This mix all started with an article on Billboard.com that I sent to Jason Hare. It was about how the Who’s album of cover tunes (produced by T-Bone Burnett) is on hold until … well, no one really knows. Anyway, Jason and I had a back and forth about Who covers, and the next thing I know, I have this week’s Mix Six pretty much in the can.
“Dancing in the Street,” The Who (Download)
Do you ever get obsessed with a song and just have to hear the whole thing after listening to a snippet? Well, that’s what happened when Jason sent me a link for live version of “Dancing in the Street” the Who did in 1979. The sample is from an out of print EP called Wonâ€™t Get Fooled Again. Instead of doing the obvious and asking him for an mp3 copy, I spent way too much time trolling sites looking for the song. Alas, I came up short. But Jason eventually tracked it down through his own network of Who fans, and now you have a chance to hear it, too. Kids, what we have here is a very rare recording, so get it while it’s hot!
“Twist and Shout,” The Who (Download)
Remember when the Who called it quits in the early ’80s? Yeah, me too. They released what was supposed to be their last … album … ever (It’s Hard), embarked on a farewell tour, and were going to close out their career in style. But the lure of the dollar was too strong, and, well, the Who never really went away. For some reason, I thought this cover of “Twist and Shout” was much worse than I recall. Still, we get to hear John Entwistle really scream this song and (gasp!) sound much louder than Daltrey.
“Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting),” The Who (Download)
This CD came out when I was doing an overnight weekend shift at a “Lite Rock” radio station in San Francisco. Thankfully, I had long sets of music that I could pretty much ignore and crank up CDs (like this one) on the “Cue monitor” that the station would never play. The Who’s version of this classic Elton John song is just inspired. They say that if you’re going to cover a song, you might was well make it your own, and the Who succeeded at doing just that.
“Bony Moronie,” The Who (Download)
What I love about this cover of a Richie Valens tune is that Pete crunches a chord at the beginning, and they still used it in this compilation. I know Pete Townshend is known for being a perfectionist in the studio, but this goes to show that sometimes he’s not afraid to say “See, I fuck up on guitar, too.”
“Under My Thumb,” The Who (Download)
I often wonder what the Rolling Stones thought of this version. My guess is they loved it … when the royalty checks came in.
“(Love is Like a) Heat Wave,” The Who (Download)
Man, these guys like Martha and the Vandellas, and it’s not hard to understand why. The Who fancied themselves as R&B lads, so what better way to pay tribute to a style they loved than to cover R&B songs — okay, quite a few of them.
And there we have it, a mix of six songs the Who have covered, but not one produced by the lovely and talented T-Bone Burnett. I’m not sure what the band hopes to cover that they haven’t already (Maybe “All Out of Love” by Air Supply?), but perhaps Rog and Pete ought to remember that they’ve already done a fair share of covers and a new collection is not really necessary — well, to me anyway. What they ought to concentrate on is new material to erase the uneveness of their last CD, Endless Wire.