I had great fun writing about Tori Amos’s cover versions in a blog post last year. Now, the venerable Daniel Boudreaux is polling Toriphiles for their favourite Tori covers in order to construct a definitive list. Voting closes in a couple of days. Here’s my selection, accompanied by a few musings. Click on the titles for links to the performances.
1. New Age (by The Velvet Underground)
Tense and dramatic, stirring and cathartic; chills and liberates at once. It’s the moment when the girl takes her glasses off. All your tomorrows start here.
2. Daniel (by Elton John)
A lot of loss. A trace of envy. A burst of anger. A renunciation. And redemption, perhaps.
3. Angie (by The Rolling Stones)
The clouds all disappear.
4. Running To Stand Still (by U2)
Nobody’s favourite track from The Joshua Tree. But somehow, this song makes a great deal more sense to me with Tori singing it.
5. Real Men (by Joe Jackson)
Some of the girls were boys.
6. Smells Like Teen Spirit (by Nirvana)
7. Do It Again (by Steely Dan)
Echoey, rumbling processed drums, fuzzed-up bass, skittish, jazzy piano and a dizzyingly unpredictable vocal performance transform the silky-smooth “Do It Again” into a more unsettling item than we could have ever imagined. Wheel turning round. Beautifully.
8. Famous Blue Raincoat (by Leonard Cohen)
So it was May 2009. I got off a plane from Canada and went to see Tori perform. This was the first song she played.
9. ’97 Bonnie and Clyde (by Eminem)
The view from inside the trunk.
10. I’m On Fire (by Bruce Springsteen)
Per Christie Keith :“Bruce Springsteen may be an honorary lesbian just for writing so many love songs that become even hotter when sung by a woman.”
11. London Girls (by Chas & Dave)
Jolly times around the ol' Joanna.
12. Time (by Tom Waits)
So who knew Death could sound this beautiful?
13. Operator (by Jim Croce)
That is the way it feels.
14. Raining Blood (by Slayer)
Metal and classical, going steady.
15. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane)
The highest bough.
16. Rattlesnakes (by Lloyd Cole)
The lyric goes: "All you need is love, is all you need." I hear: "All you need is Elvis on your knee."
17. I Ran (by A Flock of Seagulls)
“This could really be crap.” Well, no chance, as it happens.
18. After All (by David Bowie)
19. Dream On (by Aerosmith)
Live and learn. From fools and from sages.
20. All Through The Night (by Jules Shear)
Sometimes, when it goes wrong, it goes so very right. (3:09)
21. If 6 Was 9 (by Jimi Hendrix)
When pianos try to be guitars… they very often succeed.
22. Livin’ On A Prayer (by Bon Jovi)
So, in the 80s, songs with stories and characters in them could still be great big hits.
23. Father Figure (by George Michael)
Sometimes love can be mistaken for a crime.
24. Heart of Gold (by Neil Young)
Neil's placid ballad bares its teeth.
25. Let It Be (by The Beatles)
When you find yourself in times of trouble.