Monday, August 9, 2010

Camper Van Beethoven: Pictures of Matchstick Men

Last week, we looked at the Spectres, which eventually became known as Status Quo. I got thinking about Status Quo’s music and if anyone had attempted to cover one of their biggest hits – notably “Pictures of Matchstick Men.” In 1989, Camper Van Beethoven released their recording from “Key Lime Pie.”

This cover, while failing to chart on the mainstream Billboard Hot 100 chart, it scored a #1 slot on the “Modern Rock” chart. I am sure violinist Jonathan Segal is a much better player than is referenced in the song’s intro. In fact, during the middle of the song you can hear his ability to play well. That doesn’t stop me from thinking that the intro fiddle part sounds much like me playing the violin. The guitar at the end is also reminiscent of Richard Thompson’s style during his Fairport days.

The Original

While I didn’t buy this single on Janus Records when it was released in 1968, I did however buy “Down the Dustpipe,” which I heard while in Chicago during the summer of 1970. “Pictures of Matchstick Men” was their only US hit charting at #12.

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