Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tuesday Tunes: Radio 1 Established 1967

I love a good cover version. Especially the fantastically bizarre cover versions that take a well known song off in a completely unexpected direction. It doesn't really matter whether they work or not most of the time, I just think they're great fun.

And so, when Radio 1 celebrated it's 40th anniversary a few months ago by inviting 40 of today's greatest artists to cover 40 years of hits, I was hoping for a CD compilation without even hearing most of the tracks.

Lucky then, that I got a copy for Christmas.

The compilation is a little heavy on trendy indie bands, including some with whom I have only a passing acquaintance; but there's also Robbie, Kylie, and the largely pointless Girls Aloud fighting pop's corner.

It starts off with the first track played on the station - The Move's Flowers in the Rain, performed by Kaiser Chiefs - and delivers a song from each year up to 2006.

For me the highlights are the more insane versions: Careless Whisper by Gossip; Madonna's Crazy for You given a Groove Armada makeover; Hard-Fi doing Britney's Toxic; The Streets' rendition of Elton's Your Song is so bad it's good; and the ultimate crazy cover must be Armand van Helden and Mika teaming up to destroy Can't Stand Losing You (originally by The Police).

Even the less out there covers are mainly good; Kylie doing Love is the Drug; Klaxons covering No Diggity and Foo Fighters rocking out Band On The Run make songs I wasn't previously bothered about, well, more enjoyable.

In fact, I think there are, at most, two dodgy tracks out of the 40. One is a song I don't know the original of and am pretty apathetic towards the cover; the other is by Girls Aloud. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind Girls Aloud doing their own stuff; it's largely inoffensive pop music which I am happy to allow a place in my life. But they sapped the life out of The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You a few years ago, and pretty much do the same to Teenage Dirtbag here. These sort of things give cover versions a bad reputation - thankfully, the rest of the compilation more than makes amends.

That reminds me: The Pretenders' Don't Get Me Wrong is given the Lily Allen treatment - not a huge change like some, but the Lily Allen treatment is just too great not to mention. There are some other classic tunes given worthy renditions - Teenage Kicks; Bowie's Sound and Vision; and Stereophonics doing You Sexy Thing to name a few...

I am fairly sure there must be something for everyone in this compilation. Look:

Sci-Fi Song of the Week today is the only sci-fi related track on Established 1967. Covered by The Pigeon Detectives, it was originally by Huey Lewis and The News, and is the album's featured track for 1985. The year when it was, of course, the theme for one of the biggest time travel movies of all, er, time...

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