Two of my favorite musical artists are The Eagles, and Elton John. Their lyrics speak to me, and I associate many of their songs with specific memories in my life. “Tiny Dancer” is the first song I sang to my wife. “Already Gone” helped me through a break-up or two. Some high-school bandmates and I spent a trip home from eastern Pennsylvania singing our own harmonies to “Seven Bridges Road” and other songs from Eagles Live.
It shouldn’t be surprising then that a couple of my favorite albums are Two Rooms and Common Thread. Two Rooms was released in 1991 as a tribute to Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and included sixteen songs covered by artists such as Sting, Phil Collins, Oleta Adams, and Hall and Oates. Common Thread came out in 1993, and was a tribute to the Eagles by various country artists. “Already Gone” is a fun song when Glenn Frey sings it. It gains a new dimension when Tanya Tucker belts it out.
Jimmy Buffett did a great duet-filled album entitled License to Chill, in 2004 that’s a nice mix of covers and duets. I wish he’d do another.
The CMT Crossroads series is great for stuff like this. Pat Benatar with Martina McBride. Bruce Seger with Jason Aldean. Taylor Swift and Def Leppard. I really wish they could negotiate the rights and royalties from some of those combinations so they could release a nice album. Or twelve.
There’s a couple of great websites that catalog cover songs, so you can find out if anyone’s done what you’re dreaming of. Check out The Covers Project and Secondhand Songs. Between the two, I used to like TCP just a little better, but it looks like things haven’t been updated there in a while.
Imagine some of these covers:
- Taylor Swift singing Bob Seger’s “Fire Down Below.”
- Meat Loaf singing Springsteen’s “Jungleland.”
- Bob Seger singing Springsteen’s “Meet Me At Mary’s Place,” “Thunder Road,” or “Born to Run.”
- Springsteen covering almost anything by Meat Loaf, like “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are,” “Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire),” or maybe even “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” In fact, I’d love to see some kind of major collaboration between Meat Loaf (with Jim Steinman), Springsteen and Seger. The combination of voices, lyrics, and music would be astounding.
- Taylor Swift covering Blondie’s “Call Me.”
- Carrie Underwood doing Pat Benetar’s “We Belong.”
- Taylor Swift singing Scandal’s “Goodbye to You.” No, that’s not making a comment about her love life. I heard the song on the radio the other day and thought it matched Taylor’s range and style.
- The more I think about it, the more I think CMT should work on a Carrie Underwood/Bob Seger episode. Suggested playlist: “New Coat of Paint;” “We’ve Got Tonight;” “Two Black Cadillacs;” “Before He Cheats;” “Somewhere Tonight.”
What other duets or covers would you like to hear?