Your Mother Should Know
October 8, 2012 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Rock guys cover showtunes: You probably know (if you're old enough) The Beatles' version of Til There Was You from The Music Man, Bobby Darin's somewhat-canonical Mack the Knife, originally from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, and The Marcel's cover of Rodgers and Hart's Blue Moon. But you might be less familiar with ...

More Kurt Weill:
The Alabama Song by The Doors, lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, from Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and September Song, interpreted here by James Brown lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, from the 1938 musical Knickerbocker Holiday.

More Rogers and Hart:
Elvis Costello, with My Funny Valentine (he also did a great version of Cole Porter's Let's Misbehave. The Mamas & the Papas did a very characteristic version of Glad to be Unhappy from On Your Toes. That other Elvis sang Rodgers and Hammerstein's You'll Never Walk Alone, which sounds suspiciously like his version of The Impossible Dream.

Also very characteristic of the singers are Zing Went the Strings of My Heart, done by The Coasters, originally from the Broadway revue Thumbs Up! but probably much better known from the 1938 Judy Garland film Listen, Darling, and and Little Richard's inexplicible rendition of Sondheim and Bernstein's I Feel Pretty from West Side Story. (To get that one out of your head, here's Brian Setzer's Prologue/Jet Song.)

And I can't leave out The Four Tops versions of On the Street Where You Live (Lerner and Lowe, My Fair Lady) and Facinating Rhythm (George and Ira Gershwin, Lady Be Good).

Mostly via Broadway to Main Street, from Peconic Public Broadcasting and Larry Maslon.
posted by still_wears_a_hat (78 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know that Stevie Wonder did a version of "Seasons of Love" from Rent, but that was on the movie soundtrack album...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:46 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


David Bowie would also like to know the way to the next whiskey bar.
posted by scody at 11:48 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It may be punk rock but Me First and The Gimme Gimme's do this and it's totally awesome.
Rainbow Connection
posted by TheJoven at 11:50 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lady Gaga (and Tony Bennett) did a great version of The Lady is a Tramp (Rogers and Hart from Babes in Arms, 1937)
posted by HuronBob at 11:52 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sparks, "Do Re Mi"
posted by pxe2000 at 11:56 AM on October 8, 2012


And, Mama Cass, with the Mamas and Papas, also did Roger and Hart's "Sing for your Supper" from the Boys from Syracuse.
posted by HuronBob at 11:58 AM on October 8, 2012


Dee Snider from Twisted Sister did an entire album of showtunes. Video for Mack The Knife.
posted by COD at 12:03 PM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


One of my favorites is Dave Edmunds doing a lovely "Where or When" by Rodgers and Hart.

David Bowie did a great job with "Wild is the Wind" by Tiomkin and Washington a la Nina Simone.
posted by Fnarf at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kudos COD, for beating me to it.
posted by djeo at 12:05 PM on October 8, 2012


Any thread that brings up more versions of Mack the Knife is a thread that makes me happy.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:05 PM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Young Gods did an album of Kurt Weil songs in 1989. I love their haunting September Song
posted by tardigrade at 12:09 PM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Always had a thing for September Song - The Young Gods, and of course: Mack the Knife - Gavin Friday.
posted by prolific at 12:11 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Smoking Popes did an album of covers of old songs that had a fair number of showtunes on it. The only one I could find on YouTube was You'll Never Walk Alone.
posted by Copronymus at 12:16 PM on October 8, 2012


Best version of Mack the Knife is Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin. She forgets the lyrics halfway through and it's still awesome: "One of Fitzgerald's most acclaimed live performances, at this concert in Berlin, Fitzgerald successfully improvised the lyrics for the song, "Mack the Knife" after forgetting them. In recognition for this, she received the Best Female Vocal Performance (Single) and the Best Vocal Performance, Female (Album) at the 3rd Grammy Awards."

