I play a lot of great cover songs, but they do not always translate into a great cover song performance. Among my duo and trio band, I also play as a dueling pianist. Quite often we rush through music to ensure that everyone’s request is played, and even though that can be a lot of fun and spread great energy to the crowd, I’d love to give some songs more time.  However, with the infinite catalog of music available, that is not always possible. Regardless, there is magic that can occur in any situation.  And it is most often unrehearsed.

Time and time again, it seems that the covers that blow me away are those that surprise me, draw me in, and keep me there. This group (Lake Street Dive) does just that on their new album Fun Machine!

Great Cover Songs

So how is that accomplished?  It certainly depends on a variety of factors; a major one being who your audience is.  In general speaking, a great cover song needs these special elements:

  • Originality – This is not a necessity.  There are great covers that sound very much like the original, but if you throw in a twist, and play it in your own way, people will notice.  You’ll draw them in, and now you have to keep them drawn in.
  • Talent – Even this (believe it or not) is not a necessity.  Personality can compensate and even be more powerful than talent.  But if you mix both talent and personality together, people will listen no matter what you play or sing.  Amaze them with your skill and personality.
  • Performance – One of the things I like best is a natural, effortless feeling.  I love to see an artist completely immersed in their art form, that you know they live and breathe what they are doing.  I love to see an artist enjoying their own show.

Again, these are just my own thoughts on what makes a great cover song.  Certainly, there are other elements.  But take a look at the video below, and you’ll certainly see all of the things I just mentioned.  Hopefully it will draw you in and keep you there.


Do You Know Of A Great Cover Song?

Please share them with us in the comments. There is nothing better to share than great music. In the meantime, take a closer look at Lake Street Dive.  You can buy their new album, Fun Machine, here.

Other songs on the album include:

Faith – George Michael
Clear A Space – Lake Street Dive
I Want You Back – Jackson 5
Rich Girl – Hall & Oates
This Magic Moment – Ben E. King
Let Me Roll It – Paul McCartney