Tribute Albums-Good and Bad

Collections of one group’s music sung by others in tribute. There are many of them out there, but some stand out(for good or ill). Just finished listening to A Lowbudget Barrel Of Monkees(2013) and I was pleasantly surprised by a few of the tracks. Bonnie Gordon pulls a bit of soul out of “I Want To Be Free”, “You Just May Be The One” is given new life by Capital Six, and “Ziltch” by Chuck U and Lady Di is how I envision the Monkees would have done it today.
Another favorite of mine is the soundtrack of All This And World War II with an amazing list of performers giving The Beatles their due:
Ambrosia - Magical Mystery Tour
Elton John - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
The Bee Gees - Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window and Sun King
Leo Sayer - I Am the Walrus, Let It Be and The Long And Winding Road
Bryan Ferry - She’s Leaving Home
Roy Wood - Lovely Rita
Keith Moon - When I’m Sixty-Four
Rod Stewart - Get Back
David Essex - Yesterday
Jeff Lynne - with a Little Help from My Friends/Nowhere Man
Lynsey de Paul - Because
Richard Cocciante - Michelle
The Four Seasons - We Can Work It Out
Helen Reddy - the Fool on the Hill
Frankie Laine - Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
Brothers Johnson - Hey Jude
Roy Wood - Polythene Pam
Status Quo - Getting Better
Henry Gross - Help!
Peter Gabriel - Strawberry Fields Forever

The soundtrack to Sgt. Pepper? It belongs out in the cornfield forever.
So…got any tribute albums you love or hate?

One that bored the crap out of me was Spin The Bottle-An All Star Tribute To Kiss. It had a good line-up of rockers, but they all did their best Kiss imitation-no imagination, no variation, no personalization.

As it happens, the entirety of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was IMHO very well covered by the Easy Star All-Stars as reggae pretty well.

Tom Waits now has six tribute albums recognizing his talent. The latest is Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits.

Previous albums are; Anywhere I Lay My Head, New Coat Of Paint, Step Right Up; The Songs Of Tom Waits, Temptation, and Wicked Grin. Waits fans likely know all these albums, but more infohere.

I loved their take on “A Day In The Life”.

Musically, I really like some of the rearrangements (esp. “With A Little Help From My Friends”, and having a woman sing “She’s Leaving Home” added something)

And the little lyrical tweaks for being a reggae dub are fun, like little easter eggs.

Lovely Rita: Lovely Rita, meter maid, may I inquire discreetly - when are you free to smoke some tea with me?

A Day In The Life: I woke up, fell out of bed, dragged my fingers through my dreads

Any of them strike you as exceptionally good, bad or boring?

They’re all pretty much excellent. I’d say the worst are Anywhere I Lay My Head (all vocals by Scarlett Johansson) and Temptation (all vocals by Holly Cole). The other four are all different artists.

“Beat the Retreat - Songs By Richard Thompson”. Some great RT covers by X, Graham Parker, David Byrne, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Blind Boys of Alabama, and many more.

Two of my favorites:

Till the Night is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus

Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert - Or as Neil Young called it, “Bobfest.”

This Dylan tribute album is kind of along those lines as well.

Ooooh! Gotta check that out. There are two albums of prominent reggae artists covering Grateful Dead songs, too.

I love the 1992 Sgt Pepper tribute by Big Daddy, the retro band, which recreates the entire album in various 1950s styles. Johnny Mercer doing “A Little Help from my Friends,” Buddy Holly doing “A Day in the Life,” etc. The best is “Within You Without You” in the style of a beatnik poetry reading, backed just with bongos and string bass. It works better than the original.

Three of my favorites:

Sweet Relief - A Benefit For Victoria Williams (1992)

This is an outlier, because Victoria Williams wasn’t very famous at the time and her oeuvre was still small, but it was a benefit album for her to pay her medical bills because she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The cream of American independent and alt country acts of the time, with a surprise appearance by Lou Reed which is very good. I have to confess that I never really liked Victoria Williams’ voice, but the album shows that she’s a great songwriter. One of my favorite albums from that time.

The Return Of The Grievous Angel - A Tribute To Gram Parsons (1999)

Emmylou Harris is all over this album, and of course that’s a good thing. All the usual suspects, some of them the same as on the aforementioned “Sweet Relief”.

The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (2011)

Unpublished Hank Williams lyrics, set to new music by the artists in a congenial way, ranking from veteran greats like Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard to contemporary artists like Norah Jones or Jack White. They all do a very good job at emulating the Hank Williams spirit. Overlooked by Bob Dylan himself.

The first that comes to mind is “Two Rooms” which is a tribute album of Elton John and Bernie Taupin songs. Some really good covers including The Who doing “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”

“A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn” contains the likes of BB King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton doing some decent covers (but I prefer the SRV versions still).

Goes all the way back to 1979. At the time I thought the idea of a tribute album by an established star was a silly idea but, man, Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson was pure genius.

My favourite is Tribute On Nutz: A Tribute To The Slipnutz featuring Steve Winwood, Patti Smith, Coldplay, Los Lobos and John Mayer (Dolly Parton refused to participate).

I know, or at least know of, lots of tribute albums, but they seem to be a relatively recent phenomenon. This thread got me wondering what was the first tribute album that was actually called that (“A Tribute To…”).

Looking through Wikipedia’s List of tribute albums, the earliest I can see is Beyond The Wildwood - A Tribute To Syd Barrett.

I don’t know if it exactly counts as a “tribute” album as such, but how about Stay Awake, which has various artists covering songs from classic Disney films.

If you’ve never heard Tom Waits’ cover of “Heigh-Ho”, you’re in for a treat. :smiley:

There were a ton of heavy metal ones in the '90s and '00s - the Cleopatra label practically specialized in them for a while, mostly as an example of bad ones since they were churned out so fast and many of the artists were no-names, but anyway, the two Judas Priest: Legends of Metal albums on Century Media stand out as particularly good. They got a lot of good bands for them. I also like the Tribute to Accept, 19 tracks is a pretty generous helping of songs and again, they got a lot of good bands.

BIG thumbs up for The Replacements’ drunken take on “Cruella de Ville.”