I haven’t done a musical meme for a while, so here’s one for you:
Find a song with at least five cover versions (i.e., a version other than the most famous version) and give a quick review of each cover (can’t find five? Try three, then).
My selection: "Unchained Melody" from the Righteous Brothers
Cyndi Lauper (off of 2003’s At Last): A slow, torchy and surprisingly affecting version; Lauper’s been developing a reputation as a smart song interpreter, and this song certainly lends credence to that. This is the version you’d play when, in fact, you hope God will speed your love to you, because your love is not with you now. Rating: B+
Justin Guarini (off of 2003’s Justin Guarini): Someone dropped Justin into a karaoke booth! This thing might have gotten 2003’s teen girls all moisty, but here in 2005, it’s exhibit A in his trial for crimes against humanity. Rating: D
Heart (off of 2002’s The Essential Heart): You know, the Wilson sisters can do a fine cover of Led Zeppelin. Righteous Brothers? Not so much. It’s not like this is a subtle tune, mind you, but Heart’s inherent level of rawk-bombast is waaaaaay too much for this poor little love song. Dial the whole thing back 70% and it would be okay. As is, pass. Rating: C-
Stray Cats (off of 2005’s Live From Europe — Paris July 5, 2004): A toss-off version, sung in French, no less, with microphone feedback and everything. Brian Setzer’s rockabilly guitar bridge makes for a nice touch, though. Rating: C+
Al Green (off of 1973’s Livin’ For You): Oh, come on. Al Green could sing Britney Spears trailer park pop anthem "Toxic" and make it sound like a smooth soulful thing. That he’d do justice here isn’t even a question. Green drops in Hammond B3 organs, soul strings and backup singers and makes this version a top contender for 1973’s "Song Most Procreated To" title. Rating: A
What have you got?