Song of the Day: Covers – Tainted Love by Shades Apart, All Along the WatchTower by U2

There’s a lot to be said about cover songs and the love-hate relationship people have with them. When they’re hated, they’re often used as filler music, offering nothing new or changing it in a way that fans hate. When they’re loved, a band has made that song their own, added something awesome to it that people love, and in many cases, shows a connection with both the band performing it and the original band who played it for them.

The reason many bands do them is often two-fold: First, as most bands form, songs by other musicians are what they have to start with – each musician bringing their favorite songs together and hoping everything gels into a solid song. Second, it’s tribute to the bands that inspired to grab that guitar, drum kit, DJ table or microphone.

I love cover songs, because it tells a lot about the bands playing them and bands that inspired them. Sometimes it opens me to an original I hadn’t heard before; other times it gives a new personality on a song I already love. Because of this, this list is a two-a-day listing of 10 of my favorites. Some of them are favorites of the fans; some have caused controversy and hatred. All of them demonstrate the qualities above.

(And before you ask: This has nothing to do with America, Patriotism or the 4th of July – it’s not that I’m unpatriotic, it’s that I have something else in mind for that day.)

Tainted Love, covered by Shades Apart, version of Soft Cell, originally by Gloria Jones (composed by Ed Cobb)

Why I like this version: While this wasn’t the first version I had heard – like many people, the first version of this I remember hearing was the popular Soft Cell version of the new wave era – This is the version I feel captures the feelings conveyed in the song the best. The Aggressive punk styling of this song differentiates from either the Gloria Jones version or the Soft Cell version that everyone copies from now – if it wasn’t for the guitar matching the synthetic heartbeat of the Soft Cell version, they might not even be mentioned. Most people can keep either Soft Cell’s or Marilyn Manson’s (The “other” popular cover of this song), I’ll stick with the punk one instead.

All Along the Watchtower, covered by U2, version of Jimi Hendrix’s, originally by Bob Dylan

Why I like this version: One of the hardest thing to do, when you’re covering a favorite song of a dead musician, is to capture the energy and emotion of them, and for someone like Jimi Hendrix, one screw-up can ruin the whole song. This song is almost note-for-note like Hendrix’s version, yet has the feel of U2’s “Joshua Tree”-era works. Hendrix may own the cover, but U2’s is just as good to me.

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