Heart – Stairway To Heaven (Live at Kennedy Center in 2012)

If you’re going to cover “Stairway to Heaven” with fewer than 50 musicians, you’re wasting everybody’s time. That’s part of what makes this cover by Heart, Jason Bonham and a host of others so fun. They start out small, but by the end of the song, there must be 100 or so people on the stage.

It’s a very true to form cover, and the rendition seems to go flawlessly. You get some great audience shots, especially of the remaining band members, who are being honored at the event. The best audience moment is at about 2:08 in, when they pan to the president and the first lady. They’ve got their rock faces on. Outstanding!

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Gov’t Mule and Friends – I’d Rather Go Blind (Live in 2013)

“I’d Rather Go Blind” is one of the great blues ballads, covered repeatedly by all kinds of bands since it was first put on vinyl by Etta James in the mid sixties. She wrote the song with her friend Ellington “Fugi” Jordan while he was in prison, but for tax purposes her credit went to Billy Foster, her partner at the time. Which is a shame – you won’t always see her credited for it, but she did write it. Watch this performance and you’ll see James own it.

Here we have Gov’t Mule taking on the song, at Warren Hayne’s Christmas Jam in 2013. There were lots of guests on stage, including a horn section and vocalist Alecia Chakour. It’s worth a watch. I love that they could step smoothly from this into a cover of “War Pigs” if they wanted to. Not that they should, or would, but they could. Such is the versatility of the Mule. They can cover everybody.

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Tedeschi Trucks Band – Isn’t It A Pity (Live at Red Rocks in 2012)

Great cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity” by the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Red Rocks in 2012.

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Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers (Live at the Marque Club in 1971)

The Rolling Stones did a private show at The Marque Club in March of 1971. This was about a month before Sticky Fingers was released. Sticky Fingers was the first Rolling Stones record with Mick Taylor as a full fledged member of the band, and he’s featured prominently in “Dead Flowers”. Great backing vocals by Keith Richards. And because they’re in such a small club, it’s got a much more intimate feel than the stadium and arena shows we’re used to seeing.

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Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al (music video)

What a great video. Inspired lip syncing by Chevy Chase, the whole video shot in that pink room. And lines like this:

“Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly / Get these mutts away from me / You know I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore”

Great memories.

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Jerry Garcia Band – Stir It Up (Live in 1976)

A couple of things about this post. First, in a rare treat, Donna Jean Godchaux takes lead vocal on “Stir It Up”. I think there were one or two other songs on which she took lead vocals, but for the most part, Jerry sings the songs the Jerry Garcia Band plays.

Second, they’re playing on the S.S. Duchess in New York harbor. Which, of course, makes me think of “I’m On A Boat” by The Lonely Island. If you haven’t seen it, you should check out the video.

Finally, Jerry has a pretty interesting sound going for his “Stir It Up” solo. Hearing just that is worth the price of admission.

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David Bowie – The Jean Genie (music video)

“The Jean Genie” was released as a single in late 1972. It was the lead single for Aladdin Sane, and the photographer Mick Rock created a video for the song. It mixed live and studio footage, and it is a riot. Mick Ronson – the blonde lead guitar player – has the best guitar face in the history of rock and roll. Bowie is at his most androgynous. And then there’s the bass player – Trevor Bolder. That guy has the craziest sideburns ever. They’re from outer space. I’ve never seen anything like them.

Great song. Good video. David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars are in town! Check it out.

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