10 Covers That Improve On The Originals with Furnace & The Fundamentals
From DMA's to Jimi Hendrix, F&TF share some great covers ahead of Fringe Festival.
(Image: Pat Stevenson)
Furnace & The Fundamentals are six Sydney showmen with a penchant for party covers who are bringing their very specific brand of over-the-top antics to Fringe World Perth for two very special nights (January 21 and February 3 - tickets HERE). They only tackle the classics, and do them up right for an epic night of party. Think a mash-up DJ but with a live band. It goes a little something like this:
To get you in the mood, two members from the group, Digby and Mike, dive through some of their favourite covers, tracks that have improved on the original and become untouchable in their own right:
Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor (covering Prince)
Digby: One of those great songs you didn’t even know was a cover for half of your life. I think I liked it even more when I found out Prince had written it. Sinead’s version is definitely far more passionate and emotional though.
Mike: I know what you’re thinking…how can anything be better than Prince? Right. He is an absolute legend and this song is another great example. But just listen to what Sinead’s voice does to this song – it elevates it emotionally and the production adds a lot to this too, bringing another great Prince song to another level.
Believe – DMA's (covering Cher)
Digby: Who’d have thought a 90s Cher pop tune could sound so cool. DMAs proved that this song is still killer stripped back without all the echo and auto tune.
Always On My Mind – Pet Shop Boys (covering Willie Nelson)
Mike: I’m more of a music guy than a lyrics guy, but this song reminds me of the kinds of things you sometimes deal with being a touring musician…time away from home means time away from relationships. This song speaks to one of those fears of losing someone even though you’ve never stopped loving them. Pet Shop Boys deliver it perfectly whilst adding a toe-tapping beat and synth riff to bring it to a new generation of fans.
Valerie – Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse (covering The Zutons)
Digby: Originally I assumed it was a cover of an old 50s or 60s tune but upon looking up where it came from I realised it was a cool indie tune. Amy and Mark definitely capture a much more happening soul vibe and perform it probably the way it should be played. The original sounds like the cover!
Dancing In The Moonlight – Toploader (covering King Harvest)
Digby: A high school favourite but we were all too young to understand that a song this iconic could be a cover of an old 70s tune. Only discovered the original a few years ago. The lead line and the beat of Toploader’s version make it way more memorable.
Mike: What a tune! Smooth production and a couple neat changes to the arrangement and you have an unforgettable dancefloor hit. That intro is unforgettable. One of my favourites.
I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston (covering Dolly Parton)
Digby: You have to be a real Dolly fan to know this one. Dolly apparently fought very hard to keep the rights to this tune and a very smart decision it was as it became one of Whitney’s biggest tunes and one of the biggest power ballads ever. Whitney’s slight change to the chorus gave it a much bigger impact and Kevin Costner was doing great things for Power Ballads at the time.
Mike: The original is a beautiful song and Dolly sings it wonderfully. But Whitney’s delivery coupled with the production and slight changes to the arrangement turn this into the epic power ballad it was always meant to be. It’s got one of the most iconic drops in power ballad history – you know the bit I mean. It’s thanks to this that it’s one of the biggest sing-alongs at shows!
Respect - Aretha Franklin (covering Otis Redding)
Mike: The first time I heard Aretha sing was whilst watching The Blues Brothers movie and if you can believe it, I didn’t even know who Aretha was. That performance changed everything for me and I discovered the rest of her amazing recordings – I can’t imagine anyone doing this song better than she does. Same for pretty much everything else she’s done.
Twist & Shout – The Beatles (covering The Isley Brothers who themselves were covering it)
Digby: John Lennon famously hated the way his voice sounded on this track after a long studio session, but it was that gravel and horseness of his voice that made this tune so memorable. The production made it such a powerful version and of course the harmonies of The Beatles are always on point.
Mike: Full credit to The Isley Brothers for bringing the right vibe to this song, but there’s just something about the simplicity and power of The Beatles’ version that speaks to my inner party rocker.
Blinded By the Light – Manfred Mann (covering Bruce Springsteen)
Digby: Another song you have to go searching for to find the original. Fans of the Boss’ early years will probably argue differently but Manfred Mann’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s classic took the power of his great writing and brought in new production elements to make it a far more memorable tune.
Mike: I had heard this was a cover but it took me years to finally find the original (thanks Digby) and realise just how different this is. It’s a great example of an artist taking a great track and totally making it their own. I’ve always been fascinated by the production and playing on this one, love it.
Who’s Loving You – Jackson 5 (covering The Miracles)
Digby: To put simply, a 10 year old prodigy singing this live on the Ed Sullivan show with all the soul of a seasoned veteran. He captures all the pain and desire in the first line, it’s one of his best performances and everyone should look this up on YouTube.
Mike: To be honest, normally I would be completely bored by a song like this, but Michael Jackson not only makes this listenable, but it demands your attention and emotion.
Bonus: All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix (covering Bob Dylan)
Digby: Jimi had a knack for taking great Bob Dylan songs and making them unforgettable. He recorded it only six months after Dylan released his version and it became and instant hit.
Mike: Bob Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Put that together with one of the most compelling rock performers of all time and you have an unbeatable combination.
Follow Furnace & The Fundamentals: Facebook