puffy AmiYumi on crack. From a Japan-exclusive Disney cover album featuring punk/rock bands (Japanese and otherwise). To my knowledge, there are two albums in the series: Dive Into Disney and Mosh Pit on Disney. Here's a review/article on the latter.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Interstate '76

Nearly 10 years ago, Activision released a computer game called Interstate '76 that featured muscle car mayhem, afroed sidekicks, and a protagonist named Groove Champion. I remember it being fun (but barely running on our computer) and it was followed by a dismal sequel Interstate '82.

The key ingredient that made the original game so good was the wicked funk soundtrack that accompanied the vehicular combat. Heavy on the wah-wah pedal, lots of fuzz, and sexy sax. You can totally imagine this groovy music overlaying a 70's police car chase or possibly porn.

This was one of the first games (that I remember) with professionally recorded soundtrack where the game CD could actually double as an audio CD. As you raced around blowing up other cars, this awesome music played on endless rotation off the CD , which made it easy to ignore the choppy, repetitive gameplay and mediocre graphics (hey, they were cool at the time).

The soundtrack was performed by the one-off band Bullmark headed by Arion Salazar (bassist of Third Eye Blind) and made up of Brian "Brain" Mantia (drummer for Primus), Santana's keyboardist, and other session musicians. Some of these songs are among my most played iTunes tracks, which goes to show how these have long outlasted the novelty of the game.

Here for your listening pleasure is the soundtrack from Interstate '76, which I snagged off Arion Salazar's now-defunct official website (my own game CD long gone).

Interstate '76 soundtrack by Bullmark [via MegaUpload; you usually have to click to close an ad that appears over the download link... SaveFile was acting up]

NOTE: these are the 16 tracks that came off the actual game CD. In fact, I only know these songs by track number. Activision actually released an official soundtrack with even more tracks (with real names), which you can read a review of here. I would kill for this soundtrack, though it may be lost for eternity. [EDIT: Found it!]

My fav tracks: #4, #7, and #16 (which was the wicked opening title music).

Also: #10, #5, #9, #2, #3
. . . . basically, check them all out.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Oingo Boingo

[EDIT: links fixed, I hope!]

Back in his pre-composer days, Danny Elfman headed a band called Oingo Boingo. He'd later be known for his movie and TV themes including the The Simpsons, Batman, and most if not all of Tim Burton's films. The Nightmare Before Christmas is particularly brilliant with Danny Elfman penning all the songs and providing the singing voice of Jack Skellington. Corpse Bride had its moments, but I'd say not as memorable as Nightmare. I don't really know too much about Oingo Boingo, but they dabble in sort of the same science fiction/experimental/satire/new-waviness category as Devo. And like Devo's covers of Satisfaction or Secret Agent Man, Oingo Boingo's covers are similar only in name to the originals. Just listen:

Oingo Boingo - California Girls [originally by The Beach Boys]
Oingo Boingo - You Really Got Me [originally by The Kinks]

There's this cult film called Forbidden Zone directed by Danny's brother Richard Elfman, which features the music stylings of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (they shortened their name later). I had borrowed the soundtrack from the library and enjoyed it so much that I bought the newly released special edition DVD of it. I guess it's one thing to listen to these wacky songs and another to watch the no-budget 90 minutes of "plot" tying them all together. Surrealist to say the least (with Knick-Knack as the midget king of the 6th dimension)... I don't really know what to say about it. I wish I could say I truly enjoyed it, but it was a bit pointless for my taste. That said, the soundtrack is fun, particularly the rendition of Minnie the Moocher with Danny Elfman as Satan.

The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo - Squeezit the Moocher (Minnie the Moocher) [originally by Cab Calloway]

Friday, April 14, 2006

Israeli Mission: Impossible

I was just re-listening to this Best of Mission: Impossible CD that was discarded by the public library and really diggin' this live track:

Mission: Impossible Live From Israel
Lalo Schifrin conducting the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra

Nice! Starts off with "The Plot" music (and gets really groovy during this part) then moves into the oh-so-familiar M:I theme.

