Ambivalent Academic tagged me with the cover meme running around: best and worst cover ever.
I was torn, oh, so torn. I mean, everybody knows that the best cover ever is a twofer: “Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go.” Okay, a lot of people don’t actually know that those were both covers. (Trivia: because Soft Cell released “Tainted Love” as a single with “Where Did Our Love Go” on the B-side, they didn’t make any money off of all those sales. Money flows to the writer, not the recording artist for that.)
And of course, there are Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, who do mostly thrashed up covers of beloved classics. And the fact that there are very few Beatles songs I don’t prefer performed by someone else.
In the end, it came down to the bad cover. As much as I love Satchmo, I firmly believe he did the world a great disservice when he jazzed up “Mack the Knife.” Some things aren’t meant to be pretty. Some people (and characters) aren’t meant to be antiheroes. MacHeath is one of those. Kurt Weill knew that singing about something wasn’t the same thing as endorsing it, but you’d never know that from the long parade of jazz covers.
The full version is well worth a listen. It’s one of those songs that always lives on my Nano, no matter what else rotates on and off.