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Hardest bands to cover

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by guitarface, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 11, 2012
    New York
    what do you think are the hardest bands to cover? By cover, I don't necessarily mean mimic, but more to do a good version of their song, and I mean either hard for you or you've found hard in general.

    I'll start with two biggies-

    The Beatles- other than with a little help from my friends, are there any good Beatles covers out there? Hardly. The arrangements are already perfect. We don't need a fast in my life or a slow halter skelter.

    Led Zeppelin- it's hard to figure out how to do the plant vocals.
     
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  2. alderre

    alderre Strat-Talker

    362
    May 1, 2014
    New Braunfels
    So not to mimic, but just to do a good cover? There are plenty of good covers or Beatles and zeppelin.

    Are you sure you didn't mean "hardest bands to replicate exactly"

    In that case I'd say A flock of Seagulls
     

  3. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 11, 2012
    New York
    I mean do a good cover, not replicate.

    I'd love to hear about good Beatles covers, but except for the one I mentioned, I can't think of any that add something over the original.
     
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  4. heltershelton

    heltershelton ROCKIN FOREVER Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    probably queen. never saw a cover band do bohemian rhapsody in my life.
     
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  5. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    May 2, 2016
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Lmao. Vocals could be a problem maybe
     
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  6. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    there is one band that always seems to get covered but very rarely are they covered properly

    that band is "the Police"

    It comes down to one man, Sting. The guy has a voice that is soooo hard to mimic without sounding like an idiot. The band is super tight too... their drummer mainly in my world is one of the more talented dudes out there... his work with oyster head kinda made me re think The Police.
     

  7. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    626
    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    I'm guessing you're sticking with the Classic Rock stuff (try covering Opeth or Dream Theater).

    To me
    1. When a bar cover band starts a Pink Floyd song and the guitarist finally gets to use their fancy delay and mod pedals, I almost always cringe.

    2. Hendrix. The soul of those songs has nothing to do with the chords and melodies and so much more to do with what Jimi did and 99% of the time I'm left shaking my head.

    3. Anything with a SRV solo. Guys I played with wanted to do China Girl (Bowie) really badly - and I was like "Nope, nope, nope - I'm not doing the Stevie solo. F* that" I ended up writing one that sounded more like me and fit the song.

    EDIT: I don't suffer anyone for playing the music that they love and really don't try to judge. Often the rational part of my bran can know a cover missed but I still let my heart enjoy the music.
     
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  8. conehead

    conehead Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    189
    Apr 12, 2017
    way out there
    Go take a trip to Japan sometime. Any 'classic rock' band you can imagine is being covered in excruciating detail somewhere (in a club the size of my bathroom, to an audience of fourteen or fifteen) by guys who look like they sell insurance by day. And some of them are scary good.
     
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  9. Johnny Danger

    Johnny Danger Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    35
    26
    Aug 28, 2017
    Denton, TX
    That's a great distinction when you say cover rather than mimic. And the Beatles are particularly tough. I have a 1 and a half year old and a 5 and a half year old, so we watch a lot of kids shows on Netflix. There is a series called "Beat Bugs" that follows a group of bugs living in a backyard and they do little 10 minute episodes loosely based on a Beatles song that later gets sung in the show. Most of it is... not great. But then they did an episode with Blackbird with Sia singing the vocals and I was actually very surprised. Not that the instrumentation was superb, but her voice was great. There is also a live video of Annie Clark (St. Vicent) doing "I Dig a Pony" that I enjoy. She definitely brings her own style to the table and has fun with it. I've never been a huge fan of Aerosmith's "Come Together" cover.

    I was trying to remember the name of "that one Beatles cover album" when Wiki revealed to me there have been 51 tribute albums. And the ONLY song that sticks out to me from any of those is Fiona Apple's cover of "Across the Universe."

    And yes, Zeppelin is just tough. Even if you manage to find a range you can work within, most people can't tough Robert Plant's range.
     
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  10. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Hey Jude by Wilson Pickett is a pretty damn good cover, also Foo Fighters have played Hey Bulldog live and it is a much improved version.
     
