Here are some of my favorite cover bands. Altering an existing work enough to make it your own while still respecting the original is a fine line to walk.
Since these are all covers, I’ve added a separate link to each original, after each video, marked by a ***.
These are “my” bands. The bands that helped shape who I am, roughly in order of how much they mean to me.
Dave Mattingly: The Musical, Part 9
- Nouvelle Vague
- Known For: Ever Fallen in Love ***
- Memories: I was flummoxed and fascinated the first time I heard Nouvelle Vague on the radio. Since then, their mamba covers of new wave standards have become a fixture on my playlists. I later learned that the singers had never heard the originals before, which guarantees that their cover versions are unique. Sometimes I can’t understand how they can perform these tunes with a straight face.
- Favorite Songs: Blue Monday ***, Blister in the Sun ***, Dancing with Myself ***, I Just Can’t Get Enough ***
- Big Daddy (Big Daddy 59)
- Known For: Money for Nothing ***
- Memories: Big Daddy doesn’t just cover songs, they transplant the lyrics from one song into the music for another. This totally amazes me. Mashing up “Money for Nothing” with “Sixteen Tons” is a brilliant concept. The one that really got my attention, though, was mashing up “Safety Dance” to “The Twist” (as a Men Without Hats fan).
- Favorite Songs: Safety Dance ***, Whip It ***, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun ***, Welcome to the Jungle ***, I Write the Songs ***, Ice Ice Baby ***, Music of the Night ***
- Richard Cheese
- Known For: Enter Sandman ***
- Memories: Cheese’s album titles and artwork instantly set the scene for the absurdities they contain, especially Lounge Against the Machine, Tuxicity, and Aperitif for Destruction. He occasionally mashes up lyrics and music like Big Daddy does (like in Enter Sandman, Stand Up, and Star Wars Cantina).
- Favorite Songs: Stand Up ***, Closer ***, Star Wars Cantina ***, Sunday Bloody Sunday ***, Brass Monkey ***, Come Out and Play ***, Another Brick in the Wall ***
- The Lost Fingers
- Known For: Tainted Love ***
- Memories: The band’s jazz and acoustic take on popular music is very fun. Their arrangement of “Straight Up” continues to amuse me.
- Favorite Songs: Straight Up ***, Billie Jean ***, Pump Up the Jam ***, Hit ‘Em Up Style ***, Tom’s Diner ***, Groove is in the Heart ***, Safety Dance
- Runners Up: Senor Coconut ***, Max Raabe ***, Jaymz Bee ***, various a cappella bands, Dynamite Hack ***, Walk Off the Earth *** (and Key of Awesome cover of their cover), Postmodern Jukebox ***