10 songs you probably did not know were covers

Great songs you may not know by the original artists.

Bowling For Soup Performs At Ace Of Spades
Bowling For Soup Performs At Ace Of Spades / Tim Mosenfelder/GettyImages
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1985 – Bowling for Soup, 2004

I’ve only been writing these things for about a month so I don’t know if I have any regular readers. But I always wanted to write this: Regular readers will know I always try to include BFS in whatever I write. I mean, I’m about the biggest Dollyrots fan there is, and the Dollyrots are big BFS fans, so it figures.

“1985,” which laments how time has gotten away from Gen Xers, is Bowling For Soup’s best-known song. It has all the hallmarks of a Jarret Reddick tune, with its catchy pop-punk vibe, witty lyrics, and pop culture references. But he co-wrote this one with Mitch Allan, frontman of the band SR-71. They recorded a slightly less energetic version of the song just a couple of months before BFS did it. BFS added crisper “Woo hoo hoos” at the beginning and a fuller guitar attack. The song went from OK to genius.

One of the odd lyrical quirks in the chorus points out how the singer wants to return to 1985, the time of “Springsteen, Madonna – way before Nirvana.” Twenty years later Madonna is in the midst of a hugely successful tour. Springsteen just got nominated for a Golden Globe. And Nirvana…? Well, we all know what happened there. Time and perspective are funny things. Sometimes you don’t what something is when you’re living in the middle of it. Just like sometimes you don’t know that a current song will become a much bigger hit when some other artist records a cover, thus rendering the original largely forgotten.

By the way, Laura Nyro eventually did her own album of covers. It’s pretty good.

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