Cover Songs, Talking Heads Edition
September 29, 2022 5:44 AM   Subscribe

Toodling around listening to the radio yesterday and heard a badass cover of "Sledgehammer" by Shinyribs. Yoooooooo. Do you have a favorite cover of a Talking Heads song? A Peter Gabriel cover is also TOTALLY in scope - thanks!
posted by ersatzkat to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anjelique Kidjo covered the whole of Remain in Light - I especially like her version of Born Under Punches but they’re all bangers tbf
posted by rd45 at 6:01 AM on September 29, 2022 [14 favorites]


Iron & Wine’s cover of This Must Be The Place (Spotify) is so gorgeous. Tears of joy. Also via YouTube

And thanks for reminding me of Sledgehammer (and Peter Gabriel’s genius catalog in general). What a frikkin SONG. Psyched to check out this cover.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 6:11 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]




I always liked the Arcade Fire’s version of This Must Be The Place.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2022


Solsbury Hill a cappella. This isn't the group that did it on a mix tape I had back when I was young, but I don't remember who that was, and they're good.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Kishi Bashi's cover of This Must Be the Place is excellent.
posted by minsies at 6:26 AM on September 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


Seconding Kidjo's cover album of Remain in Light, which was my favorite album of (what?) 2018 (?!).
posted by thecaddy at 6:36 AM on September 29, 2022


Moxy Fruvous Psycho Killer though I always struggle to come to terms with my late 90's love for Moxy Fruvous set against mid-2010's Jian Ghomeshi.
posted by cmm at 6:39 AM on September 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


Jason Spooner's Slippery People.
posted by jeffjon at 6:44 AM on September 29, 2022


This might be the best of all, though.
posted by jeffjon at 6:46 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


Tom Jones & The Cardigans did Burning Down The House for Jones' duet / cover album back in 1999. It's very late 90's.
posted by Kyol at 6:56 AM on September 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


Since Peter Gabriel covers will also do - you may wanna check out this pair of sort-of-related concept albums Peter did called Scratch My Back and And I'll Scratch Yours. The original idea was that Scratch My Back would be an album of Peter doing covers of other people's songs, and then And I'll Scratch Yours would be an album of the people whose songs he'd covered, themselves doing covers of his stuff.

There was a little bit too long a gap between the albums and they couldn't get all the same people for it to be an even swap, but And I'll Scratch Yours did still come out, and is still an album of "people covering Peter Gabriel songs" - including David Byrne doing "I Don't Remember".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


Miles Fisher - This Must Be The Place
posted by Aznable at 7:09 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


I loved the Specials' recent cover of Listening Wind
posted by snarfois at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2022


There is a great cover of "Heaven" by Talking Heads on the Sing it Loud album by k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang (here she is doing it live on the tour supporting that album, which mrs. slkinsey and I were fortunate to attend). k.d. does it in her signature dreamy style & it's quite different from the original Talking Heads rendition.
posted by slkinsey at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


My favorite Talking Heads cover is one I've read about but never heard: Bob Mould, Grant Hart, & Greg Norton (& Charlie Pine, I guess?) screwing around at rehearsal in 1979, playing Psycho Killer. They couldn't remember the French bits, so they just shouted whatever phrases they could remember in languages that weren't English--including "Husker Du," which then stuck as the name for their band.

For a more proper answer, though: I like Primus's ridiculous cover of Peter Gabriel's Intruder, which is somehow more menacing than the original because of / despite how clownish Claypool's singing is.
posted by miles per flower at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


I really like this cover of "This Must Be the Place" by the New Standards. Actually, they have a number of covers that are really great.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:40 AM on September 29, 2022


Living Colour did Memories Can't Wait (with a great guitar solo) on their debut album.
posted by fedward at 7:44 AM on September 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


Tom Jones is such a lovable nutball.
posted by scolbath at 7:45 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


If you have Spotify, someone has made a playlist of Talking Heads covers. The Phish version of "Once in a Lifetime" is delightful!
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:45 AM on September 29, 2022


Another cover of "This Must Be the Place" done by the Lumineers. Featured on S1E1 of "Sprung", a Greg Garcia comedy on Amazon Prime/Freevee. Pretty funny!
posted by scolbath at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Not a cover, but a terrific mashup: DJ Cummerbund, "Sledgehammer as Hell"
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:58 AM on September 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


