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Miley Cyrus gets mixed reviews with Led Zeppelin remake, but here are 5 covers better than the originals (video)Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus' cover of Led Zeppelin's version of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" has received a mixed reaction. (Charles Sykes, Associated Press file photo) Print Cliff Pinckard, Northeast Ohio Media Group By Cliff Pinckard, Northeast Ohio Media Group The Plain Dealer
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on September 18, 2014 at 10:30 AM, updated September 18, 2014 at 10:32 AM View/Post Comments
Miley Cyrus is not the kind of artist that gets a whole lotta love from the typical Led Zeppelin fan.
That didn't stop Cyrus from trying her luck with covering one of Zeppelin's iconic songs, "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." (Led Zeppelin actually was covering the song as well with its 1969 release ... it was written by Anne Bredon and first became popular sung by Joan Baez.)
The response? Not all bad. Rolling Stone describes it as "powerful." Entertainment Weekly's Emily Blake says several longtime Led Zeppelin fans responded poorly, but added, "No matter how much these music traditionalists hate to admit it, she kind of killed it. After all, when you strip out all glitz and giant tongues surrounding the pop phenomenon that is Miley, she is, at her core, a girl with one hell of a voice and an abundance of emotion to put into it."
Jim Farber of the New York Daily News says, "Casual foes may see the new cover as just the latest step in Miley's mission to screw with our heads. Purists will see it as yet another sign of the downfall of all that is sacred. In truth, it's something far more benign: It's a serviceable lark from a woman pining to make a more legitimate musical mark."
It's always risky for an artist to try a remake, especially when it involves a revered song. But it can be pulled off, and sometimes the remakes are even better. Here are five covers that exceed the originals. (Note: This is just one writer's opinion and it's not a list of the "greatest" covers. There certainly are many covers out there that I'm unaware of, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.)
"Young Man Blues," The Who (original by Mose Allison)
Little-known by highly regarded jazz artist Mose Allison recorded this song in 1957. Allison's piano version is only 1:27, but Allison's music was a significant influence on Who guitarist Pete Townshend (along with several other well-known rock artists). By the late 1960s the Who made their version a staple of their live shows, and it's a sonic onslaught. Check out the version above from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival (at 4:45, Townshend offers what might be the greatest windmill of his career). The original can be heard below.
"All Along the Watchtower", Jimi Hendrix (original by Bob Dylan)
Even Dylan admits that Hendrix's version is far superior to his 1967 original. Hendrix's version was released in 1968 and made the top 20. "It overwhelmed me, really," Dylan said of Hendrix's version. "He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day." The original is below.
"I Fought the Law," The Clash (original by Bobby Fuller Four)
Who knew the Bobby Fuller Four was a punk band? They weren't, but the Clash took the Four's 1966 hit and made it a punk anthem with their 1979 version. Hear the original below (which is still pretty good more than 40 years later).
"Respect," Aretha Franklin (original by Otis Redding)
If an artist is immediately identified with a remake, then that cover is the better version. So it goes with Franklin and her 1967 recording of "Respect," a song originally released by Redding in 1965. Redding is a legend, but Franklin turned this song into an anthem. The original is below.
"Hurt," Johnny Cash (original by Nine Inch Nails)
"Hurt" was first released in 1994 by Nine Inch Nails and was nominated for a Grammy. In 2002, Cash released his version and it also would become a hit. Cash tweaked the lyrics, and the video that accompanied it turned it into a moving, introspective look at his life and career. Trent Reznor, who wrote the song, had this reaction: "I pop the video in, and wow ... years welling, silence, goose-bumps ... wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore. ... It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure." The original is below.
There are a lot more excellent covers out there ... Elvis and "Blue Suede Shoes", the Rolling Stones and "Just My Imagination", the Sex Pistols and "Stepping Stone", the Talking Heads and "Take Me to the River". There are some real dogs out there, too: Limp Bizkit and "Behind Blue Eyes" and Madonna's version of "American Pie".
This is a very limited list. So what's been overlooked?View/Post Comments