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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.
The White Stripes Set
Right from post #1, The White Stripes (and Jack White's musical endeavours in general) have been featured on Fong Songs more than any other single act. Regular readers must be sick of it. They were more or less my favourite band already, but seeing them live on back-to-back nights of their Get Behind Me Satan tour here in Vancouver cemented the deal. My White Stripes fever hit its peak in 2007 when they announced they would be touring every province and territory in Canada. I got to stand an arm's length away from Jack on the other side of his keyboard at a secret show in Edmonton. Then two of my friends and I flew to the Maritimes for the ultimate rock vacation, following Jack & Meg to Moncton, Charlottetown, Halifax, and finally Glace Bay for their epic 10th Anniversary show. It's only fitting a small portion of this list is dedicated to them.
49. Nostalgia 77 - Seven Nation Army (feat. Alice Russell) [originally by The White Stripes]
By far this is the most covered White Stripes song, though most coverers make you wonder they bothered. However, one of the earliest covers remains a clear winner with a heavy bass groove, some horns, and electric vocals from Alice Russell who've I've been fortunate to catch twice live and yes, this was one of the last songs played at each show.
48. Chris Thile - Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground [originally by The White Stripes]
Former Nickel Creek member and mandolin extraordinaire Chris Thile took Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground and completely made it his own with a killer bluegrass arrangement. It's hard to imagine, but I almost associate this more with Thile than the White Stripes at this point. Almost. I know Thile still plays this frequently at live shows with his current outfit Punch Brothers.
47. The White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself [originally by Burt Bacharach and Hal David]
The White Stripes canon is full of great covers from Jack's anguished update of Dolly Parton's Jolene to the blazing mariachi rock of Conquest as made famous by Patti Page (I've yet to actually track down the original Corky Robbins version). I also love when they dabble in their folk blues roots with Your Southern Can is Mine or Lord, Send Me an Angel. Then there are those handful of Bob Dylan covers they do. Or I could gone a little off the map with their unlikely live performance of Mr. Cellophane from Chicago with Jack seemingly channeling a carnival barker. With so many great covers to choose from, I just didn't know what to do with myself... and the answer revealed itself. A modern classic.
46. David Bowie - White Light/White Heat [originally by The Velvet Underground]
My most played Bowie track is the Lou Reed influenced Queen Bitch and I also love Bowie's covers of The Velvet Underground, so how is it that I've managed to avoid listening to most Lou Reed and/or Velvet Underground music outside of a handful of their most popular songs? It's a terrible oversight that needs to be rectified someday.
45. The Futureheads - Let's Dance [originally by David Bowie]
I was never particularly taken with the original until I got seriously hooked on this cover. It's not all that dramatically different, but to me it revealed something I had initially found lacking in the original and now I actually do love the original. Go figure.
44. David Bowie - I'm Waiting For the Man (Live) [originally by The Velvet Underground]
I've been blown away by this version ever since first hearing it on the Almost Famous soundtrack.
43. The Celibate Rifles - I'm Waiting for the Man [originally by The Velvet Underground]
This frenetic cover was released by Aussie punk band The Celibate Rifles in 1984. I can't find any evidence that supports this, but the drumming and guitar playing in this song are, in my mind, a direct precursor to Supergrass. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to drumming, but I love this style which seems to cram in as many extra drumbeats as possible, whenever possible.
Tomorrow on the Fong Songs 101 countdown I'll be talking about the weather forecast and the four elements.