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Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Cover Track #1

Welcome to a new feature on Cover My Tracks that pulls your attention towards a new cover version.

I'm a little bit obsessed by them and with my fellow blogger, Will Communication, am in fact getting a book together on the subject. So that's where my head's at, and hence this.

We'll do our best to tell you where you can get the cover in question from, though we don't make any guarantees. Email us if you get stuck. Here's the first.

The above movie poster is, as you may have guessed, from the 1980s - 1987 to be exact. And it's for a movie called Dudes, featuring Jon Cryer (the weedy brother of Charlie Sheen in US sitcom, Two And A Half Men). Incidentally, the movie also features Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea. But that's not the point. The point is that I picked up the soundtrack on vinyl recently at Zavvi, for £2. It was a bizarre sale - they had dozens of different vinyls, the vast majority from the 80s, and all £2, brand new and sealed. Of course, I bought a lot. And of course, it's mostly shit. Especially Aretha Franklin's cover of Jumping Jack Flash, which will most certainly not be featuring in the Cover Track spot here.

But back to the Dudes soundtrack. The main reason I bought it was because it had the frankly ridiculous proposition of Megadeth covering Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Were Made For Walking. Who could possibly say no? I didn't, and here we are with the first ever Cover My Tracks Cover Track pick.

It truly is a ridiculous song but I love it for a couple of reasons. First, the fact that it sounds ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE THE ORIGINAL. That requires a special talent to take such a basic, catchy and singalong song, by one of the most respected songwriters the world's ever seen (Lee Hazlewood) and turn it into the four minutes of car crash audio that Megadeth pull out the hat.

I did a little digging and it turns out that Megadeth's singer, Dave Mustaine (who was in Metallica in the very early days, by the way), claimed his version to be more parody than straight cover. And then Lee Hazlewood complained about the song's "perversion of the original", which is pretty reserved of him in the circumstances. Mustaine, the wit, retorted that Hazlewood didn't dislike it enough to turn down the royalty cheque. Poor old Lee probably felt it was the very least they could do for him.

So there we go - Megadeth's These Boots Were Made For Walking. It might make your ears bleed, but try to see it as an education in the perils of purchasing cheap shitty vinyl from poorly named entertainment retail behemoths. Though speaking for myself, I kind of hope it's a lesson I haven't learned.

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