Bon Iver and St. Vincent recently covered Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" at a Brooklyn benefit for the Haitian relief effort.
Which put me in the mind of Elliott Smith's cover:
And here's the original:
Who else has covered it? Well, we've got Ben Gibbard, Cassandra Wilson and Pearl Jam, for starters. With the exception of Wilson, it seems like everyone approaches their cover version the same way — which I think is the most boring way to do a cover. As a commenter on the Awl astutely said, in reference to Justin Timberlake's telethon performance of "Hallelujah":
Too many people covering songs with the same chord structure and form as the originals, essentially saying “I love this song and so does everyone else, and I know there’s plenty of recordings out there for anyone who wants to hear it, but you know what it really needs? MY VOICE.” If you like a song, go sing it Karaoke or buy it for Rock Band.
I wish I said that.
Also, I didn't mean for this post to turn into a bash on all the above mentioned artists — except for maybe Pearl Jam; I can't stand Eddie Vedder. Actually, I'm not too hot on Ben Gibbard either. But I do really like the singers, St. Vincent and Bon Iver, who occasioned this post. And who can knock Elliott Smith?
Alright. I'll call it: This post has totally gotten away from me. Time to end it.
ETA: Another party heard from: Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal has also done a cover version. Verdict: He makes it his own.