Can't access youtube at work but it should be one of these videos.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:17 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Lake Street Dive, I Want You Back (featured over the weekend on Kevin Bacon's Twitter).
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:23 PM on October 8, 2012


One of my favorites, The Stranglers' Walk On By.
posted by Xoebe at 12:27 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gerry and the Pacemakers' version of You'll Never Walk Alone is so famous in the UK that many people are surprised to find it came from Carousel. Co-opted as a football song by Liverpool (which is why it appears at the end of Fearless by Pink Floyd) it's been thrown back at them in all sorts of ways particularly as You'll Never Work Again during the high unemployment of the 80s.
posted by Grangousier at 12:31 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


A million miles from Frank... U2: Night and Day.
posted by kmz at 12:31 PM on October 8, 2012


September Songs and Lost in the Stars are two Weill covers compilations that you might dig, if you dig that kind of thing.
posted by box at 12:32 PM on October 8, 2012


I'm also very fond of Neil Hannon's version of Noël Coward's I Went to a Marvellous Party in the style of Underworld.

I think it was from a sequel to Red Hot & Blue, which also definitely gave us Iggy & Debbie's version of Did You Evah amongst other delights.
posted by Grangousier at 12:42 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


David Bowie would also like to know the way to the next whiskey bar.

Why?
posted by goethean at 12:42 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because if he doesn't find the next whiskey bar, I tell you, he will die.
posted by Grangousier at 12:44 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ugh. I hate that Vegas-ized arrangement of Mac the Knife that Darin and all his imitators do. Listen to Marianne Faithful for more true to mood version.

I've heard a good version from Ute Lemper as well, but she must be getting sick of it, the recent YouTube versions of her singing feel kind of camped up.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:45 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Diana Ross and the Supremes did an entire album of Rodgers and Hart — it was pretty good too. You can find a version of "Thou Swell" by them on youtube, but I'm at work so can't confirm if it's the version on the album.

The Beatles also covered "I Remember You," by Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer. Though not strictly a show tune, it was from the soundtrack of the 1942 film The Fleet's In.
posted by ubiquity at 12:53 PM on October 8, 2012


It's been covered by many pop and jazz artists, but I will always have a fond place in my heart for Janis Joplin/Big Brother and the Holding Company cover of Summertime from Porgy & Bess. It is such a haunting, aching version. Of course, Billie Holiday's version may be the canonical version of this song.
posted by mosk at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can assure you, Grangrousier, that opposing fans still sing "You'll Never Work Again" every other Saturday at Anfield. It's actually quite a clever reworking of the song, which is why it causes so much strife. "Sign on, sign on, with your pen in your hand, because you'll never work again". Accompanied by the waving of handfuls of banknotes. Which is when the rows of police double-check their spacing very carefully and make sure everyone's on their toes. If it's Man United, it might be answered with a few bars of "Who's that lying on the runway, who's that dying in the snow?" (about the Munich air disaster of 1958), and then the United fans will start mocking the 96 who died at Hillsborough.

These people are all dickheads, but they're very EFFECTIVE dickheads.
posted by Fnarf at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


24 comments and not one mention of Taco doing "Puttin' on the Ritz"?
posted by EJXD2 at 1:04 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or Tom Waits doing Somewhere from West Side Story?
posted by MrVisible at 1:06 PM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Taco. Man. Almost had that out of my head. Must go watch a better version of Puttin' on the Ritz to fix that.

There's some pretty good covers on The Glory of Gershwin. There's also a couple of really big stinkers...
posted by pupdog at 1:08 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate that Vegas-ized arrangement of Mac the Knife that Darin and all his imitators do.

That's part of what I love about the song - the disconnect between the creepy lyrics and the chipper, uptempo tune and delivery. Not that I don't like the darker versions too - and they get very dark indeed - but the irony is what gets me.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:09 PM on October 8, 2012


Stan Ridgway does Cannon Song from Weill's Threepenny Opera.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:15 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This post led me on an insane wiki walk about the origins of Mack the Knife. There's a book in here, somewhere.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:20 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the worst of the lot: Barbara Steisand's Memory.

This was one of those 80s hits nobody talks about.

