Established Songwriters who have done entire albums comprised of Cover Songs?

James Taylor was on the Colbert Report the other night promoting his new album Covers. The cleverly title album is filled entirely with covers of other people’s songs.

Got me thinking:
What other artists, after already establishing themselves with their own original songs, have put out albums entirely comprised of their interpretations of the works of other songwriters?
Elvis Costello did two: Almost Blue in 1981, covering mostly American Country Music
and Kojak Variety in 1995, covering mostly American Rhythm and Blues.

Sinéad O’Connor did three: Am I Not Your Girl? 1992, Jazz Standards
Sean-Nós Nua 2002, Irish Traditional Folk
Throw Down Your Arms 2005, Reggae Classics

The Ramones did one: Acid Eaters 1993, 1960s Rock

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs collaborated to put out: Under the Covers, Vol. 1 2006, 1960s Rock

I didn’t actually research this topic, the above examples are all found in my own CD collection- and there’s not a one that I don’t recommend, they are all great albums. I have a special fondness for the Sinéad O’Connor reggae album and the Matthew Sweet / Susanna Hoffs collaboration.

Other suggestions?

Tori Amos’s Strange Little Girls is a concept cover album - all songs written by men, about women, covered by a woman, of course. It’s kinda hit and miss, but the title track is excellent.

Metallica’s Garage, Inc.

The Smithereens have put out not one but two albums composed entirely of Beatles covers. Shawn Colvin has one called Cover Girl, though I think it’s pretty standard for folk singers to do cover albums.

What’s really interesting is when musicians cover another album from start to finish. Camper Van Beethoven did Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, The Walkmen did Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats and the first Smithereens album up there is a cover of Meet the Beatles. I remember a few years ago someone covered Bob Marley & The Wailers’ album Exodus start to finish but I can find anything about it online.

Tim O’Brien put out an album of Dylan covers called Red On Blonde in 1996. Overall it’s kind of hit or miss, but the cover of Señor is the best version of that song I’ve heard.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes do pretty much nothing else.

Nitpick: “comprised” is not interchangeable with “composed.” OP should read: Established Songwriters who have done entire albums comprising Cover Songs?
The most recent usage . . . whereby the passive form effectively means “the members comprise the team”, is informal and traditionally considered incorrect. It is an increasingly accepted usage according to the American Heritage Dictionary. However strictly speaking, a team comprises its members, whereas the members compose the team. There is no need to use comprise in place of compose. With regard to journalistic writing, the Associated Press Stylebook does not allow for such a substitution.

Cool, man.

Anyway, Yo La Tengo released an album called Yo La Tengo is Murdering the Covers! that consisted of cover songs as requested during I believe a telethon. Most of them are pretty piss poor, but if you’re a fan of the band its definitely worth a listen.

Swing When You’re Winning by Robbie Williams

Paul Anka has two: Rock Swings and Classic Songs, My Way. Both albums contain songs such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Black Hole Sun,” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You.”

Barry Manilow has The Greatest Songs of the Sixties and The Greatest Songs of the Seventies.

Rod Stewart, of course, has recorded four albums of The Great American Songbook, Thanks For the Memory, As Time Goes By, Stardust, and It Had to be You, as well as an album of classic rock, Still the Same.

Guns 'N Roses has released The Spaghetti Incident?

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded an album of duets called Last Man Standing which is mostly rock-n-roll covers.

Styx has their own cover album, Big Bang Theory, which has an awesome cover of “I Am the Walrus.”

And I nearly left out Aerosmith’s Honkin’ on Bobo.

Seems like every artist starts recording covers at a certain point in their career.

The last Corrs record ‘Home’ is made up entirely of covers of traditional Irish songs, and occasionally not so traditional (eg Thin Lizzy’s ‘Old Town’).

And along the same lines … Slayer also did an all covers record called something like ‘Undisputed Attitude’.

Nick Cave did ‘Kicking Against The Pricks’.

“Rock and Roll” by John Lennon and “Pin Ups” by David Bowie come to mind.

Annie Lennox had Medusa.

k.d. lang had Hymns Of The 49th Parallel, all covers of songs by Canadian artists.

Cat Power had The Covers Record.

Patti Smith had the brilliant Twelve. She now owns Smells Like Teen Spirit, as far as I’m concerned, and I never in a million years would have imagined that Within You, Without You could become such a beautiful song.

Hey, why are mine all ladies?

My favorite is a recent album from Rush: Feedback

Paul McCartney’s Run Devil Run has 15 songs, only 3 of which were written by McCartney. The rest were a variety of songs from the early days of playing in the Cavern and Hamburg.

Duran Duran - Thank You

Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club) released Music for Courage and Confidence, which included songs by Culture Club, Bill Withers, Anne Murray & Curtis Mayfield among others. He also released an album called The Ugly American, on which he ‘covered’ some of his own songs using traditional Greek musicians…

Dave Alvin released West of the West, an album of covers of songs written by Californians, including Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson & others…

At one time I think David Thomas (or maybe Pere Ubu) was rumoured to be doing a Beach Boys covers album, but I don’t think it ever happened. He has released a couple of their songs, though.

World Gone Wrong is an album of covers by a reasonably well established songwriter.

I wish one of them would be forthright enough to name one of those albums

I’m Completely Out of Ideas, So I Reckon I’ll Pull The Old “Standards Album” Move Out of the Hat

or maybe Prairie Home Companion, Here I Go

Of course not all of the previous examples fit that, but for songwriters (as opposed to just performers), it’s a cop out.

The Band did Moondog Matinee, an album of old rock and roll covers that they had played before they started writing their own material.

Joe Jackson recorded Jumpin’ Jive, a collection of swing tunes from the 40s.