Monday, October 20, 2008

80s Cover Weekend Redux (Re-post minus links + ominous tidings)

Landmark day here at Fong Songs... I received my first dreaded "cease & desist" letter from Blogger:

"Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message."

The e-mail almost reads like spam with a link to something called, until I checked my site and that saw that my latest post had indeed been purged. Mother of mercy, is this the end of Fong Songs? I sure hope not. The complaint was specifically in regards to this 80s Cover Weekend Redux post, though I'm not sure which is the offending song. Was Kevin Rowlands mad I poked fun at Dexys? I've re-posted without the mp3 links and now I'm going to lay low for a bit because this sort of thing freaks me out.


I've got one last 80s-themed cover post for you with a slight twist. As cover enthusiasts would probably know, a handful of big one-hit wonders of the 80s were in fact covers themselves: Soft Cell's Tainted Love, Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes, and Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now, to name a few off the top of my head. While I focused previously on newer covers of 80s songs, today's post features covers that are by artists primarily known for their 80s musical output, either released in the 80s or otherwise.

Soft Cell - You Only Live Twice [originally performed by Nancy Sinatra]
"You only live twice or so it seems, one life for yourself and one for your dreams..." That's seems sadly appropriate and prescient lyrics to be sung by any one-hit wonder act. Is there life after one-hit wonderdom? After being listened to and enjoyed by millions worldwide, what do you do after you become a pop culture footnote? Go back to your day job? While known as a one-hit wonder in the US, Soft Cell actually had ten Top 40 hits in their native UK after the fact. Soft Cell's Marc Almond and David Ball parted ways in 1984, but they continued working on solo projects and collaborations before reuniting as Soft Cell in 2001. They're still active to this day, believe it or not. As previously alluded to, a cover trip through the James Bond theme collection is heading your way in a few weeks, but You Only Live Twice is already well represented so I don't mind dropping this one early.

Dexys Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile) [originally by Van Morrison]
Known most popularly for Come On Eileen, Dexys Midnight Runners actually reached #5 on the UK charts with this Van Morrison cover. Lead singer Kevin Rowland switches it up by swapping the original's ding-a-ling-a-lings for too-dle-lang-a-langs. Don't look now but sometime in the last couple years they've dropped the Midnight Runners and have reinvented themselves as just Dexys according to their official myspace site, which also contains this amazing fact about the band's history: "The problem was though that in many ways, they were ahead of their time, they were visionaries." Uh huh. Their myspace page also streams Dexys' cover of The Four Seasons' Rag Doll, unexpectedly venturing into Hey Jude territory with a running time surpassing 8 minutes! I repeat: an 8+ minute cover of Rag Doll. I think the world still isn't quite ready for Kevin Rowland and Dexys.

Twisted Sister - Leader of the Pack [originally by The Shangri-Las]
I love this oddly faithful cover flipped to the perspective of the leader of the pack himself and it's the girlfriend who meets a tragic end on a rain-slicked road. Best part? The tell me more, tell me more Grease-like cronies that sing back-up vocals.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Born to Run [originally by Bruce Springsteen]
Presumably like most people, I've only heard of Frankie Goes to Hollywood from their 80s hit Relax, which makes this Springsteen cover all the more surprising.

Tiffany - I Saw Him Standing There [originally by The Beatles]
Tiffany was 16 when she hit it big with her cover of I Think We're Alone Now from her self-titled debut. New Kids on the Block were her opening act on tour! This Beatles cover with a distinct Prince flavour is from that same debut album. I have got to stop reading wikipedia before writing up each of these entries because I waste so much time scrolling through pages of "Where are they now?" factoids about bands/artists that I assumed ceased to exist 20 years ago. Seriously, Tiffany released an album of cover songs just last year! Check out that winning album cover too.