Much more fun:
Hermes House Band's soccer anthem version of "You'll Never Walk Alone."
posted by Yakuman at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2012


And Yes did Something's Coming and The Nice did America, both from West Side Story.
posted by Grangousier at 1:32 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Alex Harvey's Impossible Dream.
posted by rodii at 1:37 PM on October 8, 2012


Lee Ving's "Impossible Dream": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1FL-DSzo2s
posted by AJaffe at 1:47 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've actually never even heard The Beatles' version of "'Til There Was You." So thanks!
posted by moviehawk at 1:50 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's also Harry Nilsson covering "Marry Me a Little", a song initially cut from Sondheim's Company.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:59 PM on October 8, 2012


I'm partial to PJ Harvey's louche rendition of The Ballad of the Soldier's Wife from The Threepenny Opera.
posted by Leon at 2:04 PM on October 8, 2012


And the worst of the lot: Barbara Steisand's Memory.


Dammit, now I'm sitting @ work desperately trying to remember all of Forbidden Broadway's parody of her Back To Broadway album, including one set to "On a Clear Day." ("Back to Broadway to destroy more show tunes.") And I'm a Streisand fan/music theatre nerd, but it's hilarious.

I like the Beatle's cha-cha(?) version of 'Til There Was You." Even the Liverpudlian, "But I never sawrr them winging ..."
posted by NorthernLite at 2:11 PM on October 8, 2012


CheeseDigestsAll: “Ugh. I hate that Vegas-ized arrangement of Mac the Knife that Darin and all his imitators do. Listen to Marianne Faithful for more true to mood version.”

Is that really true? The original version by Lotte Lenya, for whom the tune was actually written, is whirling, loud, fun, and happy. I think that's how it's supposed to be. The contrast, as restless_nomad said above, seems to be kind of the point. Now, however, there's a fad for dark, menacing things, and so people love to pour on the dark and menacing. I don't know that that's what Weill intended the song to sound like, however.

I do generally dislike Bobby Darin, though.

For what it's worth, you won't find it filed under "Mack the Knife," but my favorite recording of this song is Sonny Rollins',

nooneyouknow: “Best version of Mack the Knife is Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin. She forgets the lyrics halfway through and it's still awesome...”

Ella's 1960 rendition is here. It is very good, and deserves every accolade she received for it. However, I'll hasten to assert that I believe she did the song better six years later when she fronted the Duke Ellington live on the Cote d'Azur. In general, At The Cote D'Azur is one of the best records ever made anywhere by anybody, and I still regard it as Ella's peak, in large part because of this exceedingly good performance.

from post: “Elvis Costello, with My Funny Valentine (he also did a great version of Cole Porter's Let's Misbehave.)”

Yep – ol' Declan loves the old show tunes, just like his old man did. My favorite show-tune cover of his, however, is a Gershwin thing that you didn't list: "But Not For Me," with a nice harmonica cameo by the great Larry Adler.
posted by koeselitz at 2:11 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Never really thought of Bobby Darin as (primarily) a Rock Guy per se. He kind of defies categories but he seems much more fluent and comfortable (to my ears) in the world of Broadway razzle-dazzle than the world of "Splish Splash." He idolized George Burns. He headlined Vegas casinos during the height of the Brat Pack era. He signed Wayne Newton and gave him "Danke Schoen," a song originally intended for him. His post-"Mack the Knife" songs were all pop or show tunes, until he got into his folky phase.
posted by blucevalo at 2:12 PM on October 8, 2012


Yeah, Bobby Darin probably sits squarely in the "pop" category, with the certain diversity that indicates in his time period.

I can't forget to mention The Residents, for although they are of course from the nether reaches of the rock tradition (if they reside there at all) the created this stunning mangling of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.
posted by koeselitz at 2:16 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Xoebe: “One of my favorites, The Stranglers' Walk On By.”

I've always liked that one. From another end of the universe, there's a gritty soul cover: Isaac Hayes did "Walk On By" too, and I like it better than anything else he did, I think. Including the backup singers. ("Walk-walk!")

But this doesn't strictly count as a rock cover of a show tune, does it? "Walk On By" was written as a pop song by Bacharach and Hal David, and originally sung by Dionne Warwick in 1963. Maybe it counts as a square pop tune redone as a good rock song.

