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I'm counting down 101 of my all-time favourite covers before packing this blog away in the attic.
Read my countdown preamble here.
Earth, Wind, Fire, Waterloo
42. Sunshiners - Everybody Wants to Rule the World [originally by Tears for Fears]
The Sunshiners hail from Vanuatu, a small island nation in the South Pacific. I just discovered the band about a month ago and their reggae Tears for Fears cover from their self-titled debut album quickly found its way into the regular covers rotation. The rest of the album included fine covers of 80s hits from the likes of David Bowie, Human League, Supertramp, and Fine Young Cannibals. Their second album Welkam Bak Long Vanuatu continued with covers of Dexys Midnight Runners, INXS, Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, Queen, and more.
41. Jamie Cullum - The Wind Cries Mary [originally by The Jimi Hendrix Experience]
Jimi Hendrix's virtuoso and revolutionary guitar skills are rightfully trumpeted, but it's his great songwriting that perhaps gets the short shrift. The Wind Cries Mary is one of his best and Jamie Cullum gives us a lively jazz piano arrangement in tribute. I waited for years for the opportunity to see Jamie Cullum live and finally got the opportunity earlier this year to stand (within arm's reach!) of Jamie and his piano for an amazing show! It's immediately became one of my top 5 all-time concerts and he also played The Wind Cries Mary for his first encore.
40. Shirley Bassey - Light My Fire [originally by The Doors]
Here Dame Shirley Bassey does a wonderfully melodramatic cover of The Doors' Light My Fire. It's slow and groovy with flourishes of a John Barry-like orchestral arrangement. My favourite part: the climactic "Come on baby light my--" [everything grinds to a halt] "FIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEE". Amazing but ineligible for for this list: the Propellerheads remix of her signature Bond song Goldfinger.
39. Nation - Waterloo [originally by ABBA]
This is the second cut from that German ABBA tribute album I mentioned earlier in the list. I've always imagined this cover as the result of The Darkness being commissioned to cover ABBA.
The Weather Outside is Frightful
38. Peace Brothers - Frozen [originally by Madonna]
A complete transformation of Madonna's late 90's hit, this nearly unrecognizable cover reminds me a little of Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me. It'll have you singing "do do do do do do do dooo" all day long. This comes from Volume 4 of the Punk Chartbusters series.
37. Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone - Baby, It's Cold Outside [originally by Frank Loesser]
I've heard dozens of covers of this classic tune but Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone are by far my favourite pairing. From the soundtrack to Elf, this was the first inkling most of us had of Deschanel's musical inclinations. It took a few years, but we finally got Volume 1 (and now Volume 2!) of She & Him, her collaboration with M. Ward. Got my tix to see them live this fall-- can't wait!
36. Bobby Darin - Don't Rain On My Parade [originally performed by Barbra Streisand]
At first I didn't realize that this was Barbra Streisand's "signature tune", originally from her role in the film and musical versions of Funnny Girl, only because in my mind Bobby Darin's version just dominates above all else, leaving all other renditions in his wake.
Tomorrow on the Fong Songs 101 countdown, we tackle some standards and cover some stones.