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Top 5 - Five Degrees Of Cover-ation

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:14 UK time, Thursday, 12 July 2007

Kevin BaconYou've all played that game 'Six Degrees Of Separation', right? Where you work out who has snogged who, and who they've gone on to snog, and then who THEY'VE snogged, and between you and everyone you know, you see how far you can go before you hit a dead end. And then there's the Hollywood version, where you pick any film star, and think about another film star who has worked with that film star, then another film star who worked with THAT film star...and try and work your way to Kevin Bacon...for reasons which are not entirely clear. That's just what people do.

No. 1: The Zutons
The ZutonsWell, this is the musical version. You start with a band - in this case the Zutes - and then you think about cover versions. Now, you can either go for songs by that band which have been covered by someone else, or covers that band have done of other people's songs.

Do bear with me on this, it'll make sense in a second.

So, from the Zutons and their Merseybeat oeuvre, where can we go? The Zutons covering 'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley, perhaps? Well, that would be fine, except Gnarls haven't done that many covers, except 'Gone Daddy Gone' by the Violent Femmes, which would lead to the Violent Femmes doing 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me' by Culture Club, and then...er...

...OK, so who's done a cover of a Zutons song?

No. 2: Amy Winehouse
Amy WinehouseTa-DAAAAH! Whenever you're looking for a cover, you only ever have to say one of two names. Jo Whiley (of whom, more later) or Mark Ronson.

And in this case, it's the mighty Mark who supplies our first link. He had Amy doing a cover of the Zutons hit 'Valerie' on his recent album 'Version'. Although, seeing as Mark's modus operandi is to take not-funky songs and add loads of funky brass to them, surely that album would have been more accurately titled something like 'Changing Tunes', or 'Trumped Up'.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes. Cover versions. So, if Amy did the Zutons, who has done Amy?

The answer may make some of you feel a little ill, so don't read on if you're easily spooked..

No. 3: Girls Aloud
Girls AloudNo, seriously, Girls Aloud have done a cover version of an Amy Winehouse song. In fact, Girls Aloud have done a cover version of THE Amy Winehouse song.

Some of you may have a problem processing this information, so here's the proof...

Now, as any regular ChartBlog reader knows, Girls Aloud are a VERY GOOD THING INDEED. Except when they do a) slow songs and b) cover versions. Frankly, the less said about their cover versions of slow songs, the better. And this is no exception.

Under normal circumstances, living the song, writing the song and singing the song don't all have to be done by the same person, despite what rocksnobs have to say. But this is Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab', and it's so rooted to what we all think we know about HER that it would take a mighty talent indeed to separate song from creator.

Girls Aloud have a lot of talent. But not THAT much...

No.4: Arctic Monkeys
Arctic MonkeysSpeaking of people with a lot of talent...these boys opened up an entire hornet's nest of confused opinion-making when they chose to cover Girls Aloud's still-brilliant 'Love Machine' on Jo Whiley's 'Live Lounge'. The indie kids all claimed it was 'ironic', the band said not. Meanwhile the pop fans tutted and moaned about indie fans only hearing how good a song is when it's done on guitars. No-one asked the metal fans what they thought, but you can bet it'd have been PRETTY SNEERY...

All of which is a shame, cos the Arctics have made no secret of the fact that they enjoy a bit of pop. And they seemed to get on very well with the Girls girls when they met at the NME awards not long ago. And their version of 'Love Machine' is a bit rough round the edges...and all the way through the middle, truth be told...but it's good fun and doesn't spoil the original one bit.

Which is the exact opposite of our last example.

No. 5: Tom Jones
Tom JonesIn 1899, Joseph Conrad, writing his book 'Heart Of Darkness' about the search for a traumatised government agent called Kurtz in the Congolese jungle, captured a perfect phrase which has been passed down through the generations for situations like this.

Just before he dies, with his last breath, Kurtz whispers "the horror! The horror!", a reaction a lot of people shared when they realised, while watching this leathery old windbag howl and gyrate at the Diana concert, that the new song he was having a go at was actually 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor' by the Arctic Monkeys.

*sniff* That poor song, never done no harm to no-one, innocent to the last...brutally mauled to death by an elderly wolf in a sheep's hairpiece, with the guitarist from Aerosmith looking a bit lost and confused in the melee.

Look at it, it's BRUTAL!

It's just not right, you can't avenge one death with another. This isn't Biblical times, Tom...

Now, as far as the covers game goes, this is obviously a bit of a cul-de-sac, as the amount of people who've actually covered songs by Tom Jones is much smaller than the amount of songs by other people that Tom Jones has covered.

So, if you want to continue this game, just substitute the Sugababes for Tom, cos they did an amazing cover of this song.

But where next? Well, that's over to you...how far can we go, ChartBloggers?


  1. At 06:36 PM on 12 Jul 2007, tasha wrote:

    ohh god. why oh why did they let tom jones do that? its painful

  2. At 06:49 PM on 12 Jul 2007, Jones wrote:

    oh dear lord, that's just WRONG!!! he just raped an awesome song....

  3. At 08:22 PM on 12 Jul 2007, Roz wrote:

    haha, the zutons' cover of Crazy is hilarious...but somehow very good. better than the original at any rate. however, I really think girls aloud covering amy winehouse was a bad idea..I mean, there's no comparison really, is there?! *i'm just commenting because I have nothing better to do*

    [And yet there's no finer thing you CAN do that comment in this way. You have done well, Roz. - Fraser]

  4. At 09:46 AM on 13 Jul 2007, S Hamilton wrote:

    Ooh, this is an old favourite which I recently used to demonstrate the fabulous pedigree and all round brilliance of the recent Billy Idol version of 'In the Summertime', originally by Mungo Jerry, to a black metal fan.

    Mungo Jerry recorded 'In The Summertime' which was covered by
    Elton John, who recorded 'Candle In The Wind' which was covered by
    Sandy Denny, who recorded 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes', which was covered by
    Nanci Griffith, who recorded 'From A Distance', which was covered by
    Cliff Richard, who recorded 'Devil Woman', which was covered by;

    Which makes CoF a bunch of girls.


    [OMG! You RULE! - Fraser]

  5. At 06:49 PM on 24 Jul 2007, Rosalind wrote:

    I'm using my full name now. roz sounds a bit...stupid.but anyway...this is a bit pointless, but whats with missing out Dave and Sean on the Zutons' thumbnail? hehe

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