Today’s installment in the 350 Jersey Songs series, Screaming Females’ cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” got me thinking: What are the most surprising covers ever, by Jersey musicians?
I limited myself to one song per artist (if I didn’t, there would be a lot more of Bruce Springsteen on this list, since he will try out just about anything in concert). And here’s what I came up with, in no particular order.
Please, if you are aware of other good ones, let me know in the comments section below. If I get enough suggestions, I may do a part 2.
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” (Mariah Carey), My Chemical Romance. I never figured them for Carey (or Christmas) fans.
“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (AC/DC), Lesley Gore. Recorded for the 2002 weird-covers album, “When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You’d Hear.”
“A Day in the Life” (The Beatles), Frankie Valli. I used this recently in a post on covers of Beatles songs by Jersey artists, but couldn’t resist including it again.
“You Light Up My Life” (Debby Boone), Patti Smith. Not a joke at all. Very sincere.
“Whip My Hair” (Willow Smith), Bruce Springsteen, with Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young). Yes, that’s Bruce, made up to look like his ’70s self on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”
“Sylvia’s Mother” (Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show), Bon Jovi. No, Dr. Hook was not a one-hit wonder, even the band is best known, today, for “Cover of the Rolling Stone.” They were actually on the charts quite a bit between 1971 and 1982, and made the Top 10 in ’72 with this song.
“Somebody’s Baby” (Jackson Browne), Yo La Tengo. It was a stroke of genius for Yo La Tengo to take the most innocuous song in Browne’s catalog and grunge it up almost beyond recognition.
“… Baby, One More Time” (Britney Spears),” Fountains of Wayne.
“I’m Not in Love” (10cc), Queen Latifah. Boy, has she come a long way from her hip-hop days.
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (Jim Croce), Frank Sinatra. Croce was great. But he couldn’t swing like this.