Cover songs are great for many reasons. Some are related to the original song or band that’s being covered, and others are connected with the new band that’s doing the covering. Sometimes we like covers because we love the original so much and hearing a slightly different take on it really sings to our hearts. Other times we didn’t like the original much in the first place, but we love the cover. For new bands, recording covers is either a way to demonstrate musical talent in the absence of inspiration for writing their own works, or a way to get a decent number of listeners by playing music the audience is already familiar with.
A band that only does covers is called a cover band, while a band that only does covers from a certain other band is called a tribute band. It’s the same with tribute albums, sometimes including contributions from several artists. Anyway, if you’re not much into covers you should look into it as soon as possible. You may really discover some musical gems you’ll adore and had no idea about until now. Here’s a short list of great cover bands that please both the nostalgia-driven and the indie-seeking.
1. Nouvelle Vague
No list of this type could dream to begin without this lovely French band. The soft female voices of Nouvelle Vague do bossa-nova style covers of songs from the New Wave period. If you’re not familiar with them, start with Dance with me, it’s my personal favorite. Speaking of the familiar, an interesting but little known fact about this band is that of the various female singers contributing to a song, there is always at least one who never heard the original. This way, the covers always maintain a little touch of originality to them.
Gregorian is a German band of highly trained male vocal singers that cover popular well-known songs in a Gregorian chant manner. They often wear Gregorian fashion (including the hair-style) and no, it’s not a parody; they seem to take themselves quite seriously. Often times, they choose to cover songs that approach a religious theme, but not always. They have wonderful covers made after R.E.M., Evanescence, Within Temptation, Carl Orff, AC/DC, Depeche Mode and many more.
3. Hayseed Dixie
This band had originally set out to cover songs by AC/DC, but since its start in 2001, it eventually branched out to cover other bands and styles as well. If you’re a classic rock fan, give them a try.
This list of great cover bands couldn’t go on without a focus on these delicious sweethearts. They’re disarmingly funny, insanely creative and really talented. They made their debut in 1989 and they focus on Led Zeppelin songs, but infused with reggae undertones, all sung by an Elvis-impersonator main voice. It may sound like it doesn’t add up, but it really sounds as if it all fits once you listen to them. Even Led Zeppelin’s own singer, Robert Plant, said that Dreadzeppelin is his favorite cover band. Over the years they branched out to cover songs by Bob Marley and the king himself as well.
An Abba band cover band that perform those classic songs with a new kick. They’re British, they’re punk, and approach the Abba original tunes with a The Ramones-inspired tune. They claim to be inventors of the discopunk style they use. Many of their lyrics are sometimes puns directed to real facts from the discography of Abba or The Ramones, or at political correctness.
If you liked our suggestions, why not also try a short list of Australian songs you’ve probably never heard of? Maybe you’ll find something to suit your fancy there as well.