Music Covers and ROW80

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, when I throw out a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. Today’s topic is music. Specifically, music covers.

I’m generally not crazy about remakes. I tend to like the original version more than the do-over. But sometimes, a remake is done in such an interesting way that it’s worth a second look play–and maybe a third and a fourth and….

Let me share some of my favorites, and I hope you’ll share yours in the comments.

Tori Amos, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” This song from the grunge band Nirvana sounds hard-core in the original, but the lyrics are so poignant and Tori’s rendition highlights the beauty behind the beat.

On the Rocks, “Bad Romance.” On the Rocks is an all-male singing group from the University of Oregon. I’m not a Lady Gaga fan myself, but their version of “Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah, ro-ma, ro-ma, ma, Ga-ga, ooh, la, la, want your bad romance” is great harmony and fun.

Bette Midler, “Beast of Burden.” Sure, the classic is from The Rolling Stones, but even Mick Jagger knows that Bette can deliver a song with oomph like no other.

The Puppini Sisters, “I Will Survive.” It’s now known as the quintessential karaoke song, but this jazzy version gives new pep to an old favorite. The Puppini Sisters also have interesting covers of “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Heart of Glass.”

They Might Be Giants, “Istanbul.” The original was recorded way back in 1953 by The Four Lads. But this cover is, in my humble opinion, better. Bring on the violin, guys!

UB40, “Red, Red Wine.” Written and recorded by Neil Diamond, UB40’s cover has become the better-known version, at least among my children-of-the-80’s friends.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra, “Jump, Jive and Wail.” I dare you to stay still when you listen to any version of this song, but former Stray Cat Brian Setzer’s rendition knocks my socks off.

Van Halen, “You Really Got Me.” I love the Kinks original (the song was written by lead singer Ray Davies), and I love the Van Halen cover. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I think Eddie Van Halen is one of the best guitarists ever. (I don’t play guitar, though, so correct me if you wish.)

And a bonus! Who fell in love with this song even more after Nissan’s 1996 ad campaign?

Tina Turner, “Proud Mary.” Credence Clearwater Revival recorded this song, but who cares? It’s Tina Turner’s anthem. She made it hers, and my dream is to move like that. Just. Like. That.

That’s a lot of music. Maybe a little inspiration there for some writing? Here’s how my writing is going with my…

ROW Update


  • Complete full rewrite of SHARING HUNTER. Rewrote one chapter. I need to pick up the pace here.
  • Edit first short story. Deep edited one chapter.
  • Write second short story. Finished first draft.
  • Write blog posts for Sundays (including ROW80 updates) and Wednesdays. Posted Ryan Gosling Is a Hunk? on Sunday and Laugh with Me: It’s Punny! on Wednesday.
  • I need to add a goal here because I started Lawson Academy‘s Writing Body Language course this past week. (I’d signed up but forgotten it started in early March.) This goal then is Complete my weekly lesson for Writing Body Language course. Check for this week.


  1. Hush Now, Don’t You Cry by Rhys Bowen (historical mystery)
  2. The Yard by Alex Grecian (historical mystery)
  3. Your Spiritual Personality by Marita Littauer (nonfiction)
  4. The Ruth Valley Missing by Amber West (mystery)
  5. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen (historical mystery)
  6. Frosted by Wendy Sparrow (paranormal romance)
  7. Savage Cinderella by P.J. Sharon (YA contemporary)
  8. Blood Ties by Lori G. Armstrong (mystery)
  9. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (literary fiction)
  10. Tighter by Adele Griffin (YA contemporary)

Non-writing goals

  • Exercise twice a week. *sigh* My city’s recreation department is starting a yoga class program next week. I am planning to go!
  • Take a true Sabbath–no working and time with God and family one day a week. Check.

Now it’s your turn? How did your week go? What are your favorite music covers?

17 thoughts on “Music Covers and ROW80

  1. I used to be a purist on covers. The original was ALWAYS the best. But I’ve changed my thoughts on that. There are some great covers out there. Some of my favorites:

    * “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” by Nirvana. The original was by Leadbelly.
    * “These Days” by Gregg Allman. Jackson Brown wrote this song and recorded it first.
    * “Little Wing” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The original was by Jimi Hendrix.
    * “Loretta” by Ray Lamontagne. The original was by Townes Van Zandt (quite possibly the best songwriter who ever lived).
    * “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Gus. Blue Oyster Cult did the original.
    * “Nutshell” by Staind. Alice in Chains did the original. This is one of my anthems. I KNOW what he’s talking about.
    “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Bonnie Raitt. The original was by Blind Faith.
    “Crossroads” by Eric Clapton. The original was by Robert Johnson.
    “Dead Flowers” by Townes Van Zandt. The Rolling Stones did the original.

  2. I didn’t know red, red wine was a Neil Diamond tune. Man, that song always takes me back.
    You’re making good progress, Julie. Good for you. Yoga <– you should do it.

  3. I know next to nothing about music. 🙂 My parents were pretty strict about what I got to listen to when I was growing up, and by the time I got out of the house, I found that I preferred the stuff I had listened to as a kid. (Classics, opera, musicals, etc.) So, I got about 2 of your references.

    I have to say, I do love Bette Midler, though. 🙂

    1. My parents were not strict really, but I still find myself drawn to what we listened to growing up–ABBA, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, Linda Ronstadt, and yes, classical music. Bette Midler is awesome. Thanks!

  4. Obviously you and I are are going to have to jump up on a coffee table at DFW (with our boas) and get our “Dancing Queen” on. 🙂 I love this post, and also most of these songs!!

  5. You are rockin’ your goals- keep up the good work! As for remakes, this child of the 80’s loves Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony”, and Emeraon Lake & Powell’s “Locomotion” is awesome!

  6. I’m awful at knowing who sang what, LOL.

    You’re doing fabulously with your goals Julie!! That Body Language course is on my list too. Hope you enjoy your yoga class and have a wonderful week.

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