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  11. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 11, 2012
    New York
    Oh yeah. I love that hey Jude. I'm proud to say that I thought to myself man, this guitar solo is awesome even before I actually knew it was Duane allman.
     

  12. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    The I Am Sam Soundtrack has a ton of great Beatles covers. Great but simple songs are not hard to cover.

    Stevie Wonder and a million others have covered Beatles songs excellently, and Yesterday is the most recorded song of all time, I believe. I think you're off base with that choice, but Zep seems to have many imitators but fewer bands covering them well.
     
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  13. Teddy Watkins

    Teddy Watkins Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2009
    Florida
    3 piece bands because there is generally nowhere to hide or take a break. Bands with harmonies because one of the hardest things in music is vocal harmony. So no King's X covers.

    I don't think a cover needs to improve on the original to be good. Just needs to be enjoyable for the player and the listener. In my old band I tried to dispel the somewhat arrogant idea that we were going to make a song better.

    (I should add when I say 3 piece bands I include 3 instrument bands. I think of Van Halen as a 3 piece even though there is really 4 of them.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  14. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Strat-O-Master

    956
    Oct 12, 2016
    US
    It all depends really. I've seen bands cover Chicago very well...because they had a brass section! That same band also covered SRV really well because they had an amazing guitarist. They did Steely Dan also...yeah you guessed it, fantastic keyboard player also!

    To do Doobie Brothers and Beatles well, you need the multipart harmonies. Same with Eagles.

    It becomes challenging when the music is intricate and the instrumentation is large.

    With cleverness, you can overcome the instrumentation thing. My current band does 25 or 6 to 4. We don't have a horn section, but we have an amazing keyboard player with a sampler and he nails the horn parts.
     
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  15. Chont

    Chont Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2012
    Pennsylvania
    great cover of Two of Us on that one if i'm not mistaken. Which as far as Beatles songs go, is a fairly easy one to cover and tons of fun to play especially if you have another player doing vocal harmonies with you.

    Best Beatles cover act i've ever seen was actually this feller in the tunnel between the L train and the 14th street 1,2,3,9 subway station in Manhattan around 2000. It was just a guy strumming Beatles songs on his acoustic but he did such a great job and had such infection enthusiasm that no matter how down in the dumps or in a crap mood i was at trying to get a career going in NYC as a Florida transplant he just made me smile. I'd sometimes try NOT to smile and just walk past and go about my day but we would catch glances and he was so into what he was doing i couldn't help but grin and nod. Kind of fruity I know but he was just great. I hope he's doing well.
     

  16. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Strat-O-Master

    956
    Oct 12, 2016
    US
    I think a lot of bands and musicians get tripped up in trying to replicate the original. I think it goes over much better when you try to stick to the "original script" but make it your own, especially if it is a technical challenge. When you make it your own, the performance is much more natural...and it's a lot easier :).

    Unless you are a tribute band, the audience isn't expecting exact replicas of the songs. For that they can go listen to the original :).
     

  17. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 11, 2012
    New York
    This isn't necessarily the hill I want to die on, but despite lots of covers, I don't think most of those Beatles covers offer anything new or interesting over the Beatles version. Sure, it's great to hear a great singing voice like Stevie wonder singing a good song, but beyond that there I don't see much there.

    Complete the following analogy- hendrix all along the watchtower is to Dylan's all along then watchtower as blank is to the Beatles. I can't do it.
     

  18. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Easy, Complete the following analogy- hendrix all along the watchtower is to Dylan's all along then watchtower as Joe Cocker's With a Little Help From My Friends is to the Beatles
     

  19. tealsixtysix

    tealsixtysix Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 30, 2015
    Massachusetts USA
    I was in a cover band in college with a drummer who could sing like Sting and play like Stewart... at the same time. We did a bunch of Police covers, and they sounded good. But he was a seriously talented guy, and that was a unique situation.
     
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  20. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    And honestly, Johnny Cash singing In My Life on the American Albums has a burden that the Beatles didn't on theirs.