As winter fast approaches I think it’s time to curl up and warm the soul with another batch of Eurovision covers, brought to you by, amongst others, a plethora of Asian divas, a South African hunk and a Spanish senorita. Enjoy!
Original: 2010, Azerbaijan, Safura (5th)
Cover: Lena Valaitis “Ich Will Alles”
I’ve never particularly liked “Drip Drop”. While everyone else was raving about it I just thought – meh. I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe it’s because I was so enamoured with “Satellite”. Or it could possibly be due to Safura’s vocals being as emotive as someone’s big toe. Or it might just be that I was expecting a performance on the Beyoncé scale of spectacular. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this version of “Drip Drop” by the German singer Lena Valaitis. The 1981 Eurovision runner up brings a sense of depth and feeling which is lacking in Safura’s original. This is all the more impressive considering she’s singing beside a holiday resort pool while two randomers swim in and out of shot every so often.
“Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son”
Original: 1965, Luxembourg, France Gall (1st)
Have you ever looked at Cezar and thought, boy that man needs a wife? Well on the off chance that you have, I’ve found him the ideal woman – Lori Lewis the American lead singer of the Swedish band Therion. As you can hear, she has a voice which is almost as high pitched as Cezar’s. And like the unbelievably popular Romanian she seems to be on the scary side of bonkers. As for this cover of France Gall’s classic, well … to be honest I was too busy imagining situations where Lori and Cezar had high pitch sing offs in the kitchen until one of them explodes (listen to Arcade Fire’s version instead to avoid such disturbing thoughts).
“It’s My Time”
Original: 2009, United Kingdom, Jade Ewen (5th)
Cover: Lin Yu Chun
Speaking of shrill vocals, I introduce Lin Yu Chun. Now most people would consider him to have an extremely high voice, but after Cezar Eurovision aficionados would beg to differ. However, Lin shouldn’t worry, maybe Cezar and Lori will adopt him and show him how it’s done. And then they can murder “It’s My Time” all over again as one happy family.
Original: 1969, United Kingdom, Lulu (1st)
Cover: Lucía Pérez
Ok, enough of the imaginary soprano families. I think it might be beginning to get a bit annoying. But not half as irritating as Lucía Pérez’s 2011 Eurovision entry “Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao”. I swear, if I ever hear another blast of “Ouo uo uo ouo uo uo” again it’d probably be 100 years too soon. Thankfully, Lucía’s version of Lulu’s classic isn’t nearly as bad. Admittedly, the opening English verses are a bit ropey, but once Lucía switches to Spanish midway the performance becomes quite enjoyable.
“What if We”
Original: 2009, Malta, Chiara (22nd)
Cover: Lee Scott “Vandag”
You may remember that in the last edition of “Uncovered” I was a little critical of Lee Scott’s version of “Me and My Guitar”. Well I’m glad to say that I have no such criticism of his cover of “What if We”. I would even go so far as to say that this is better than the original. Sorry Chiara, but if Lee had been on the Moscow stage instead the song would definitely not have ended up 22nd. Oh, and thanks to Arianna who shared this with me via Twitter.
“Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu”
Original: 1958, Italy, Domenico Modugno (2nd)
Cover: Vitamin C “Volare”
“Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu” is probably the most covered Eurovision song of all time. We’ve already heard David Bowie’s version from the 1980s. But there are more recent covers of the track, such as this one by Vitamin C from “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” soundtrack. If you want to get the full experience, you can see the actual scene by clicking here.
Original: 2004, Ukraine, Ruslana (1st)
Cover: Ho Quynh Huong “Vu Dieu Hoang Da”
Ruslana proved to be a style rival for Wilma Flinstone when she rocked stone age chic back in 2004. But whoever said that “Wild Dances” needed to be prehistoric? Vietnamese superstar Ho Quynh Huong certainly hasn’t interpreted it that way. She’s more of a jungle queen meets Vegas showgirl. This gives the song a much more glamourous vibe, primadonna rather than hunter gatherer. And who could object to that?
Original: 1974, Sweden, ABBA (1st)
ABBA are undeniably the most successful Eurovision act of all time, both critically and commercially. However, is “Waterloo” the best ever winner? The reason I ask is because of the dearth of decent covers. I’ve already complained about the version recorded by Meryl Streep and friends. But I’d retract all that criticism in an instant if it meant that the universe would make this aural monstrosity, by the 1980s girl group Bananarama, disappear. The ladies seem to be having a great time. Unfortunately, your ears won’t. I blame Wiwi reader Tiggeh for bringing this to my attention.
Original: 2004, Sweden, Lena Philipsson (5th)
Cover: Darin “Det Gör Ont”
There are ways to sample Michael Jackson, and there are ways not to. We’ve already seen the wrong approach thanks to Ell and Nikki. Courtesy of Darin we see how it should be done, as he uses the guitar riff from “Black or White” in his version of “It Hurts”. During his interval performance at this year’s first semi I was slightly baffled as to why he was there, and rather impatient for him to finish so that I could hear Agnes. However, after hearing this cover I understand. Darin has real star quality and Sweden could send much worse to Eurovision next year.
Original: 1979, Germany, Dschinghis Khan, (4th)
Cover: Berryz Kobo
For anyone who thought the original “Dschinghis Khan” was a little hyperactive, brace yourselves. This version by the Japanese girl group Berryz Kobo is the sonic equivalent of washing down a packet of Skittles with a can of Red Bull. There is a slightly more sedate version but for the full whack of crazy you have to watch this one, which also incorporates aspects of the original. The result is a cacophony of frantic brilliance.
So what do you guys think? What covers/samples/remixes have I left out? Let me know in the comments below. And click here to see some of the Eurovision covers we’ve covered previously.