My new Nation column is called “Why Do Journalists Take Delusional Presidential Candidates So Seriously?” and was written even before Donald Trump made things far stupider. You can find it here.
Today’s list: Interesting and (mostly) relatively obscure cover songs:
My favorite songs are those with the power, for whatever reason, to change my mood all by themselves. When asked to create a playlist for “Paper Cuts,” years ago, I tried to figure out a criteria for this process but gave up since it’s obviously so personal. I thought I needed a theme though, so I made a list of terrific but not-terribly well-known cover songs. These are great mood changers because they force you to look and think, “Is he (or she) really singing that? I never realized what a great song it is.” Or at least they do for me. If you click on the link above, you’ll find explanations for why I chose most of them.
Comfortably Numb, Roger Waters, Van Morrison with the Band
Put a Little Love in Your Heart, Al Green and Annie Lenox
I Fought the Law, The Clash
Cowboys to Girls, Chris Gaffney with Lucinda Williams
The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp, O.C. Smith
Follow that Dream, Bruce Springsteen
Ode to Billy Joe, Henry Kaiser
Positively 4th Street, Lucinda Williams
Brilliant Disguise, Elvis Costello
To Sir with Love, Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant
Walk Away Renee, Southside Johnny
Sugar, Sugar, Wilson Pickett
Goodnight, Irene, Brian Wilson
Air That I Breathe, The Mavericks
Que Sera Sera, Sly and the Family Stone
Somewhere, Tom Waits.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Bryan Ferry.
Wedding Bell Blues, The Roches
Johnny 99, Johnny Cash
Like a Rolling Stone, The Rolling Stones
Stand by Me, John Lennon.
Bonus: Four years later, I made this list of Springsteen covers for David Remnick. For some inexplicable reason, it does not include the fantastic “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love,” among a lot of other great songs he did in the later, “Stump the Band” period.