You probably have never heard of these people before, but their love of the music is obvious. They are not in the Limelight on a stage adored by millions, sporting big bling or getting chauffeured limos to take them shopping – they are in everyday life with day jobs, mortgages and car pools. And they absolutely nail these songs, each in their own way. This list is not about reproducing the studio song, it’s about how everyday people share their music.Note: This is a video post. For anyone using a mobile device to access this post, you may not see the actual video, depending on your service. And if you do see the video, it may use a lot of bandwidth to view from a mobile device.
No professional tribute bands included – just regular folk. Thank you to YouTube for allowing us to see these musicians doing some of our favorite songs.
10. YYZ (Rush) – Amerii
There are a lot of people out there doing this song and doing a great job of it. Tough tune to play – I believe it was written to showcase the incredible talent of Neil Peart, the drummer in Rush, and one of the best in the business. This cover version is my favorite because it is original, and all being done by one person – an 11 year old girl! The song is all being played by her. Watch her feet and hands as she plays all the parts: left hand bass, right hand keys/guitar, feet drums. Her brain has to be working overtime to coordinate all that at once. Amerii – truly, you rock! Listen to the original here .
9. Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas) – Amerii
This is the same girl as the first video, only one year before the YYZ performance, I had to include this also just due to sheer talent and jaw dropping ability of a 10-year old. Sure, there are a lot of kids in YouTube world doing some pretty amazing stuff, but not too many who can pull off this kind of one-man show. And this is no easy song to play either. My only criticism would be that the guitar sound on the keyboard sounds a bit too generated, but really not a big deal. Once the song gets going, she really nails it with feeling, which is really the key. There may be a lot of people who can play the notes, but she really captures the song, and I have no idea how a 10-year old can have this kind of passion and feel for the music, but she does. Amazing. Listen to the original here
8. Eruption (Van Halen) – Bobby Yang
Yeahhh!! This guy just makes you want to scream “Yeah!”. There are dozens of ripping guitar shredders out there who do this song to a “T”, but this one stands out from all others for obvious reasons, and so it made this list for sheer originality and ballsiness (is that a word?); the talent is a gimme. First time I saw this I was blown away, and each time I watch it I continue to be awed – how can someone do this on a violin?? No effects, no electronics – just a bow and wood. This is the coolest violin since Paganini. Looks like he is having fun too, which makes it equally fun to watch. Definite star quality for Mr Yang — thank you for sharing. Listen to the original here .
7. Tonight’s the Night (Neil Young) – Neil Young’Uns
This could be one of the most emotional songs ever written. Neil Young wrote it about a roadie with his band who died of heroin overdose, and the mixed emotions of sadness and anger really hit hard. Its not easy to sing Neil, especially with the feel of the song and it?s message, and these guys nail it. Larry, the singer, even looks a bit like Neil (dig the flannel). I was going to post their version of a more popular, better known song, like Old Man or Sugar Mountain, but they did this so well it had to be the one. This band plays in the Toronto club scene for anyone who lives there – they put on a good show with a lot of deep cuts, definitely a must see. Listen to the original here.
6. Thick as a Brick/Aqualung (Jethro Tull) – Jeff Donohoe / Mike Grimes
Two guys playing in their living room recording themselves – love it! First part of Thick as a Brick (the acoustic parts) integrated with a cool arrangement of Aqualung. The whole arrangement is beautifully put together and performed by this duo. Great guitar picking and the vocals hit the right timbre. The bass player actually plays the classic Aqualung guitar solo – sounds great. And I love the faces the bass player makes while playing; I dont mean this at all as a dig, you can just tell he is totally into the music. I almost expect him to stand up at the end at strike the classic Ian Anderson “one legged court jester” pose. Listen to the original here.
5. All Right Now (Free) – Silver Hammer
Two guys, three instruments, and a whole lotta sound. And you can see the living room chairs behind the singer – playing and cutting some tracks at home after work, that is what this post is all about. Larry Curtis, the guitar/bass/singer on this track, has a bunch of videos posted on YouTube, which admittedly I have watched and inspired by for several years. It was not easy picking one for this post, as he has some seriously high quality covers of a lot of songs. I think that he joins up with other players virtually, and they cut songs without actually being in the same room, emailing sounds files and such. Once again, regular people doing extraordinary things. If you dig this, it is worth checking out his other stuff. Listen to the original here.
4. Karn Evil Nine (Emmerson, Lake and Palmer) – New Fossils
Sound quality is a bit sketchy on this one – sounds like it was recorded on a hand cam at a picnic in the park (just give it a little volume). Apologies in advance for that, since I did select this for this list. But personal bias steps in: I love this song and it is somewhat off the beaten path of the typical rock covers that you normally see. This is not a song that you hear covered often – was cool that what appears to be a local “garage” band did such a good job with it, which made it list worthy. Listen to the original here.
3. Saturday Night Special (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Poyzyn Whyskey
It just wouldn’t be right to have a list of everyday people in this category without a Skynyrd cover. As much as any band that has ever rocked this planet, Skynyrd represented the common man, the working class hero, and brought us into music that we could all relate to. Along with bands like AC DC, they gave us true balls-out rock and a massive song catalogue. This everyday people band really get the Skynyrd sound- you can feel it hit your spine when they start to play, and the singer has just totally got it nailed, like Ronnie Van Zant is hiding in his vocal cords. Looks like one awesome backyard BBQ. Listen to the original here (whoa – serious arena rock!).
2. Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin) – The Pitch
These guys do a decent job with this classic song from Zeppelin’s fist album. Straight from the basement, you can almost hear mom call down that dinner is ready while these guys rock out and crank up the volume to drown out the ‘rents! Listen to the original here .
1. Heroes (David Bowie) – Rockband
Decent cover of a song that is very hard to capture well done by an Italian band at a local concert. I don’t know how to say “garage band” in Italian, but these guys get warmed and really get the song going as they start to feel the groove. Listen to the original here or here. Heroes – everyone on this thread and the many, many that are out there playing , singing and jamming. Thanks to all for your music and making all of us “regular Joes” realize that you dont have to sell a gazillion records and beat up a paparazzi to make cool music and have fun doing it.