I feel stupid and contagious
May 24, 2006 10:34 PM   Subscribe

Here we are now, entertain us. An all-ukulele cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. From their Web site, "Sugar Plum Fairy" [mp3]. But can UOGB hold a candle to "While My Ukulele Gently Weeps," discussed previously?
posted by BackwardsCity (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That last link should have been to this thread. Please obliviate.
posted by BackwardsCity at 10:37 PM on May 24, 2006

Um, that one ukelele looks like it did a lot of steroids back when they were being tacitly approved by the league. I mean, its freaking huge!

And it was cool until he started singing and then it kind of bothered me.
posted by fenriq at 10:40 PM on May 24, 2006

An all-ukulele cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" can only be an improvement on the original.

Wonder if anyone has done an accordion version?
posted by davidmsc at 11:16 PM on May 24, 2006

I thought the singing only added to its charms - I'm trying to figure out who he reminds me of. Martin Rossiter from Gene? Hmm, not quite. I'll figure it out in a while.

Cool post, too. In a similar spirit (if a reversal of the concept), here's a ska version of the Gummi Bears theme tune [mp3].
posted by greycap at 11:17 PM on May 24, 2006

that gummi bears ska tune is awesome. thanks, greycap.
posted by ab3 at 11:28 PM on May 24, 2006

Also see Ukulele Disco, the Enter Sandman video is not to be missed.
posted by rycee at 11:35 PM on May 24, 2006

Aw hell, you posted the wrong clip. I'm sure you meant to share the Mavis Staples portion with us and cut off before this, right?

Seriously. One of the worst vocal performances ever. He did follow Mavis, though. Poor guy.
posted by sourwookie at 11:42 PM on May 24, 2006

Short answer: "While My Ukelele Weeps" wins hands down. Missed that the first time around, but ... holy shit.
posted by donpedro at 11:47 PM on May 24, 2006

Was Tiny Tim - American ukulele player - big in The States? He was pretty big in Oz. We loved him. (Er, if the many TV and assorted variety show appearances were anything to go by.)

Tip Toe Through the Tulips was petty much part of the Oz vernacular, for all us over-30s.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:49 PM on May 24, 2006

I liked it.
posted by puke & cry at 12:14 AM on May 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

"Tip Toe Through the Tulips was petty much part of the Oz vernacular, for all us over-30s."

I'd go up a few years on that. Tiny Tim was just prior to my indepedent musical and pop culture awareness and I'm 41. I'd say it's the 45-51 crowd that Tiny Tim would most resonate with. But certainly Tip Toe Through the Tulips is about as familiar to me as my right hand.

I thought this was a surprisingly good rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit, even with the vocals. But I think that's more a testament to the excellence of the song than anything else. This has made me want to put on Nevermind right now.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:46 AM on May 25, 2006

On the left side, is that a dude or is that Tilda Swinton?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:58 AM on May 25, 2006

whiskey tango foxtrot. is this some sort of british variety show? the entire clip is just slightly surreal.
posted by kaytwo at 12:59 AM on May 25, 2006

It's from Later with Jools Holland. The New Years Eve special.
posted by salmacis at 1:13 AM on May 25, 2006

There version of Miss Dynamite is jaw droppingly good.
posted by davehat at 2:18 AM on May 25, 2006

Cue Mark F from BB in 5....4....
posted by cavalier at 3:43 AM on May 25, 2006

Fun! Thanks. Other uke fans like me might also like classic Roy Smeck. Pure uk-ah-le-le goodness.

Brook Adams also has a nice collection of diverse uke covers. I think I saw the Purple Haze version on here years ago.
posted by dog food sugar at 5:14 AM on May 25, 2006

They also do a cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart, in which the voice of the singer almost gives Michael Gira a run for his money.
I certainly prefer the Ms Dynamite version by them. Which is to say I hadn't actually listened to it all the way through until I heard their version which made me like the original. Hi Dave!

is this some sort of british variety show?

