Black Flag

Louie Louie: our escape from cover misery

Covers are notoriously difficult to do right. This week Lorde’s cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Rules the World” was released. To be honest, it’s impossible for me to properly assess a cover of one of my favorite songs ever, but I genuinely like it (kind of). But how could anything ever possess the magic of the original?

It got me thinking, though. What are covers that really do work? There’s one song that has been done and re-done countless times: the magic “Louie Louie.” For nearly six decades, the Richard Berry song has been reworked in ways that actually surpass the original – or at least stands up to it .

The playlist above is only a smattering of what has been recorded over the years, but they’re personal favorite highlights. A song as good, simple and just plain right can be re-envisioned (Toots and the Maytals), hacked at (Black Flag), and still sound fucking great.

Also, if you like a bit of fun fact with your music soup: The 1963 Kingsmen version was subject to an FBI investigation for alleged obscene lyrics. Oh the grace and wonder of the American intelligence agency.

In between what’s true and false

There’s something always so great about a giant music picture book. You can lie on your bed and dream about days gone by that you were never a part of, but the pictures are of history, not fiction. A Scene in Between: Tripping Through the Fashions of UK Indie Music 1980 – 1988 offers not only a incredibly long-winded titled, but a dreamy world of 80’s unsung heroes.

Author, or I guess photo-collector, Sam Knee says in his introduction that “It’s by no means an ’80s indie who’s who, purely a glimpse into the visual racket of the era and all its canoodlings. Mode over music.” What Knee gives us is actually a very sweet insight to a rather deceiving music scene. Musicians and fans alike donned 60’s vintage and anoraks. The looks were sweet and docile, but there was often more bite than the twee exterior. You may know what I’m talking about, if not just shut up and listen to the Vaseline’s “Enter the Vaselines.”

It seems strange that much of what was going on at this point in time was around that of the Hardcore scene in the States. Can you imagine a swinging party with Black Flag and Talulah Gosh? Rom-com of the year!

There are some rather nice interviews interspersed with the photographs. One of the highlights is an interview titled “A sartorial ramble with bohemian style icon Stephen Pastel.” The indie-darling/sex-symbol Stephen Pastel rambles off rather uninteresting insights about leather trousers and cord jackets, but I suppose this is what you’re asking for.

If you’re really into 80’s indie (like I used to be), you’ll probably recognize many, if not most of these photographs. But there’s always something very nice about carrying around a nice heavy book with glossy pictures. The nice touches are with the postcards written from Morrissey to photographers. They’re classic Mozzer and actually made me chuckle.

It’s not really worth buying for the droning interviews (I just would rather not read anything more written by any member of My Bloody Valentine, thank you). What A Scene does offer is an illustration of a part of music history that has mostly been skipped over.

The NME have a nice selection of the photographs on their site here.

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