When most bands start out it's only standard they throw a few cover songs into the mix of their originals. Lots of people like to hear something familiar that they've heard before, that's why cover bands are always a popular crowd-pleaser especially for things like weddings and socials. Sometimes it's hard for a band that plays all-originals to gain the trust of the audience, but if they're good they should be able to win over and convert these sceptics into fans. It really saddens me to see singers get famous performing other people's songs, kind of a slight step up from karaoke or American Idol.
Case in point, "Lady Maria", the 10 year old from my hometown that skyrocketed to international stardom after Lady Gaga viewed her video on YouTube of a cover of her song, Born This Way, and tweeted about it. I guess if this is your idea of stardom, having Lady Gaga tweet about you, drawing more than 20 million views on YouTube, appearances and interviews on Ellen, Good Morning America and Access Hollywood and singing on stage with Lady Gaga, then good for her. Lady Gaga's message on Twitter was, "This is why I make music. She is the future." In my opinion, if Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Maria Aragon are the future of music, then get me the hell out of here!...and give me bands like, Yo La Tengo!!
Beginning in 1996, Yo La Tengo started making annual visits to WFMU, an independent radio station in New Jersey to help out their annual fundraising campaign. Listeners who pledged money during the band's on air performances were offered a chance to request a favourite non-YLT song that the band would attempt to perform. This made for some interesting listening with the band valiantly trudging through the songs despite flubbed lyrics and missed chords. Lots of classic covers, as well as obscure and goofy tunes that really tests the bands knowledge of all kinds of music. This is truly a band that is more concerned about entertaining and showcasing their amazing musical skills than fame, fortune and international stardom, thought YLT does have a very dedicated cult following. The band released a compilation of their appearances (1996-2003) at the WFMU fundraisers on an album called, Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics, a very appropriate title! Yo La Tengo carries on this tradition to this day with their most recent session last week at WFMU...please support stations like this so we aren't left with only stations that cater to the "future of music"...!!
This recording is most of the songs from their appearance in 2000 (not sure of the exact date?).
YO LA TENGO
- Roadrunner (Modern Lovers)
- Return Of The Grievous Angel (Gram Parsons)
- Take Me To the Hospital (The Replacements)
- Sweet Lady Genevieve (The Kinks)
- Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This (Eurythmics)
- American Pie (Don McLean)
- Color Me Impressed (The Replacements)
- A Place Called Altamont (Nightmares)
- Rock The Boat (Hues Corporation)
- 19th Nervous Breakdown (The Rolling Stones)
- Too Many Creeps (Bush Tetras)
- Don't You Want Me Baby (Human League)
- Nothing (Fugs)
- Watching The Detectives (Elvis Costello)
- I've Got A Feeling (The Beatles)
- Top Of The Pops (The Kinks)
- Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (The Ramones)
- Needle Of Death (Bert Jansch)
- Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash)
- Panic In Detroit (David Bowie)
- Roundabout (Yes)
- Mendocino (Sir Douglas Quintet)
- Raindrops Keep falling On My Head (Burt Bacharach)
- Raw Power (Stooges)