Also, Al Yankovic has recorded not one, but two Talking Heads/Peter Gabriel style parodies: "Dog Eat Dog" and "Waffle King"
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


For Peter Gabriel covers, I go to Security Project, which has the amazing vocals of Happy Rhodes.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 8:27 AM on September 29, 2022


My favorite Talking Heads cover is "Défaal Lu Wor (Once in a Lifetime)" by Senegalese singer Wasis Diop
posted by JohnFromGR at 8:33 AM on September 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


Check out the cover of Byrne's underrated "Strange Overtones" by We Barbarians (Eno is involved, so I declare it in scope)
posted by credulous at 8:52 AM on September 29, 2022


I think this is also a relatively new feature for them, but whosampled.com does "covers of" and "covers by", which might be amusing.
posted by Kyol at 9:04 AM on September 29, 2022


I like Chico Mann's version of 'Once in a Lifetime' and Florence's 'Wild Wild Life.'
posted by box at 9:07 AM on September 29, 2022


Re: Fedward’s call out to These Memories Can’t Wait . Check out the live version from LC’s Biscuits album. At some points Will Calhoun plays so far out of pocket, you start to wonder if he’s even wearing pants. Anyway, masterful cover and re-imagining of the energy of this Talking Heads song.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:16 AM on September 29, 2022


seconding JohnFromGR's recommendation of Wasis Diop's Once in a Lifetime cover.
posted by scruss at 9:22 AM on September 29, 2022


DMB doing Sledgehammer.. Truly a great cover.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: (( holy shit keep them coming I love this place ))
posted by ersatzkat at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


Wet Leg covering Psycho Killer
posted by mbrubeck at 10:03 AM on September 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


The Phish version of "Once in a Lifetime" is delightful!

Phish actually did an entire album cover of "Remain In Light"

01 Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
02 Crosseyed And Painless
03 The Great Curve
04 Once In A Lifetime
05 Houses In Motion
06 Seen And Not Seen
07 Listening Wind
08 The Overload

as part of their Halloween cover album tradition back in '96. It can likely be found in various Phish trading sites (or you could MeMail me your contact info).
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 10:04 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


I've got one, and maybe one you are already familiar with. Widespread Panic's version of Papa Legba. From the True Stories soundtrack: Radio Head.
posted by Snowishberlin at 10:05 AM on September 29, 2022


Cover or straight up heresy? Neil Cicierega made the Psychokiller meet the Superfreak on Mouth Dreams.
posted by Kyol at 10:24 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


This Mortal Coil covered Drugs on Filligree and Shadow. It's not better than the original and my least favorite TMC cover on that album, but it's a cover.
posted by archimago at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Neil Cicierega made me remember this Kleptones mashup, too: Psycho Killier and Fleetwood Mac's Dreams.
posted by Snowishberlin at 11:04 AM on September 29, 2022


Harry Styles' cover of Sledgehammer is pretty faithful to the original, but he has a great story in this clip - he was recording an album in Peter Gabriel's Real World studios, and after they were wrapping up one day, he and his band sheepishly asked the engineers if they could try having a go at playing "Sledgehammer" in the Real World booth just to see how they sounded. The engineers apparently sighed and said "everyone asks us that, go ahead...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:41 AM on September 29, 2022


Peter Gabriel and Laurie Anderson collaborated on the song he recorded as "This is the Picture" and she recorded as "Excellent Birds." She describes it as ending in a standoff:
The first record collaboration I ever did was probably with Peter Gabriel. I am a huge fan of Peter Gabriel, and especially of what he does in the low end – it’s so beautiful how he can organize what’s going on down there – but we could never agree on what a bassline was. (I think I probably don’t hear so well down there.) I wanted to learn from him, but it turned into a standoff and so we each put out our own version of the song. (I think it was called “Excellent Birds.”) It taught me that I should collaborate in different ways. I always like to cross borders and see how I can bring other things into music.
I'm not sure it counts as a cover, but I'll leave that to you.
posted by fedward at 11:55 AM on September 29, 2022


Er, something awkward just occurred to me. Has everyone in this thread, including me, managed to confuse Peter Gabriel and David Byrne?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:52 PM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Local Natives do a great cover of Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign,” an extremely under-celebrated song (and one of my favorites).
posted by ejs at 12:56 PM on September 29, 2022


Kate Miller-Heidke's version of Psycho Killer is awesome. I've linked you to the album version but there are some truly impressive performances on YouTube (though not necessarily great sound or video quality). Kate was a trained opera singer before she became a pop artist and holy moly can she do some amazing things with her amazing voice.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:17 PM on September 29, 2022


"Has everyone in this thread, including me, managed to confuse Peter Gabriel and David Byrne?"

