Friday, January 27, 2012

Cover Me, Part 2 - Bruce's Covers

I discussed the top five Bruce songs as covered by others last week. This week, I am looking at the songs that Bruce has covered. The top five songs, according to Cover Me, are:

5. “Dream Baby Dream”- Suicide

I absolutely love this version by Bruce. I believe he closed every concert of the Devils & Dust tour with it. If it wasn’t every one, then it was an overwhelming majority of them. I had never heard of this song, or the group Suicide, prior to Bruce covering them and I can’t say I’m a big fan of them. This is one of the rare times where, in my opinion, the cover is vastly superior to the original. And I’m not the only one who feels that way as Alan Vega, lead singer of Suicide, told Backstreets Magazine (our arch rival!) “A lot of bands have done my stuff, Suicide stuff [...] Thank god, finally somebody did their version of it. He [Springsteen] interpreted my song, he did it his way, and such a great way that I'm going to have to sing it that way, or not sing it at all anymore! … On my death bed, that's [Springsteen’s version] the last thing I'm going to listen to. I'll play it at my funeral." The incredibly simple lyrics repeated over and over by Bruce sitting alone at a pump organ gives this song an incredible uniqueness. Not only is this in my top 5, it might be #1.

4. “Chimes of Freedom”- Bob Dylan

If “Dream Baby Dream” isn’t #1, then this is. I’ve often said that Springsteen and Dylan are the most important American artists of the past 50 years, and I believe this songs show why. Between Dylan’s incredibly introspective lyrics, Bruce’s incomparable stage performance, this is a song that always gives me chills. Either #1 or #2 on my list. I can’t put into words how to accurately describe this song. Just listen to it, you won’t regret it.

3. “Trapped”- Jimmy Cliff

Again, no arguments from me on being on this list. I wouldn’t have placed it ahead of the previous 2, but that’s just nit-picking. I didn’t know of Jimmy Cliff or this song prior to hearing Bruce cover it, but I’m definitely a fan of the Springsteen version. The original is a reggae classic, but just not up my alley.

2. “War”- Edwin Starr

Eh, I can take or leave this. I like Bruce’s version and I like the original but I just don’t consider it “Top 5” Material. I’m pretty sure this was the only single Bruce released off his enormous Live/1975-1985 box set. It’s certainly good, and contains a nice political message from Bruce as an introduction. I don’t necessarily agree with Bruce’s comments, or most of his political views, but that’s for a blog entry on another day.

1. “Jersey Girl” - Tom Waits

Really? I mean, really? Come on!!! I guess it has to be #1 as the song is so identified with Bruce, that I often forget that it’s a cover and many people have been shocked to find out Bruce didn’t write this song. Maybe it was ruined for me cause I grew up in New Jersey my whole life, and every dumb girl I knew from there thinks this song is about her, but if I never hear this Bruce play this song again, it’s A-OK with me! I guess I can’t argue it too much, but I’ll pass.

My picks:

5. “Pretty Woman” - Roy Orbison

4. “Trapped”- Jimmy Cliff
3. “Rockin’ All Over the World”- Credence Clearwater Revival

2. “Chimes of Freedom” - Bob Dylan
1. “Dream Baby Dream” - Suicide

Let me know your choices for the best covers in the comments.

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