Cover Songs Done Live

One of the fun things about going to a rock concert, or watching one on TV or YouTube, is when the act on stage does a cover of a song that they’d never play in the studio. Back in May 2003 I saw Bruce Springsteen play with the E-Street Band on his Rising tour at the Old Trafford cricket ground, and it was brilliant. But I remember it most for his playing Seven Nights to Rock, a classic rockabilly song first recorded by Moon Mullican.

I think I was the only one in the entire crowd who knew this song, thanks to a pal of mine who got me into rockabilly at an early age including some rather obscure stuff.

It turns out Springsteen plays this song a lot. Here he is playing it in Paris in 2012:

So there we have Bruce Springsteen covering Moon Mullican. And today I found this video, which is Warren Zevon singing Poor Poor Pitiful Me live in New Jersey in 1982 before launching into a cover of Springsteen’s Cadillac Ranch. There are some wonderful moustaches and mullets on display.

I first heard Poor Poor Pitiful Me when I was in the Patagonia store in New York last September. I Shazamed it, and wondered how I’d never heard this song before. That’s the beauty of music and YouTube: there is always something new to discover.

For those who might be interested, Linda Ronstadt did a studio cover of Poor Poor Pitiful Me, which is arguably the more famous version.

I prefer Zevon’s, though.

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9 thoughts on “Cover Songs Done Live

  1. Watching Zevon ( he used to be good) got me thinking about nominative determinism. Zappa? Other artists lower down the alphabet? Because you’re last to be called at school roll you go off an do something different instead of architecture, engineering, accountancy?

    And (brain working randomly) the new Queen of France / granny grabber must be the first for about a century to have a full head of hair.

    Meanwhile the yanks haven’t elected a bald pres since Eisenhower, who came with a bit of cv.

    Puzzling.

  2. The Bluetones used to do TLC’s Waterfalls live, and that was great. They also covered the Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina”, Love’s “A house is not a Motel” and a few others whose names escape me.

  3. We used to have a band here we in Australia that used to passable cover versions on INXS songs after Hutchence wanked himself to death. I think they helpful called themselves INXS too, to ease any confusion.

  4. Hutchence departure is a frigging fine example of the immutable law of diminishing returns in action.

  5. @Bardon,

    It was great to watch them become a parody of themselves though.

    I do chuckle at bands who tour calling themselves a version of their old name for legal reasons. There’s about 3 UB40s at the moment and I’ve lost count of how many Fairport Conventions are in existence.

    There’s probably a new field of mathematics to be discovered here.

  6. But this must be the best of all time;

    Ah, I remember him from your blog!

    There’s about 3 UB40s at the moment

    There were a few Boney Ms until recently, too.

  7. Sex Pistols’ last live song; No Fun

    The best Sex Pistols cover by far was Eddie Cochrane’s Something Else. That cover stood on its own merits IMO.

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