Critic David Bianculli is a big Beatles fan, and to pay homage to the 40th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, he turns to other homages: On today's Fresh Air, Bianculli reaches into his record collection and pulls out favorite cover versions of the songs from the album.
Since she began her recording career in the '70s, Patti Smith has never been shy about recording covers of her favorite songs, such as Van Morrison's "Gloria." Now she's released an album consisting entirely of other people's songs — a dozen covers, originally recorded by acts as diverse as the Doors, Nirvana and the Rolling Stones, under the simple title Twelve.
Crooner Paul Anka's new album Rock Swings is a collection of covers from the 1980s and '90s — reset to a swing beat. Songs include Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" and Van Halen's "Jump." It's been described as "music to drink cocktails to."
Cake has five albums to their credit. The band includes trumpeter Vincent DiFiore, bassist Gabriel Nelson, and guitarist Xan McCurdy. The popular alt-rock group combines caustic lyrics with pulsing guitar music and is influenced by many different styles: rock, funk, synth-pop, mariachi and cuban. Sometimes they shoot for a cheap, lo-fi sound, says McCrea. Their new CD is Pressure Chief.
Guitarist Carl Finch. His band, Brave Combo, just released "Girl" (Rounder) in conjunction with the legendary Tiny Tim. Brave Combo is a Texas world beat polka band and the members weren't sure what to expect when they began working on this project with the eccentric Tiny Tim eight years ago. The CD features many familiar tunes (including "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Hey Jude" and even "Stairway to Heaven") like they've never been performed before.