The 3rd movie comes out a few days after I leave for Europe and I'm kinda sad about having to miss it. Well, not really. Poor crazy Tom Cruise is looking to be the worst part of the movie. The whole ad campaign is based around this Philip Seymour Hoffman "Then..I'm going to kill you.. right.. in front of her" quote and the blown sideways into a car money shot. Remember the trailer for the first Mission: Impossible? Tom Cruise flying through the air from an exploding helicopter onto the back of a TGV train, face grunting at the camera... ridiculously impossible, but still cool. Now, he flies 5 feet sideways into a car and it's supposed to be impressive. The whole ad campaign seems to neglect what is the best cast assembled so far:
Ving Rhames (always cool)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (newly Oscar minted)
Simon Pegg (the "Shaun" of Shaun of the Dead)
Laurence Fishburne (hell ya)
Johnathan Rhys Meyers (best Woody Allen film in ages)
Maggie Q (cool name and very cute as she blows up a fancy car)
Billy Crudup (Almost Famous, one of the best movies ever)

Weakest Link: Tom Cruise (crazy)
Questionable Link: J. J Abrams (first big screen film; seems to be reusing action scenes from the previous 2 films but on a TV scale)

Remember when Carrie-Anne Moss, Scarlett Johanssen, Kenneth Branagh, and Ricky Gervais were all cast at some point...? With David Fincher directing. But delays and more delays led to them all dropping out to accomodate Crazy Tom's schedule (my interpretation). They need to revamp this series to be more like the original show: a group of IMF agents that actually worked together AS A TEAM. Bring back Martin Landau!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

More Dudes

Just a heads up on another cover of All the Young Dudes, performed live by Jill Sobule & Billy Bragg in 2004.

Check it out at Jill Sobule's website, which always has a good rotation of mp3 downloads (sometimes covers).

Dream a Little Dream

Not quite sure who Terry Hill is... nor am I familiar with Marijne, singer of a band called Salad(?). But together they managed to put together one of the best versions of the oft-covered Dream a Little Dream. It's taken from the 1995 War Child charity album called "Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia," a project I think spearheaded by Krist Novoselic (the semi-anonymous third member of Nirvana).

Terry Hill & Marijne - Dream a Little Dream

According to a brief wikipedia entry, this song was originally written in 1931 by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt. The most well-known cover was by Mama Cass of The Mamas & The Papas, though there are numerous other covers that I can't even be bothered to mention. Just listen to Terry & Marijne.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Woke Up This Morning

So I'm kicking this popsicle stand and taking off to Europe in just over 2 weeks. Until I leave, I'm going to be posting faster and furiouser than EVER BEFORE in what amounts to a farewell tour since I'll be gone for 2+ months. That means posts will be short and plentiful (I hope) as I try to showcase some last minute tunes, covers and otherwise. NOTE: from here on end, I'll be throwing these up on SaveFile.

First off, I wanted to draw your attention to a bizarre CD I borrowed from the trusty Edmonton Public Library:

This is a recording, handmade by Jimi himself, bootlegged, then semi-officially released under various titles. The sordid history of the recording is recounted in the liner notes with not much authority. There's some more info on it here.

The semi-historic significance of the recording is that a drunken Jim Morrison mumbles and yells obscenities throughout, particularly on the notoriously dubbed Morrison's Lament. Johnny Winters is apparently on rhythm guitar and Buddy Miles may or may not be on drums (depending whose liner notes you believe).

The quality of the recording is rather horrid and not really worth listening to, even though Jimi does a cover of Tomorrow Never Knows and Sunshine of Your Love (a better version of this can be found on his BBC Sessions CD).

Give a listen to: Morrison's Lament

Well, that was fun and bizarre. The idea of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison together is certainly tantalizing, but the results are not exactly inspiring (depressing, perhaps). Both died within 3 years of this gig.

To combat the bad taste of that recording, here's a couple covers I dig:

Shirley Bassey - Light My Fire [originally by The Doors]
I think I may have posted this cover before, but it's so wonderfully overblown I can't resist. The best is around the 3:00 mark when she belts, "Come on baby light my--" [everything grinds to a halt] "FIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEE" (which lasts about 15 seconds). I was almost tempted to go see her at Wembley Stadium in June, but then my wallet and head came to their collective senses.

