Wipe Off The Dust: Tributing Michael Jackson...Correctly

Monday, June 29, 2009

Since Michael Jackson has passed, a lot of long-lost cover songs have come bubbling to the surface not to mention everyone and their mama producing tributes left and right. There have been a few that were done immediately after the announcement (side-eye to Diddy and the Foolish Brigade) and they were less than stellar. Yes, it is tricky to give a tribute to one of the greatest singers of our time, but looking at this from the remakes prespective, the King of Pop has gotten re-done quite nicely by others. We are all pretty familiar with Mariah Carey's execution of the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" with once back-up singer, Trey Lorenz. Fall Out Boy did a decent cover of "Beat It" awhile back, as Alien Ant Farm are known for their cover of "Smooth Criminal", and frankly, not much else. Then there was SWV, who were guided by a young Pharell Williams whom decided to mix in "Human Nature" with their hit, "Right Here" for a 90's staple. Also, I mentioned last week, about Chaka Khan just taking it to the limit with her rendition of "Got To Be There", which was criminally not done last night at the BET Fail Awards. As you can see, we've had our fair share of MJ covers, but now that he's gone, the covers seem much more bittersweet as we are reminded of the music he touched us with, and also that even, try as they might, its impossible for the artists to capture the magic of MJ. Still it doesn't hurt to delve into rendition bliss, as there are a few MJ covers that have caught my attention and need to be mentioned. As there will no doubt be a surge of cover material concerning MJ over the next couple of months, I'm going to take the time to highlight three MJ covers that I particularly like, and actually would love to hear done live at the upcoming tribute concert that is in planned production at the moment. Here's how to do an MJ cover correctly....

Erykah Badu & The Roots Take Us To "Where You Are": Recently, this has become a favored cover, as Erykah Badu and The Roots performed one of Michael's early solo hits, "I Wanna Be Where You Are" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week. Head nod to blog partner in crime, Pinboard for introducing me to this piece of perfection that should be on a summer soundtrack in the near future.

Alicia Keys and "Human Nature": Possibly one of my favorite Michael Jackson tracks (you'll hear my gush later...) gets a orchestral homage by the piano princess. I cannot place when and where she did this rendition but that doesn't really matter, what matters is that Alicia does a wonderful job and shows us how beautiful "Human Nature" is classical wise.

James Morrison Looks Into "Man In The Mirror": You know I love James, and that he can do no wrong to my ears. Here's an oldie in-studio recording of him doing the powerful "Man In The Mirror". A monster song in Michael's catalog (penned by the fabulous Siedah Garrett), that James does justice too which makes me co-sign that he and his guitar should be at the upcoming tribute concert.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE JAMES! Hope he tours again soon :( This version of "Man in the Mirror" is DELECT!


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