Like many I’m sure, after hearing news of their official split, I spent much of last night listening to The White Stripes’ back catalogue. One of the many things I realised is just how perfect a cover their version of Jolene is. Which got me thinking about covers, and I realised all of my favourites have one thing in common – they take the original and somehow wring an extra squeeze of emotion from it, either from the arrangement, the vocal quality, or the story behind the song (I’m sure you can figure which is which).
In some cases they transform a song that was, really, rather crap. In others (Nine Inch Nails) the original is at least as perfect as the cover, but here they are.
Jolene – The White Stripes (Dolly Parton)
Hurt – Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)
The Man Who Sold the World - Nirvana (David Bowie)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy (Judy Garland)
AND Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Feeling Good – Muse (Nina Simone)
Guns of Brixton – Nouvelle Vague (The Clash)
Killing Me Softly – The Fugees (Roberta Flack)
Mad World – Gary Jules (Tears for Fears)
Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana (Leadbelly)
And one that is, ahem, “perfect” just as it is, thank you, Susan Boyle et al