Let’s talk cover songs. From bar bands to superstar hit makers, artists of every genre have done them (some better than others); and while the list could go on and on, we’ve narrowed it down to 10 favorites, in no particular order, from soul artists throughout the years.
From D’Angelo’s debut album, this soulful remake of Smokey Robinson’s quiet storm classic from 1979 features a groovy rhythm and lush string section that blends perfectly with D’Angelo’s smooth falsetto.
Definitely a deviation from the original recording by the Beatles, EWF sped up the tempo, added some serious horn runs, and made this song their own–taking it to the top of the R&B chart in the process.
“This Woman’s Work” – Maxwell
This song, originally recorded by Kate Bush, showcased Maxwell’s vocal dexterity and was a concert pleaser on his first tour. He later recorded a studio version on his 2001 LP entitled Now.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Aretha Franklin
This one has been covered by countless artists, from Willie Nelson to The Supremes, but Aretha’s rendition of this song by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel is straight out of the gospel handbook. It won Aretha a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1972.
“Georgy Porgy” – Eric Benet
A cover of the 1978 hit from the band Toto, from Eric Benet’s top ten album A Day In The Life. Eric delivered his signature lead while Faith Evans provided the background vocals, sung by Cheryl Lynn on the original version.
“Who Is He And What Is He To You” – Me’shell Ndegeocello
This song made it to number one on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart in 1996. Me’shell stayed true to the original but added a nice swing with a tight bass groove, giving a new sound to a Bill Withers hit from 1973.
Who better than rocker Lenny Kravitz give us a head bobbin’, hand clappin’ version of The Guess Who’s hit from 1970? Turn up the volume at the end and check out the bass groove underneath the funky rhythm guitar.
“I Can’t Help It” – Maysa
Known for her vocal stylings for the British band Incognito as well as her solo work, Maysa adds a jazzy flavor–complete with vocal acrobatics–on this song written by Stevie Wonder and recorded by Michael Jackson on his Off The Wall album.
“Creepin’” – Luther Vandross
A remake from Stevie Wonder’s landmark release Fulfillingness’ First Finale (say that one fast three times), Luther’s impeccable rendition of this song made it a quiet storm favorite back in the mid 1980s.
“Summer Breeze” – The Isley Brothers
This remake of a classic tune from 70s soft-rock duo Seals and Croft is a soulful interpretation that ends with a face melting guitar solo from Ernie Isley.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter; sometimes both at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.MontroseMusic.com and on visit him online at Facebook.