More favorite pop songs redux...
Anne Murray (pictured with, from left, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper and Mickey Dolenz) "You Won't See Me": Anne once personally told me an often-reported story about how Lennon told her that it was his favorite remake of a Beatles song. If it's good enough for him...
David Cook "Always Be My Baby": I bet Mariah Carey never even realized that she'd written a stalker song from the stalker's point of view (see first video below).
Dolly Parton "I Will Always Love You": OK, so Dolly wrote and recorded it in 1974, but the version she did for the 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas trumps both her own original and Whitney Houston's bombastic megahit Bodyguard remake. (P.S. Dolly's saloon-country take on the traditional folk classic "The House Of The Rising Sun," a Top 20 country hit in 1981, is my favorite.)
Goo Goo Dolls & Fred Durst: A band I never liked and the frontman of a band I never liked (Limp Bizkit) united to create a truly magical moment on the post-9/11 telethon America: A Tribute To Heroes (see second video below). I cried. En serio. I'm sure anyone who saw either of the towers go down en vivo, as I did, bawled like a baby.
Great White "Once Bitten, Twice Shy": A solo track from Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter reworked into my favorite '80s hair metal hit.
Juice Newton "Break It To Me Gently": Absolute torch and twang. A huge improvement over Brenda Lee's 1962 No. 2 hit, which already was pretty formidable.
Olivia Newton-John "Come On Over": Anyone who dismisses the Bee Gees as disco relics should remember that their songs have been covered successfully in multiple genres, including pop, R&B (Destiny's Child's "Emotion"), new wave (Diana Ross' "Eaten Alive") and, here, first-rate country.
The Pointer Sisters "Fire": Bruce Springsteen tried to reclaim his composition on his 1985 live album, but this smoking song will forever be a Pointers joint.
Trailer Bride "Fujiama Mama": Old-school country transformed into eerie cutting-edge alt rock for the tribute album Hard-Headed Woman: A Celebration Of Wanda Jackson. The first time I heard it was on the jukebox at Phoenix, a divey rock & roll gay bar in New York City. (Damn, BA could sure use one of those!) I texted myself the title so I wouldn't forget to download it on iTunes when I got home.
Vanessa Williams "Work To Do": It takes guts to tackle the Isley Brothers. It takes something more like immense talent to match them.