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Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  27 reviews
From the creator of the popular website covermesongs[.]com comes the perfect book for music fans: the inside stories behind 20 iconic cover songs and the artists who turned them into classics.

A great cover only makes a song stronger. Jimi Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” The Beatles rocking out with “Twist and Shout.” Aretha Franklin
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Sterling
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Fred Klein
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This very readable book provides a lot of insight into cover songs. They come about for different reasons. In the early days, record companies came out with covers as a matter of course to piggyback on a hit song (consumers didn't care as much back then about who sang the song). Some performers cover songs that they admire, as an homage to the original; others to put their own imprint on a song; and others have covered songs that they didn't even know had been originally done by someone else. ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed Ray Padgett's Cover Me blog for years so was excited about this book. It totally exceeded my expectations: great storytelling, pretty book design, lots of photos. These are some of my favorite kinds of tales, so fun I ended up recounting lots of them to my s.o. on our commute to work. Padgett also put out a couple of accompanying mixes you can find online.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
In 2007, Padgett founded the blog “Cover Me” which has become the largest blog dedicated to cover songs. For this book, Padgett compiles the stories behind the 19 of the biggest cover songs ever recorded. Going as early as Elvis Presley’s rendition of “Hound Dog” all the way into the new millennium with Adele covering Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” this collection contains entertaining and informative stories behind our favorite cover songs and covers a wide array of genres.

In a special
Cat C
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway, and have not let it affect my review.

This book is gorgeous, bursting with photos and colorful layouts, and very interesting. I appreciated that in addition to the straight history of the songs the author addressed a little bit of the social context, particularly with the first cover song "Hound Dog" and the racial divisions of the popular music scene. In addition to covering "canonical" covers it seemed like there were also a variety of themes
Arin Williams
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read each chapter accompanied by the original version(s) of the songs as well as the covers, and sometimes other songs that were mentioned in each chapter. It was wonderful to see the way that each song evolved over time, and how powerful these covers can be. My two favorite chapters were “Unchained Melody” and “Always on My Mind.” They are both songs that I’ve had a long-standing personal connection to, and listening to their trajectory through several artists reminded me of why I keep these ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’m really surprised that anyone can give this book less than 4 stars. It’s full of detail that you feel is more than you need to know but you end up so glad you’ve read it. Cover songs are always going to be divisive and to select 19 as some of the best examples of the genre is always going to be problematic. However, it made me want to listen to (and compile a playlist of) all the originals and covers (and the other covers inbetween that are mentioned in each chapter). And all the words are ...more
Nathan Albright
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2019
As someone who is generally fond of cover songs, this is a book I happily waited for from the library for it to arrive. Although I did not look up the cover songs beforehand, I found myself familiar with most of them and also found it interesting the way that cover songs became a phenomenon of respect at the point where they were transitioning away from simply being a way for race records tracks to reach a white audience and vice versa. Nowadays songs from the urban mainstream reach the white ...more
Riley Haas
This is not "The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time." I don't know how you would figure out what songs those were and it's really entirely subjective.
What this is, rather, is the story of 19 different covers, most of which are different enough from the originals, and famous enough, to certainly be considered as among the "Greatest Cover Songs of All Time," even if I might not agree with all the entries, as I think not all of these are interesting enough and I feel as though
A pleasant book, first about what makes a "cover" song, and then a look at 19 songs that became popular when sung by a singer other than the original person who recorded it. I recall several of the early songs, some of which are my favorites: "All Along the Watchtower" as sung by Jimi Hendrix), "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers, and "Take Me to the River" done by The Talking Heads. Other songs such as "Gloria" by Patti Smith were discussed in depth, however, that is not my favorite ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I could give half stars, this would be a 3 1/2 star book. The strength of the book is in the sourcing. Padgett, in seeking out the stories behind the songs, does a great job of both finding people involved in the covers and, if unavailable, relevant interviews from the past. The best story is the one that was excerpted in Rolling Stone, the story of DEVO's cover of The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", but there are no duds here.

Padgett's prose is perfunctory, which is better
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
Historias interesantes, muy bien documentado y se complementa perfecto con el ensayo "Judging Covers"[1] escrito por P.D. Magnus, Cristyn Magnus y Christy Mag Uidhir.