I believe there is a clue in the backdrop which says 'Jool's Hollands Annual Hootenanny 2005', part of the Later... stable which is a long standing quality music program. Jools' own band Squeeze have been going for ever (weren't they one the Young Ones?) but never really hit the big time, but he has had much success fronting and occasionally playing with other artists on Later...
Later will show live performances by whichever international act is touring the UK and any indie-made-it-big artist on the go at the time.
The Hootenanny has been on every New Years' Eve for many years and opening it was a taste of TV VIP treatment for the ukulele playing darlings of last years' Edinburgh Festival.
posted by asok at 5:19 AM on May 25, 2006

Jool's Hollands/Jools Holland's

More performances at the usual place.
posted by asok at 5:27 AM on May 25, 2006

I agree with fenriq. (davidmsc, on the other hand can go suck an egg).

Funny to hear a Brit doing an exaggerated American accent on a song. Turnabout is fair play, I guess. American singers have been doing faux Johnny Rotten (East London?) accents for years.
posted by psmealey at 5:39 AM on May 25, 2006

dog food sugar writes "Fun! Thanks. Other uke fans like me might also like classic Roy Smeck. Pure uk-ah-le-le goodness. "

Awesome with the Smeck. How in the hell is he playing that harmonica in the second number?
posted by Songdog at 5:44 AM on May 25, 2006

The ukelele has replaced the 808 for hipsters. And we all cry alone.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:21 AM on May 25, 2006

The same group has produced a Sex Pistols cover: "Anarchy In The Ukulele."
posted by sindark at 7:29 AM on May 25, 2006

Well I enjoyed it very much, thanks. Fave parts: the headbanging longhaired dude on the left, and the miming on 'taste' and 'nevermind'.

That cover of Ms Dynamite too, I already liked the original anyway. (Funny cos I'd just heard it on the radio like five minutes ago and I hadn't heard it in years).
posted by funambulist at 7:52 AM on May 25, 2006

Oddly enough a ukulele cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps has been the top video on videosift for months. I used to have not a lot of respect for the little instrument that could, Jake Shimabukuro is a seriously awesome ukulele player.
posted by sourbrew at 8:08 AM on May 25, 2006

so yeah... poor reading comprehension for the win on my part.
posted by sourbrew at 8:13 AM on May 25, 2006

Dokaka's human-beat-box version of "Teen Spirit" is great too. (His site, dokaka.com, seems to be down.)
posted by Eater at 9:06 AM on May 25, 2006

i just found richard cheese. With album names like lounge against the machine and apretif for destruction you can imagine a smarmy sinatra cheesing out tunes from mettalica to pink floyd. the tracks are going on the playlist at my next party... fun stuff . two of the albums are available on emusic. you can download them for free if you sign up for a trial emusic account. they require a credit card though.
posted by m o q s h a at 9:21 AM on May 25, 2006

I missed putting this on the original While My Ukulele Gently Weeps thread, so bear with me, but:

"Over there, Eric Clapton, Ukulele! Hi, Eric!"

(Wow, acccording to that page Clapton actually was playing the uke for that song! Learn something new every time you use the internets.)
posted by soyjoy at 9:50 AM on May 25, 2006

The Bad Plus do a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as well. I think their best cover was "Iron Man", but I digress.
posted by rollbiz at 9:53 AM on May 25, 2006

I've seen the Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain a couple of times, once at Glastonbury I think. They're great - excellent arrangements, good Uke skills and a sense of humour. A bit like Richard Cheese (who I love) but less vocal and 'adult'.

They do loads of festivals and have a weekly residency at a club in London somewhere so i'd recommend checking them out. It's a nice change from taking a girl to a movie isn't it? :D
posted by seanyseansean at 10:42 AM on May 25, 2006

The ukelele has replaced the 808 for hipsters. And we all cry alone.

I've been playing the uke since before it was popular.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:20 PM on May 25, 2006

There seem to be certain stock songs for lazy cover bands -"Love Will Tear Us Apart", "Smells Like Teen Spirit" being the more contemporary.

The UOGB did a fantastic cover of "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" at The Big Chill last year which redeemed their otherwise lacklustre choice of covers.

The best "Smells Like..." cover I've heard has to be the Paul Anka version from his album Rock Swings.
posted by Chunky at 5:42 AM on May 26, 2006

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