1. "Biko" - Peter Gabriel / Bloc Party
After Peter Gabriel left Genesis and went solo his music took on a very African feel for a while. "Biko" was an example of this as it is about anti-apartheid veteran Steve Biko. He even includes some South African language in the song. Bloc Party's "Biko" uses the term as one of endearment. Singer Kele Okereke is of Nigerian descent and remembers the term being used by his parents when he was growing up.
2. "Tangerine" - Led Zeppelin / Moist
Off the underrated and often overlooked Led Zeppelin 3 "Tangerine" is a sweet acoustic song which features Jimmy Page using a steel pedal. That device gives the song a southern almost country vibe. Perhaps this is the reason why it was ignored by many rock radio stations. It remains one of my favourite Zeppelin songs.
Moist's 1996 album Creature was as close to a perfect record as they got. The third single was "Tangerine" and though it's difficult to decipher David Usher's lyrics at times the song was a success and even picked them up an award at Much Music's annual video award show.
3. "Some Kind Of Wonderful" - Grand Funk Railroad / Sky
Grand Funk are another of those bands who made a living making obscure songs popular by covering them and because they were so obscure audiences often believe the songs were their own. "Some Kind Of Wonderful" was originally by a group called the Soul Brothers Six, Grand Funk's version was by far the most popular. In the late 90's Canadian duo Sky came on the scene with their first single also named "Some Kind Of Wonderful". Upon listening to the tune it's clear to hear that it is not a cover version of Grand Funk's song of the same name, but a certain Much Music VJ i guess didn't do her homework. When she interviewed the group she asked why they decided to do a cover song for their first single. The band quickly corrected her and the VJ was not seen on TV much after that.
4. "High Lonesome" - The Gaslight Anthem / Avail
I actually discovered The Gaslight Anthem when they opened for Thrice, Alkaline Trio and Rise Against at a concert in Toronto a few years ago. A couple days later I saw their CD The '59 Sound in the store and picked it up. One reason I actually purchased it (yes some people still do that) was because there was a song called "High Lonesome" which I knew as the name of a song by punk group Avail. I wondered if it was a cover and heard enough praise about Gaslight Anthem that I picked it up. Turns out it was no cover and high lonesome is a name for a type of bluegrass music pioneered by Bill Monroe.
5. "Never Gonna Give You Up" - Rick Astley / Julian Taylor Band
No i'm not Rick Rolling you. Though I did find it interesting that another artist would name a song "Never Gonna Give You Up" given how much of a joke the Rick Astley song has become. At least he has a sense of humour about it. In 2008 Astley popped out of a float in the middle of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade an Rick Rolled the entire thing. Julian Taylor once fronted the Canadian group Staggered Crossing and really this song is the one you should check out here, no disrespect to the soulful ginger, but you know the other song and have heard it countless times whether you wanted to or not. Julian Taylor's song is a thing of beauty.
6. "I Kissed A Girl" - Jill Sobule / Katy Perry
Katy Perry's debut song came out in 2008. Titled "I Kissed A Girl" it was a fluffy, bubblegum, scattered attempt to gather attention from prepubescent teens who'd latch on to it's "oh-so-edgy" hint at bisexuality. Sure it was catchy and seemed to get her noticed, but it was far from original. Jill Sobule wrote and released a song in 1995 also called "I Kissed A Girl" which came off as far more honest and featured real emotion and not just an anthem for drunken "bisexuality". But hey, it takes all kinds to turn the world.
7. "King Of Spain" - Moxy Fruvuos / The Tallest Man On Earth
Moxy Fruvous were a Canadian group known for quirky, often politically charge, fun songs. Their song "King Of Spain" is possibly their best known and features some famous Toronto landmarks like SkyDome, Maple Leaf Gardens and of course Pizza Pizza. The Tallest Man On Earth is Kristian Matsson from Sweden. His distinct voice and frenzied guitar playing has made him stand high above the folk scene and attract fans from all over the world. The Wild Hunt is a remarkable album and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh sound.
8. "Bad Reputation" - Thin Lizzy / Freedy Johnston
One of Thin Lizzy's shortest and most savage tunes is "Bad Reputation". Singer Phil Lynott never officially came out and said who the song was about, though many feel it was autobiographical. He lived hard and fast and died at the age of 36, though his legacy definitely lives on. Thin Lizzy may not be on everyone's lips these days but many modern groups cite them as a major influence including Rollins Band, Mastodon and Metallica. Freedy Johnston is on the other side of the spectrum. A singer/songwriter from NYC, his music had been featured in some major motion pictures and "Bad Reputation" earned him a record deal with Elektra. Nowadays Johnston keeps it lowkey and occasionally performs with old friends Butch Vig and Duke Erikson.
9. "Mixtape" - Butch Walker / Jimmy Eat World
I could have picked a few bands with the song "Mixtape". Also check out Jack's Mannequin and Big Scary.
Butch Walker was once the front man for Marvelous 3, but I feel his best work has been done on his own. "Mixtape" comes from the fantastic album Letters released in 2004. Jimmy Eat World enjoyed explosive fame when their 2001 album Bleed American was released and with help from songs like "The Sweetness", "The Middle" and the title track fans attended their shows in herds. Though their popularity has waned the most dedicated fans have been treated some some incredible music, like "Mixtape" which was the final track off their 2010 album Invented.
10. "The Suffering" - Billy Talent / Coheed & Cambria
Though Billy Talent's version is actually "This Suffering" it's close enough for me. As long as someone is suffering. Here's my feelings on Billy Talent. They've got energy and they have a few good songs. (only one great one in my opinion) but I feel they need to break out of their formula, all their songs blend together and it's not that they "sound the same", but you hear one of their songs come on the radio and it bounces off you. Like music by numbers. I think they need to rethink where their going before they become Canada's AC/DC. But that's just me....see this list isn't all songs by bands i'm in love with. However, speaking of bands I AM in love with, lastly we have Coheed and Cambria. "The Suffering" is off their third album, which is arguably their best. "The Suffering" is a high energy, relentless track who's lyrics pull at your heartstrings. You're not sure if you're meant to be upset or jovial. Such is the dynamic with Coheed's music, much like it's content, it's all over the map
I'm hoping to keep this up more in March!
Drop lines where you feel!