Aprendí un montón sobre canciones que me gustan mucho: Twist and Shout es un cover y lo grabaron de un jalón con Lennon enfermo con un gripón, "I will always love you" es la única canción que ha sido número 1 en las listas country en dos épocas separadas y que Elvis quizo grabarla pero por gandalla Dolly Parton no lo dejo (y que fue
Nick Spacek
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rock-and-roll
if nothing else, the story of whitney houston's "i will always love you" and the gourds' "gin & juice" are worth reading. i mean, the whole book is excellent and intriguing, and the inclusion of 'weird al' yankovic's "polkas on 45" is pretty demonstrative of how wide-ranging padgett's book can be, but those two chapters alone demonstrate the power of how a cover song can change things.

the former is powerful in how it came to be, and the background of what might have been is fascinating,
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I've always enjoyed discussions about cover songs and this book gets right down to the nitty gritty. I learned so many interesting facts about the originals, the covers, the artists and the producers. Each chapter is an iconic song in mega detail (with the minor exception of about 3 songs that I had no interest in - Gin and Juice by Snopp Dogg and the cover by The Gourds - whatever. You figure that the author had to throw a rap song in the book somewhere just to ...more
Anne Ku
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Someone recommended this book, and I was glad to order it through my local library. Fascinating stories behind songs we know that are not written by the performers themselves. Some of these made the performers famous, like Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” for Adele. Full of anecdotes and stories of historical significance for anyone that loves music. I learned a lot from reading this book and listening to the originals and covers. Look forward to checking out the author’s blog, from which ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of behind the scenes and industry intrigue in this compilation of views of major pop hits from the standpoint of fresh interpretations of originals. Sometimes this involves strange bedfellows -- techno pop recording of a country ballad, for example -- coming into new dimensions to good effect. And the book is meticulously organized so that the reader can sample (as I did) from tales of favorite artists and omit tales of those less favored. But for the true rock/pop aficionado, the best bet ...more
Benjamin Kahn
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book on the back story of various cover songs. The only slow point for me was a little too much Patti Smith going on about her religious beliefs. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book, despite the fact that they're were a lot of covers songs that I'd never heard the original or the cover before. I also enjoyed the introduction when Padgett talked about the evolution of the cover song.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Great color and illustrations to move the book along. Wasn't as impressed as I wanted to be with the narrative portion of this book, but nontheless, I am glad that I picked it up. It is funny to read the stories behind why a song excelled with a new performer, and what the original performer thought of the redo.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I heard the author on "The 1A" radio show, so checked out the book. Some of the stories are fascinating, others merely OK. Unfortunately for many of the songs I didn't know either the cover nor the original, leaving me in the dark for those chapters. The chapters on Hound Dog, Respect, Polkas on 45, and Gin & Juice were entertaining and enlightening for me.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really good. Especially if you read while listening to the tracks. I knew most of these, but some of them - like Midnight Train to Georgia - I didn't realize the version I knew was a cover. Or that it was a cover of Cissy Houston - mother to Whitney. Based on the blog of the same name, there are a lot of good stories in this one.
Ryan Miller
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the details of the creative process. I read and listened to the tunes all at once for a full sensory experience and to truly appreciate the passion and individuality each song version contains.
Danielle Lima
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review...

I really loved all the back stories of these songs and was very surprised with how well researched this was. I found myself listening to all of the songs after I read about them.
Daniel Stern
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This must have been an incredibly difficult book to research and Ray Padgett has done a great job. In only one case would I question if he covered the most important cover from an international aspect at least. Terrific job and a top read
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging series of (relatively) stand-alone chapters on 19 great song covers from RESPECT to Take Me to The River. I'm sure music buffs might want more detail, but it was pretty much "just right" for me.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good writing and evidence of much research. A hoot to read while listening to the tunes, their covers, their inspirations. Unbelievably enjoyable for the music obsessed.
Mike Merrill
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cool book about cover songs and the definitive ones.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This is a music encyclopedia of music artists and the way they sang everyone else's songs. It had too many facts for me. I read the chapter on Elvis and I was done.
Martin Maenza
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: entertainment, music
This is a nice, enjoyable, light read. I learned a few things about songs I knew quite well and also about a few songs I have not yet heard. We’ll have to correct that last part.
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Goodreads Librari...: Two authors under same name 2 184 May 19, 2017 11:31AM  

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