Monday, May 30, 2011

Not All Tribute Albums Suck, A Spotify Playlist

The world already has far too many tribute albums - do a search of Beatles on Spotify and you will see. Normally they go in two categories: celebrity musicians doing half-hearted covers that only proved their ability to cash-in, and obscure bands doing even more sloppy covers that only live up to their obscurity. In most cases, the covers serve no more than a reminder of the greatness of the original artist.

Not for the albums in this playlist. When done correctly, tribute albums can make the familiar sound intriguing again (dub Pink Floyd), uncover the lesser-known gems (Caroline Now features many songs from Love You - the 1977 LP, despite being Brian Wilson's favourite Beach Boys album, remains virtually unknown to causal fans), introduce unfairly underrated artists to a bigger audience (all-star tribute to Daniel Johnston),  even transfer the original artist's appeal to a totally different fanbase (Badman Recording's tribute to John Denver and Bread).

Here's the Spotify playlist: Not All Tribute Albums Suck (725 tracks, 44 albums) This playlist works better in Album view. See full album list below, I linked the albums to Amazon where you can find reviews. Sadly the Elton John tribute album Two Rooms is not on Spotify yet, Kate Bush's cover of Rocket Man and her new album proved she can improve on perfection. Note that I only included albums by various artists (because I think diversity is what makes reinterpretations interesting), so some obvious choices are not here, like Mermaid Avenue, and one of my personal favourites: Bettye Lavette's Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook. Looking forward to your recommendations.

P.S. Thanks Tristan Watson for republishing my Sopranos playlists on ShareMyPlaylists, it has been in their charts for three weeks. If anyone wants to do the same to my others playlists, please feel feel to go ahead. Playlists are made for sharing, and I have no time to republish them myself for now. It would be much appropriated if you can also add a link to my original post. Thanks.

01, Glory of Gershwin, Tribute to George Gershwin

02, September Songs, Tribute to Kurt Weil

03, Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye, Tribute to Roky Erickson

04, Dub Side of the Moon, Tribute to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

05, If I Were A Carpenter, Tribute to The Carpenters

06, Be Yourself: A Tribute To Graham Nash's Songs For Beginners

09, Timeless: Tribute To Hank Williams

10, All Blues'd Up: Songs of the Rolling Stones

11, Paint It Black: An Alt Country Tribute To The Rolling Stones

12, Take Me Home: A Tribute To John Denver

13, Friends & Lovers: Songs of Bread

14, Beat The Retreat: Songs By Richard Thompson

15, Virus 100: Alternative Tentacles: Dead Kennedy Covers

16, Reproductions: Songs Of The Human League

17, For The Masses: An Album of Depeche Mode Songs

18, Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson

19, Caroline Now! The Songs Of Brian Wilson And The Beach Boys

20, Dressed in Black: Tribute to Johnny Cash

21, Anchored In Love: A Tribute To June Carter Cash

22, The Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage Of The Carter Family

23, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

24, Tower of Song: Songs of Leonard Cohen

25, A Nod to Bob: An Artists' Tribute to Bob Dylan on His Sixtieth Birthday

26, Exit Music: Songs with Radio Heads

27, Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs Of Warren Zevon

28, The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered

29, Sandinista Project, Tribute to The Clash's Sandinista

30, Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello

31, Chant Down Babylon, Tribute to Bob Marley

32, Marvin Is 60: Marvin Gaye Tribute Album

33, For Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson

34, Crayon Angel: Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill

35, Shining Bright: The Songs Of Mike & Lal Waterson

36, Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot

37, Kerouac: Kicks Joy Darkness

39, Adios Amigo: A Tribute to Arthur Alexander

40, Lonesome, On'ry And Mean: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings

42, Love Affair: Music of Ivan Lins

43, Sing a Song for You: Tribute to Tim Buckley

44, Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino


  1. A couple of Kraftwerk tribute albums are really good:

    Kraftwerk covers done in a Latin American style:

    Señor Coconut – El Baile Aleman

    Kraftwerk covers done in an orchestral style:

    The Balanescu Quartet – Possessed

  2. I arrange pop songs for orchestra. Great list here - you gave me a great idea of arranging a Fats Domino piece!

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