Joe Jackson gave us a song about immortality. In The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy, the artist doesn’t try to make a pact with the devil to live forever, but to achieve immortality through his music, to be remembered forever. We lost two artists in the last week who had achieved that immortality, two mortals who will live forever.
In this week of loss I found myself comforted by the music of Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. And covers. Gosh I have heard more Leonard Cohen covers in the last week than one normally experiences in an average year. And each was better than the last. The most notable may be the Kate McKinnon cathartic rendition of “Hallelujah”. My favorite has been Daniel Kahn’s version in Yiddish. I’ve listened to it daily.
And Leon? It is difficult to grasp how important Leon Russell was to popular culture over the last 50 years. He played with everyone. But a melody? Listen to David Sanborn and George Benson as each perform Leon’s “This Masquerade”. For many of us though, Leon doing Leon was always the best.
This is a post about covers and music that will live forever. Below are a few of my favorite covers in no particular order. Each honors the original author and yet adds something new and original to the performance. I hope that you will enjoy the links.
All Along The Watchtower The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Rock ‘N’ Roll Detroit
Take Me To The River Talking Heads
Gimme Shelter Grand Funk Railroad
Me and Bobbie McGee Janis Joplin
Lake of Fire Nirvana
Proud Mary Ike and Tina Turner
With a Little Help From My Friends Joe Cocker
Time to recover,