Song: Smooth Criminal
Cover Artist: 2Cellos
Album (Year): 2Cellos (Sulic & Hauser) (2011)
Original Artist: Michael Jackson
Forget Alien Ant Farm. This is the greatest cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ ever! The cello hasn’t been this awesome since Rasputina and Apocalyptica.
2Cellos – Smooth Criminal
Song: In The Air Tonight
Cover Artist: Nonpoint
Album (Year): Recoil (2004 )
Original Artist: Phil Collins
I’ve always been a fan of Genesis’ and Phil Collins’ darker songs. Domino from Genesis’ Invisible Touch album has always been one of my favorites, as is this Phil Collins masterpiece from his 1981 debut solo album, Face Value. There’s just something about a generally poppy artist doing songs about rivers of blood and drowning victims that I find fascinating.
Nonpoint takes Phil’s atmospheric detachment, gives it a bit heavier crunch, and ultimately just nails a picture perfect cover version, complete with the awesome drum fills that have always brought out the air drummer in everyone who’s ever heard this song.
Nonpoint – In The Air Tonight
Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight
Song: Whip My Hair
Cover Artist: Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young) & Bruce Springsteen
Release (Year): live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2010)
Original Artist: Willow Smith
I won’t normally do songs that aren’t released on albums, but my brother turned me on to this and it was just too good to pass up. Jimmy Fallon does a dead on impression of Neil Young, and a mid-song addition of Bruce Springsteen turns this cover into pure gold. To quote my brother, “Fallon actually makes the most annoying song on the planet tolerable.”
Recorded 11/16/2010 live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young) & Bruce Springsteen – Whip My Hair
Willow Smith – Whip My Hair
Song: She’s In Parties
Cover Artist: Kerli
Album (Year): Kerli ep (2007)
Original Artist: Bauhaus
I’d never heard of this artist before listening to this track, but it immediately made me go look up more of her material. There’s just something intriguing about her pop-goth style that made me want to hear more.
‘She’s in Parties’ was originally recorded by seminal gothic rock group Bauhaus for their 1983 album Burning From the Inside. This was their final single, as the band broke up before the album was even released. Estonian artist Kerli recorded the song as the final track on her now out-of-print debut ep.
Kerli – She’s in Parties
Bauhaus – She’s in Parties
Song: 500 Miles
Cover Artist: Down By Law
Album (Year): punkrockacademyfightsong (1994)
Original Artist: The Proclaimers
This cover is always a hit at parties I’ve DJed, and is usually one of the first songs requested if any repeat party-goers are in attendance. Usually by the chorus everyone is singing (shouting?) along. It’s just an amazingly fun cover.
Released originally by The Proclaimers in 1988 it became a hit in the UK, but never caught on in the US until it appeared on the soundtrack to Benny & Joon in 1993. Down By Law drops this right in the middle of their 1994 album punkrockacademyfightsong amidst a bunch of other equally fun and raucous punk rock songs.
Down By Law – 500 Miles
The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)