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30 Day Song Challenge – Day 15 – A Song You Like That Is A Cover

Astute readers will (and did) notice that in my haste to make sure I got yesterday’s post up on time, i accidentally skipped a day1. So here is the entry that was skipped, and tomorrow we’ll be back on track.

This is another hard one to pick a single song. I’m a huge fan of covers2, especially covers that do something really interesting and different with a song that transform in a way that feels entirely organic and natural. I mean, I also love covers that are just gimmicks,3, but someone taking a song and really turning it into something personal is always a treat.

So I’m using this entry to share a favourite track from one of my favourite musicians, Richard Thompson. At a 2000 tribute to Joni Mitchell, he performed this rendition of her classic song, “Woodstock”, and it delights me every time I hear it.


  1. Amusingly, the song I picked for the out of order challenge would have also been a valid entry here 

  2. and if you are too, you should subscribe to Brian Ibbott’s magnificent podcast, “Coverville” 

  3. such as those produced by Hayseed Dixie, Me First And the Gimme Gimmes, or Richard Cheese 

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61 Comments

  1. Bruce Adelsohn

    As soon as you mentioned covers, I knew I’d hear one of two artists, and Richard Thompson, who absolutely elevates other people’s work, was one. Here’s the other, with a couple of tunes played about as straight as they play anything, which in this case works perfectly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8_rf_MzMJ0

  2. Eric Coleman

    Watch Joni … her reactions are amazing.

    • Rob Wynne

      Yeah. And I really love that slight, satisfied smirk that RT has at the end, where he knows that he pulled it off. (I read somewhere that he wasn’t even supposed to be the one doing that song, but someone else didn’t show up and he stepped in at the last minute.)

    • Eric Coleman

      He learned it a couple hours before.

  3. Jim Poltrone

    I’m not a fan of artists who try to cover songs verbatim. Why bother? If I wanted the original, I’d choose the original. I say “put your own spin on it.” And few bands matched the sheer uniqueness (and social commentary) of Devo.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jadvt7CbH1o

  4. Paul Kwinn

    Ok this one is easy for me. I didn’t even remember Tears for Fears’ original (had to look it up when I found out this was a cover) but the cover grabbed me so hard. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3N1MlvVc4

  5. T J Burnside Clapp

    This one might be my all-time favorite. I still get chills when I hear it! SO much better than Patti Smith/Bruce Springsteen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydKbP0L9qcE

  6. T J Burnside Clapp

    Oh, and this one!! The folk cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic (damn, I love “A Mighty Wind”!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzkILGr2-Ok

  7. Joey Griffin

    I think this cover blew Joni’s mind. And for good reason. Long Live RT!

  8. Heather Munn

    This one…I was never really a fan of the originally. Not my favorite style, musician, content. But when I heard this cover, I fell in love with the song. That’s what a good cover should do 🙂

    https://youtu.be/9_daJjRrv0A

  9. Paul Kwinn

    OK, gotta sneak in one more. Original by Nine Inch Nails: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SmVAWKfJ4Go

  10. Jennifer Diamond

    I remember a friend telling me about the night they DJ’d in a club here in Seattle right after Johnny Cash died. They played this, and the entire club went apeshit, cheering and mourning their favorite goth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt1Pwfnh5pc

  11. Elizabeth Barber

    “a recording or performance of a previously recorded song made especially to take advantage of the original’s success.” Definition of “cover. Is “remake” the same? I ask because of Disturbed’s The Sound of Silence. This is not just “someone” singing anther artists’ song. It is as relevant today as it was decades ago. And would any of my current students listen to Simon and Garfunlkel? T J Burnside Clapp made me think. (Gosh dang it). I AM enjoying listening to all the music with this challenge!!

    • Rob Wynne

      I think being still relevant is hte mark of a great song. A cover is just someone else other than the original doing it. *Good* covers do interesting things with the material. Some covers are bad, or just pedestrian.

      (I somewhat disagree with the “made especially to take advantage of the original’s success” clause in that definition, which seems both speculative and slightly dismissive.. but, eh.)

  12. Laura Gallagher

    My daughter Alanna adored this song, had to be this particular version of it, she liked to sing along with it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9NF2edxy-M

  13. Laura Gallagher

    I’m gonna give you a couple other covers from these guys -- I dislike the lyrics of this song but I love the music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV5KAbV34NU&feature=youtu.be

  14. Kathy Mar

    The Big Daddy version of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

  15. Blind Lemming Chiffon

    This. This cover has me in tears every single time I hear it. So good. https://vimeo.com/205727717

  16. Lori Coulson

    Paul McCartney’s cover of “Till There Was You” originally from The Music Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUjFpdxFWHU

  17. T J Burnside Clapp

    Oh wait, how could I forget this one … it even spawned a lawsuit with Fox that was depicted on an episode of “The Good Wife”! 😀

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCWaN_Tc5wo

    • Rob Wynne

      This was actually the first Coulton song I ever heard. Someone (possibly Elliott Mason) played a recording of it for me in the con suite at OVFF many years ago, and I thought “I don’t know who this cat is, but I want to know more.”)

    • T J Burnside Clapp

      I already owned the album it was on when “Glee” stole his arrangement -- but I bought the single again just so he’d get the royalties, since he got no satisfaction from Fox.

    • Rob Wynne

      I had already quit Glee by the time that happened, and it certainly made me angry enough that I was never tempted to check back in on it.

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