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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.
U2 + Frankie Valli
65. rx - Sunday Bloody Sunday [originally by U2]
Whether it's George Bush's My Way, Tony Blair's Should I Stay or Should I Go, or more recently Obama's Taxman, New York-based DJ rx has made a name for himself (er, anonymously) with his politically-minded remixes and videos that skillfully, and pain-stakingly I imagine, splice the voices of world leaders so that they "sing" various songs in their own voices. There is none as smooth and biting as one of his earliest, an electro dance version of U2's antiwar anthem Sunday Bloody Sunday as sung by George W. Bush.
64. Jarvis Church - One (featuring K'Naan) [originally by U2]
From the 2003 War Child compilation Peace Songs, Jarvis Church (AKA Gerald Eaton of The Philosopher Kings) sings a soulful version of the U2 classic, bolstered by a gospel choir and a guest appearance from K'naan whose debut album (produced by Eaton) was still to be released. One of my faves... well, obviously since these are all my faves!
63. Pet Shop Boys - Where the Streets Have No Name (Can't Take My Eyes Off You) [originally by U2/Frankie Valli]
Part of the appeal of cover songs for me is discovering song origins and more specifically finding out songs I know and love are in fact cover songs. This is probably one of the more egregious examples of my childhood musical naiveté. I was well-familiar with this dual cover (you could almost call this an early mash-up) by the Pet Shop Boys from constant listening of their Discography album, but it wasn't until a couple years later that I first heard U2's original while at a movie theatre. It took a minute to realize that U2 was not in fact covering the Pet Shop Boys. Many more years later while watching The Deer Hunter I was caught off guard again when the original Can't Take My Eyes Off You figures into the memorable singalong bar scene. These days I obsessively research most songs, but I still love being surprised by the "uncovering" of a cover.
62. Manic Street Preachers - Can't Take My Eyes Off You [originally recorded by Frankie Valli]
There are countless covers of this song though probably the only ones I listen to with any regularity are this one by Manic Street Preachers and Lauryn Hill's from the soundtrack to Conspiracy Theory. Mind you, ever since I first heard it, absolutely nothing tops Frankie Valli's original.
Tomorrow The Dap-Kings leave their mark on the Fong Songs 101 countdown and we also make a pit stop in Motown.