Of course, if that counts, so does Love's version of Bacharach's "My Little Red Book."
posted by koeselitz at 2:28 PM on October 8, 2012


More West Side Story... another America by Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain. Plaintive, gorgeous.
posted by jaruwaan at 2:29 PM on October 8, 2012


I've been a fan of both the standards version of "Heart and Soul" and The Cleftone's cover from American Graffiti for years and just realized this year that they're the same song.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:36 PM on October 8, 2012


Kirsty MacColl & The Pogues "Miss Otis Regrets/Just One of Those Things"
posted by kirkaracha at 2:41 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it's almost impossible for rock singers not to mangle these songs. When done straight-faced, as with Rod Stewart and Bryan Ferry, they tend to be arch or shmaltzy, and in any case freakishly inappropriate; when done as ironic "takes" they just seem like childish burlesques. The only ones that can pull it off, I think, are artists, like McCartney or Elvis, that came out of a pre-rock tradition. The same is true of all the great R&B artists that did standards: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, etc.

Is there a single exception to this? Somebody young that really got it? I'm thinking about it. None of the songs mentioned above. Elvis Costello probably does the most earnest versions. But he doesn't have the voice or the training to do the songs right. His wife does, but she's a jazz singer, and the standards are her natural repertoire.
posted by Balok at 2:53 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, you don't have to 'get it' to get something worthwhile. I give you the rather remarkable sights and sounds of Gary Numan in top cyborg mode doing On Broadway live in 1979. Notable for the 'mid-life Ultravox at their best' synth solo that plays the song out (for reasons well known to those who concern themselves with such things).

This was the first example of a "Screen Gems" publishing credit in my record collection, and may indeed be the last.
posted by Devonian at 3:11 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This Ricky Nelson version of Summertime might be recognizable for its similarities to this and this.
posted by jonp72 at 3:18 PM on October 8, 2012


I kinda like this version of Mack the Knife by Sting.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:23 PM on October 8, 2012


I love lists like these!

My favorite inexplicable showtune cover is The Afghan Whigs doing Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Temple" from Jesus Christ Superstar. It works a lot better than it should.
posted by ausdemfenster at 3:32 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


A million years ago, I was in the Soviet Union on a college trip. One night, a crowd of us took off into Moscow without our Intourist guide and went to a bar for some drinks. One of our group got chatting with someone, and he either said we were American or his accent gave us away. It was a tiny tiny bar, and a little ripple went through the crowd. "Americans? Americans?" The ripple reached the band, who stopped what they were playing mid-song, and yelling something incomprehensible that might have been, "This is for the Americans!" launched into a heavily-accented rendition of Mack the Knife.

That's my Mack the Knife story.
posted by not that girl at 3:32 PM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


If Jacques Brel counts as showtunes, here's Scott Walker.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:36 PM on October 8, 2012


Balok: “I think it's almost impossible for rock singers not to mangle these songs. When done straight-faced, as with Rod Stewart and Bryan Ferry, they tend to be arch or shmaltzy, and in any case freakishly inappropriate; when done as ironic "takes" they just seem like childish burlesques. The only ones that can pull it off, I think, are artists, like McCartney or Elvis, that came out of a pre-rock tradition. The same is true of all the great R&B artists that did standards: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, etc. Is there a single exception to this? Somebody young that really got it? I'm thinking about it. None of the songs mentioned above. Elvis Costello probably does the most earnest versions. But he doesn't have the voice or the training to do the songs right. His wife does, but she's a jazz singer, and the standards are her natural repertoire.”

Well – I am a jazz guy, not a rock guy, but I disagree.

See, when we jazz bugs got ahold of show tunes, they already were not ours; it was a long way from West 28th to 52nd Street. The original jazz tunes were folk songs of the South and of New Orleans, with popular American songs gradually coming into jazz over time. That happened mostly because of Louis Armstrong's incredibly influential work in the late 1920s and especially the early 1930s. In that time, there were one or two recordings made by jazz musicians which happened to be show tunes as well, but that was almost invariably because those performers starred in or wrote those shows themselves, and those all-black shows were generally seen as unique.