I'd wondered if I was missing something...
posted by MrJM at 3:18 PM on September 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


Er, something awkward just occurred to me. Has everyone in this thread, including me, managed to confuse Peter Gabriel and David Byrne?

I added Security Project because the OP said Gabriel was in scope. Which, I know Gabriel and Byrne are not the same person but I can see some vibe commonalities.

The Best Talking Heads Covers Ever some of which are already included as toll for commenting again.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 4:19 PM on September 29, 2022


A Certain Ratio's cover of "Houses in Motion".
posted by oneirodynia at 5:47 PM on September 29, 2022


Has everyone in this thread, including me, managed to confuse Peter Gabriel and David Byrne?

Well, I would never...but I guess that might explain something about the original question!

Billy Bass might do a mean cover, but let's not forget that Take Me to the River is originally by Al Green, so how's that for turning the question inside out?

While searching for that Phish live concert, I would look for concert recordings from early 90's of David Byrne, solo with a guitar, where he performs a number of Talking Heads songs. Among the covers that he does are Wall of Death from Richard & Linda Thompson--so I think it's worth twisting up the question even more.
posted by polecat at 7:25 PM on September 29, 2022


I adore Shawn Colvin’s cover of This Must Be the Place
posted by Mchelly at 8:03 PM on September 29, 2022


The American Utopia musical discusses the Detroit School of the Arts cover of Everybody’s Coming to My House and I get choked up any time I hear it.
posted by vunder at 10:27 PM on September 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Has everyone in this thread, including me, managed to confuse Peter Gabriel and David Byrne?

No, we just read where the OP said that they were looking for covers of EITHER Peter Gabriel or the Talking Heads.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:02 AM on September 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


In addition to the Kishi Bashi version of This Must Be the Place, which is excellent, I like Whitney's version of Strange Overtones from Byrne's work with Eno.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:15 AM on September 30, 2022


I have been obsessed lately with the previously mentioned Staples Singers cover of Slippery People--it is definitely my Song of the Year for 2022!
posted by exceptinsects at 1:51 PM on September 30, 2022


MGMT, in their early days at Wesleyan College, performed "This Must Be The Place" for, IIRC, Zonker Harris Day, an arts-and-music celebration day in honor of the stoner from Doonesbury.

Also, I want to make sure you're aware of the easy-to-overlook 2018 release of the True Stories soundtrack album, this time preserving the music as performed by the cast in the David Byrne-penned movie, e.g. Annie McEnroe singing "Dream Operator" and John Goodman's "People Like Us," as well as the all-important Tito Larriva/Los Vampiros performance of Radiohead, the song which inspired the name of the eponymous band, based on the weird psychic experience of beloved character actor Stephen Tobolowski, who cowrote the movie with Byrne in part because they were next door neighbors. Arguably it's an album of TH covers.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:35 PM on October 1, 2022 [3 favorites]


Arguably it's an album of TH covers. Half and half, I would say. Some by David Byrne, some by Talking Heads, and, as you mention, the TRULY AMAZING covers of "Dream Operator," "People Like Us," "Papa Legba," and as I mentioned above "Radio Head" which I think in terms of the song is two words, but the band is one word? Google results have both, so I don't know. Also just an amazing soundtrack.
posted by Snowishberlin at 3:53 PM on October 1, 2022 [1 favorite]


In addition to his two style-parodies of TH, Weird Al has sung Psycho Killer in his live show.

And if style-parodies are on the table, how about Liam Lynch's "Fake Talking Heads Song" from his "Fake Songs" album. I've gotta say, it captures the TH sound.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:18 PM on October 3, 2022


This is very recent, and does contain one former Talking Head, but it's rather good: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2022 - Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew - Remain in Light
posted by scruss at 4:09 PM on October 4, 2022 [1 favorite]


This isn’t what you asked for, but I’m a little obsessed with this Talking Heads cover band, Start Making Sense
posted by OrangeVelour at 5:50 AM on October 6, 2022


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