Monday, May 10, 2010

Blues Traveler: Imagine

John Lennon’s “Imagine” is one of those songs in the pantheon of rock and roll that should be left untouched and never covered by anyone at anytime. I certainly can understand this view and would have thought that an adequate cover of Lennon’s classic hit could never be recorded. Some would even view such a vain attempt as nothing short of sacrilege. Although nothing could ever replace Lennon’s original, Blues Traveler released an interpretation of the song that, while not being an exact copy (thank goodness), needs a listen or two in its own right.

From the tribute LP, “Working Class Hero,” I really like this cover and the thing I really like is the subtle interplay between John Popper’s harmonica and Ben Wilson’s organ during the verses - not to mention Popper's solo - which is fantastic. Popper is probably the most proficient harp player in the business today – not only is he talented, he has a distinct sound that can be recognized anywhere. In addition, the primary instrument in this rendition moved from piano to guitar on their cover - and thus, provides enough differences between the original and cover that gives a level of distinction to the Blues Traveler version.

Lennon’s Imagine

Rolling Stone listed “Imagine” at #3 of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it represents the three songs by Lennon slated as shaping rock and roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2005, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation named Lennon’s “Imagine” the Greatest Song of Past 100 Years. Likewise, the Recording Industry Association of America rated “Imagine” at #30 on the list of the top 365 songs of the 20th century. The single charted at #3, and the album of the same name topped the charts during 1971.

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