Historians tend to acknowledge Sidney Bechet's landmark 1938 recording of Gershwin's "Summertime" – a very big hit which established the then-struggling Blue Note records as a force in the industry – as the first proper jazz recording of a Broadway "standard." I seem to remember an unreleased Benny Goodman small group recording of "The Man I Love" from a little earlier (in fact from just after George Gershwin died the year before) but in general jazz covers of Broadway tunes were not common until the early to mid 1940s.

In short – jazz musicians started covering Broadway tunes not because they had any deep association with Broadway (although Broadway indeed looked on them with fondness and some kinship) but chiefly because jazz musicians tended to cover popular songs, and because Broadway songs happened to be very popular at the time.

So when jazz musicians play show tunes, we aren't doing it because the songs belong to us, or because they were intended as jazz songs; they weren't. I think we as jazz musicians cover show tunes because they were and are American songs – in the truest sense: these are the songs that make up the American songbook, and they ought to be seen as our birthright and have a place of pride in any musical tradition that springs up here. This is the proverbial Great American Songbook.

I guess what I'm getting at is – the songs that the Gershwins, Vernon Duke, Yip Harburg, Dorothy Fields, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, and (yes) Kurt Weill wrote – they aren't great because of some intended arrangement, or some way they're supposed to sound. As a matter of taste I may prefer jazz arrangements of these songs, and they're certainly sweeter and make me happier, but honestly though they're both jazz renditions there is such a vast difference between this and this that I feel like they're further apart than a rock cover would be from either of them. These songs are meant to be reinterpreted over and over again in a billion different ways, and they earn their place in the canon by being so versatile.

So – rock bands should keep trying to cover Gershwin and Ellington. They should do it more often. This stuff belongs to everybody, and the more everybody hears it, the happier we'll all be, I believe.

(And, er, I have screwed up "I Got Rhythm" so many goddamned times that I really can't begrudge anybody for not nailing every note.)
posted by koeselitz at 4:23 PM on October 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Here is a 2007 entry from the WFMU blog featuring just some of the many, many covers of "September Song."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:25 PM on October 8, 2012


Sinead O'Connor did a whole album of show tunes (and maybe some songs that are not literally show tunes, but that are famous songs that I ignorantly associate with the genre). I'm not a big fan of show tunes, and it's my least favorite Sinead O'Connor album as a result of that, but maybe some of you would enjoy it. Some songs from it: Also, is Bobby Darin really a "rock guy covering show tunes"? I think he was more of a multigenrist (of more than just those two genres).
posted by Flunkie at 4:26 PM on October 8, 2012


Is there a single exception to this?

I think my nomination of Dave Edmunds's "Where or When" qualifies; he's got the voice for it, and while his version isn't strictly in a "show tune" style, it is very definitely in a pre-Beatles pop-oldie style, which is what almost all of the other sung versions are too.

I also think that Mama Cass has the voice for these songs, and the stylistic understanding, and there's no way even the most fanatical show-tune aficionado could call what she does "mangling". She and Dionne Warwick, to my mind, had the best sixties pop voices (speaking only of pure pop, not soul or rock), amongst the women (oh, and Dusty too), but only Cass could reasonably be called "rock" as well. (Dionne was more jazz-inflected; no one skips through those complicated Bacharach rhythms like she did, though Lou Johnson came close.)
posted by Fnarf at 4:34 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tis the American Thongbook!

Captain Sensible does R&H's Happy Talk.
posted by ovvl at 4:37 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So who's going to start the thread about going the other way -- the best pop-vocal or easy-listening versions of rock songs? I'll nominate Percy Faith's "Black Magic Woman" to start. Or how about the Hollyridge Strings doing "I Am The Walrus"? Hmm, maybe I'll go with The Lennon Sisters's spectacular rendition of "Green Tambourine".

Note: I am not being ironic, I genuinely love this kind of music and have hundreds of LPs of it.
posted by Fnarf at 4:45 PM on October 8, 2012


Does this one count?

