Sonic Youth used to joke about re-recording the entire Beatles’ White Album. Pussy Galore, which included ex-Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert, took them at their word and released a limited edition cassette with a track-by-track remake of the Rolling Stones’ greatest album, Exile on Main St.; it can be downloaded here:
(Sonic Youth offshoot Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album is not their version of the Beatles’ album, though it does contain two covers of Madonna and one of Robert Palmer.)
Although multi-artist tribute compilations of classic albums are fairly common, single artist covers of entire albums are far less frequent, perhaps reaching their zenith with Janice Whaley‘s The Smiths Project, where she recorded the Smiths’ entire catalog, multi-tracking her voice to replicate not just vocals, but also the instrumental backing.
Flaming Lips have now covered two complete albums, first Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and now the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as With a Little Help from Our Fwends. One of those “fwends” is Miley Cyrus, with whom the Lips recently appeared on Conan:
Many cover artists are too respectful, sacrificing the potency of the original songs by focusing too much on capturing exactly how they sound. Others are too disrespectful, killing their idols by trashing their songs. Flaming Lips’ approach is juuuust right, finding the happy medium between the two. They clearly love the original album, but they don’t hesitate to remake it for a new time. Today I hear Sgt.Pepper‘s traditional British music hall roots far more than what was considered psychedelic when it was released in 1967. Flaming Lips’ version reminds us of just how trippy the album once was and can still be.
On a related note, am I the only one who thinks Wayne Coyne . . .
. . . is looking more and more like Roy Wood during his Wizzard period?