Rhino’s Got You Covered: Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby, Morrissey, Linda Ronstadt, and Rod Stewart
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to dip into the Rhino catalog once again and dig out some cover songs that you may not have heard or, even if you have heard them, you might’ve forgotten. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, “Sing” (1975): In the mid-1970s, producer Ken Barnes talked Fred Astaire into coming to the UK and recording a couple of albums, but when Barnes found out that Bing Crosby would be across the pond at the same time, he talked Crosby into joining Astaire. Over the course of three days, Astaire and Crosby recorded 11 duets and also each recorded a song made famous by the other. Most of the selections were standards, but the notable exception was this track, made famous on Sesame Street and then made even more famous by The Carpenters.
Morrissey, “East West” (1989): Given all the buzz that Morrissey is getting at the moment for his impending new covers album, it behooves us to mention that it’s not as though he’s never recorded any cover songs before. For instance, when he released his 1989 single “Ouija Board, Ouija Board,” one of the B-sides was a Graham Gouldman composition made popular by one of the most famous Mancunian groups of the ‘60s: Herman’s Hermits.
Linda Ronstadt, “We Will Rock You” (1996): Not that Linda Ronstadt didn’t spend a significant portion of the ‘70s proving that she could rock, but if the idea of her tackling this Queen classic isn’t already unlikely enough for you, consider that it’s situated in the midst of songs like “Be My Baby,” “In My Room,” and “Baby I Love You,” and you’re, like, “Huh?!” But then you listen to the way she’s performing the song and consider the context – you know, she’s rocking the baby? – and you’re, like, “Oh, now I get it…”
Rod Stewart, “Weak” (1998): After having become a little too well known for releasing material that would play well on Adult Contemporary radio stations, Rod Stewart decided to rock out, and he did so by putting his own spin on some highly unexpected songs, including tracks by Oasis, Primal Scream, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, and The Waterboys. By far the most unexpected selection, however, was this Skunk Anansie song. Whether you think he did the original version justice or not, it’s still by far the hardest Rod had rocked in years.