Shout out to BrBa.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:54 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So who's going to start the thread about going the other way -- the best pop-vocal or easy-listening versions of rock songs?
Taking "best" in the sense of "has given me the most enjoyment" rather than more strictly "has given me the most positive enjoyment", that's gotta be Pat Boone covering Crazy Train.
posted by Flunkie at 4:58 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The one that immediately springs to mind for me is Jose Feliciano's cover of the Doors' Light My Fire.
posted by koeselitz at 5:24 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


(But somehow that's not really fair; the Doors always sound like easy listening already to me.)
posted by koeselitz at 5:24 PM on October 8, 2012


Elvis Costello probably does the most earnest versions. But he doesn't have the voice or the training to do the songs right. His wife does, but she's a jazz singer, and the standards are her natural repertoire.

The right version is in the listener's mind.

Costello's version of 'My Funny Valentine' was right enough to help start get me interested in Show Tunes many years ago.

(Show Tunes were originally designed for live stage, with a sometimes um tricky dynamic between personality, acting, dancing, and vocal intonation, and everyone hopes for the best.)

Today TCM played an old Cole Porter movie with Cary Grant. Elvis Costello was in the more recent Cole Porter movie with Kevin Kline. The songs are good in both of them.

(I used to not like Diana Krall, I had thought that she was too bland. But if you listen close enough, she has some interesting subtleties at work in her music).
posted by ovvl at 5:29 PM on October 8, 2012


ubiquity, several Motown acts did albums of show tunes, including Marvin Gaye, whose album Hello Broadway included then-popular songs like "People" and "Hello Dolly!" as well as "The Party's Over" (Comden, Green & Styne), "On the Street Where You Live" (Loewe & Lerner) and a bunch of others.

IIRC, the idea was to set up those acts to be able to play Vegas showrooms and similar venues. And in the case of Gaye, they thought he had a shot a being the "black Sinatra," which has proved be as elusive in its own way as "the next Dylan"....
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:51 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is Mancini doing "Springtime For Hitler"; as it was a movie, first, about a musical, & much later a musical about a musical, does it still count?
posted by tilde at 6:12 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Claps of delight for this post and thread.

Slow clap of respect for the OP's username. Classic.
posted by prefpara at 6:22 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scratch Acid, Damned for All Time (JCS)
posted by mwhybark at 6:31 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's part of what I love about the song - the disconnect between the creepy lyrics and the chipper, uptempo tune and delivery. Not that I don't like the darker versions too - and they get very dark indeed - but the irony is what gets me.

That can work for me to, but being chipper versus you think your making it "swing" is what doesn't work for me. Maxwell's Silver Hammer is chipper. Darin is trying to swing.

E Sting version might work if he had better phrasing, every line sounds the same.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:53 PM on October 8, 2012


A couple tracks from Red Hot + Blue have already been mentioned. It's full of good covers, but in particular Tom Waits, Annie Lennox, and K.D. Lang deserve a mention here.
posted by calamari kid at 7:35 PM on October 8, 2012


Do I smell a MeFi Music Challenge?

(seriously, though, this one might force me to find some recording equipment if we did it.)
posted by Navelgazer at 7:44 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wish I could find something of the Reivers doing "Lazy Afternoon." Or Lyle Lovett doing his version of "Mack the Knife." I did find Captain Sensible doing "Happy Talk" from South Pacific.
posted by Man-Thing at 8:52 PM on October 8, 2012


Nina Simone. Pirate Jenny.
Send chills up my spine every time I hear it.
posted by drhydro at 10:31 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nina Simone. Pirate Jenny.

And Judy Collins. The Black Freighter. *shiver*
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:24 AM on October 9, 2012


Devo also has a song called Somewhere with DEVO that includes the song "Somewhere" from The West Side Story. (YT Link, starts at 5:25)
posted by luckynerd at 9:57 AM on October 9, 2012


C'mon, no love for Jay and the Americans "Some Enchanted Evening"?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


luckynerd: “Devo also has a song called Somewhere with DEVO that includes the song "Somewhere" from The West Side Story. (YT Link , starts at 5:25)”

Yeah, I mentioned that above, but the sad live versions really don't do it justice at all. It must be experienced in its full, in-studio glory – thing is 20 minutes long. Seriously, it is awesome. And for some reason it's nowhere on the internet. It's on Recombo DNA, though.
posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on October 9, 2012


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