Friday, June 29, 2018
About cover versions
The Guardian, shamelessly intending to wind us all up, has created a worst-to-best list of every Abba single — although, for a change, I reckon they’ve got it pretty much right. SOS is in the top spot, and the passing reference to Portishead’s magnificent reworking made me realise that the best cover versions aren’t those that, like Baudrillard with a beatbox, obliterate the original, but the ones that make you go back to to the initial offering, reinvestigating it, looking for things you might have missed the first time around; Nick Cave’s The Carnival is Over or Aretha Franklin’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, for instance. Any other examples?
And, on a vaguely related note, the news that Ed Sheeran is being sued over the supposed similarity between one of his tiresome ditties and Let’s Get It On (hint: there isn’t one) puts me in the difficult position of defending the inexplicably successful strummer against the genius that is Marvin Gaye (or at least his estate). And the fact that this comes on a day when the most sensible voice on Brexit comes from Danny bloody Dyer suggests the world really has gone mad.