Santana - Spanish Castle Magic [originally by The Jimi Hendrix Experience]

Monday, April 10, 2006

T. Rex

"I got your body right now on my mind but I drunk myself blind to the
sound of old T. Rex"
- You Better You Bet

"Practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene" - The Wake-Up Bomb

"The television man is crazy saying we're juvenile delinquent wrecks
Man, I need a TV when I've got T. Rex"
- All the Young Dudes

The common thread to the three tunes from the last cover riddle is the references they make to T. Rex, the early 70s glam rock band fronted by Marc Bolan. Some versions of All the Young Dudes also use the lyrical variation: "Who needs TV when I got T. Rex?"... I'm not sure which is more definitive. Google searches pull references to both.

Before I go any further, does any remember this show?

Whenever I think of T. Rex (the band), the chorus to this half-forgotten theme song to an obscure cartoon springs to mind. It was called The Adventures of T-Rex, a ninja turtles clone from the early 90s about 5 colour-coded dino brothers who are stand-up comedians by day and by night the crimefighting supergroup T-REX. When I was about 9 years old, this was on TV every day when I got home from elementary school. I remember almost nothing about the show except that it had this damn catchy theme song. I went on one of these google frenzies to track down an mp3 of the song, which at first required finding out the proper name of the show (googling "T-rex" is not very helpful). This was trickier than expected because at this point the show is almost 15 years old and it hasn't really inspired a cult following. Just as I was lamenting the disappearance of the T-Rex theme song and cursing the relative ease with which you can find the theme to Denver The Last Dinosaur, I stumbled upon some yahoo group devoted to T-Rex. I momentarily signed up on the off-chance that it had an mp3 and it did! Pure gold, baby. Now if I can snag the theme to an old Dino-ghetti commercial, my life will be complete.

For your listening pleasure: The Adventures of T-Rex
I can listen to this ALL NIGHT LONG. Don't laugh.

Speaking of Denver The Last Dinosaur, a couple weeks ago a friend was commenting on the creepy undertones of the line "he's my friend and a whole lot more". Uh oh, what's that supposed to mean? The sexual connotations of that line become full blown if you watch the intro to the show where Denver is raped and/or molested by 4 children... or the line "Shows me a world I never saw before" at which point Denver reaches into his rucksack and pulls out an illicit sex object and thrusts it in the children's faces.
I'm only half kidding. I'll leave it to you to find other unintended sexual imagery on your own.
view Intro to Denver The Last Dinosaur

Another key childhood memory is the album Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers, a cassette that was on heavy rotation in our family's tapedeck on many roadtrips. Sort of a precursor to mash-ups or probably more accurately a descendant of Stars on 45. I have to credit Jive Bunny for introducing me at a young age to both Sweet and T.Rex, though it wasn't until years later that I acted upon the impulse to rediscover the original songs in a nostalgia-induced fever. The song below includes excerpts from Sweet's Teenage Rampage and two T.Rex tracks: Bang a Gong and Hot Love.
Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers - Do You Wanna Rock

OK, onto T. Rex covers:

Children of the Revolution
To Marc Bolan & T. Rex's credit, none of the guys below can touch the original song.
Elton John with Pete Doherty (from Live 8)
Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer (from soundtrack to Moulin Rouge)
Violent Femmes

Jakob Dylan - Bang a Gong (Get it On)
This is a lo-fi rip of the song featured "exclusively" on JCPenney. It's not a bad cover, but why was this recorded exclusively for JCPenney? That makes about as much sense as-- oh, say, his dad hawking Victoria's Secret lingerie...

T. Rex - Summertime Blues [originally by Eddie Cochran]
Interesting cover history trivia: singer Gloria Jones who sang Tainted Love, whose covers are arguably more well known than the original, sang backing vocals for T. Rex between 1973-77 and was Marc Bolan's girlfriend. She is also the mother of their son Rolan Bolan.

T. Rex - Dock of the Bay [originally by Otis Redding]
More interesting cover history trivia: Aretha Franklin's Respect is a cover of a Otis Redding song. I found that out just now. Isn't that weird when you uncover a cover?

The Shins - Baby Boomerang
Certainly one of my favourite covers over the past year, which I snagged with my free eMusic trial. Best deal ever, just for this song. Hearing this actually inspired me to look "beyond Bang a Gong" to discover T. Rex awesomeness.