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.
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.
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.
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.
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…”).
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.