Def Leppard - No Matter What [originally by Badfinger]
Like most aging rockers who've fallen out of the spotlight, an album of cover songs is inevitable and Def Leppard is no exception. The blandly titled Yeah! came out in 2006 and featured covers of artists such as Sweet, ELO, T. Rex, and Bowie. Here's a decent, if straight forward rock cover of Badfinger. Recently, for reasons unclear, the NHL ill-advisedly booked Def Leppard to help kick off the new hockey season by having the band perform during the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Lead singer Joe Elliot proceeded to basically give hockey fans the middle finger when he hoisted the Stanley Cup, the holy grail of hockey, over his head then put it down upside-down on a table. Yikes. Funny more than anything, it simply underlined the glaring question as to WHY Def Leppard was hired to kick off the NHL season in the first place? I mean, even the launch party of Fallout 3 featured a 90 minute set from the Foo Fighters! Score one for the geeks!

Duran Duran - The Needle and the Damage Done [originally by Neil Young]
Duran Duran's inevitable cover album Thank You came out in 1995 with bizarre cover choices such as Public Enemy's 911 is a Joke and Grandmaster Flash's White Lines, which I probably shouldn't like but I do. This Neil Young cover was not on that album, but it appeared as a b-side to the single Perfect Day, a cover of Lou Reed.

Styx - I Can See for Miles [originally by The Who]
Styx's cover album Big Bang Theory came out in 2005, though without their original lead singer Dennis DeYoung who was replaced in 1999 by Canadian Lawrence Gowan (who had a successful solo career as under the stage name Gowan). I have to admit I quite like this cover and their take on The Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City from the same album.

Jill Johnson with Kim Carnes - Tumblin' Dice [originally by The Rolling Stones]
Swedish country singer Jill Johnson recorded this duet featuring the unmistakable raspy vocals of Kim Carnes for her 2007 album Music Row. Of course, Kim Carnes is best known for her cover of Bette Davis Eyes from 1981.

Huey Lewis - Oh! Darling [originally by The Beatles]
One of my favourite Beatles tracks. You just can't beat Paul's howls, so thankfully Huey doesn't even really try to replicate them.

Daryl Hall & KT Tunstall - Something to Talk About [originally by Bonnie Raitt]
Daryl Hall, the Hall of Hall & Oates, had bloggers buzzing earlier this year when he teamed up with Montréal electrofunk duo Chromeo for an episode of his web jam sessions Live from Daryl's House, available for free on his site. Last month featured Canadian rock group Finger Eleven and previous guests have included Nick Lowe, Gym Class Heroes' Travis McCoy, and Oates himself! This is a lively cover duet with KT Tunstall of Bonnie Raitt's 90s hit Something to Talk About, which was actually penned by Canadian singer-songwriter Shirley Eikhard.


Christian Sinclair, MD said...

What a shame, you unearthed songs that may have languished being unheard. I hope you get more clearance on this issue. Maybe talk to some of the other big music blogs like stereogum or my old kentucky blog to see if they have any advice.

Phil said...

Time to leave Blogger?

Anonymous said...


a Tart said...

Hey, at least they gave you notice, I've been following some blogs who've simply had their posts removed and no reason given.

Fongolia said...

Well, one of these C&Ds were eventually due after 3 years of this. From what I can tell, it's really a mechanism in place to protect Blogger from being sued.

Note to self: do not post Def Leppard ever again.

ekko said...

I've stopped posting any song on a label that is in the RIAA. I've gotten some pretty mean C&Ds in the past--for posting songs that were submitted to my site by the label's own PR people! It caused me to leave blogger for a while. I'm back now, but I'm purely indie and I've never had a problem. The indie labels are much more polite and they don't use assholes like websheriff, or robot troll machines.

If you wanna know if an album is indie, go to Great site.

Hope you don't let this stop you altogether.

Fongolia said...

Ekko, thanks a lot for that link. Don't worry, I wasn't planning to hang up the skates quite yet, just become more vigilant about what I post. That RIAA radar looks very handy!

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ekko said...

Although anonymous has a good point, I just wanted to say thanks for commenting on my blog, Fong. The strange thing is, I got no notice whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Fong! That effing sucks.
Was it definitely the Def Leopard then?

- your pal who also runs a similar music blog but prefers to stay anonymous to prevent the riaa from having anything to go on.

Fongolia said...

Nah, I still don't know which was the problem mp3, but all those artists are now on my no-blog list.