Heart Shaped Box – Reimagined – Diamonds And Rust – Favorite Covers

Nirvana - Heart Shaped BoxI’ve seen a few posts on social media in the past two days about a cool version of “Heart-Shaped Box” where this young woman from Kansas (born in Hawaii) has really done a number to the tune. She’s reworked it and made it her own. I admire that. It’s good to see musicians put a twist on something rather than simply play it straight. This is one of the marvelous things about music. The same song can be reworked, redone, reimagined. It becomes something almost new and yet takes away nothing from the original.

This is not always the case, of course. I can think of White Lion completely ruining “Radar Love” once upon a time, and Joan Jett murdered “Dirty Deeds.” But sometimes it works, so without further ado, she goes by Kawehi, and here she is covering Nirvana with the help of a large bottle of red.

It’s very cool. She’s clearly got some talent. In some ways it reminds me of the end of “All Apologies” from the MTV Unplugged performance where the outro was a mantra-like chant of “All in all is all we are, All in all is all we are, All in all is all we are…” Good stuff there, Kawehi, makes me want to hear the original.

This has me thinking about my favorite cover songs. There’s Jimi’s “All Along the Watchtower” of course, The Doors “Back Door Man.” Too many to name I suppose, but one I’ve always liked is Judas Priest doing “Diamonds and Rust” by Joan Baez. I grew up listening to Priest, loving Priest, and then once while my family was driving to my grandmother’s house there was this soft acoustic guitar on the radio and woman’s voice, “I’ll be damned…” My brother turned to me and said, “Dave, this is that Judas Priest song!” Of course, we had it backwards, but I love what Priest did with it. They changed it. They made it their own, folk song turned metal.

But the lo! Look what happens in later years. They give it back. They strip it down to its acoustic origins. They mellow it out. But it’s still got Priest written all over it.

I could go on, of course, but I’ll stop at one more. This beautiful version of Moby doing a New Order song. What are your favorite cover songs? And I don’t mean where it’s pretty much note for note. I’m curious to hear things that have been absorbed by artists and turned into something new.

About davemusic

Dave O'Leary (davemusic) is a writer and musician living in Seattle. Horse Bite, his first novel, was published in October 2011. His second novel, The Music Book, a story inspired by the music he's played, witnessed, and written about here in Seattle, will be published this fall by Seattle-based publisher, Booktrope.