The BEST COVER SONGS of 2011 (The Year-End Review Awards)

By Chris Moore:

What better way to kick off a Monday at the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video blog than to unveil the Weekend Review’s picks for the top ten cover songs of 2011.  After all, this is kind of our thing.  And this has been a busy year for covers.  Not only were there two – not one, but two! – collections of Buddy Holly covers released as tribute to the legendary singer/songwriter in 2011, but there were also two covers EPs put out by Relient K.  This is not to mention Brian Wilson digging back to his childhood (farther back than the Gershwin brothers this time) for the inspiration to In the Key of Disney.

A regular amount of covers wasn’t enough for 2011.  No, no: 2011 needed more covers!  Now, as you’ll recall from our mission statement, it has always been the goal of this blog to put an end to the proliferation of bad covers on YouTube.  In keeping with that tradition, we will now take the time to recognize these non-YouTube covers that have demonstrated excellence this year, standing out from the pack of mediocre (or worse) ones:

1)  “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” – Cee Lo Green (Cover of Buddy Holly)

2)  “Caroline No” – America (Cover of the Beach Boys)

3)  “Here Comes My Girl” – Relient K (Cover of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)

4)  “Colors of the Wind” – Brian Wilson (Cover of the Disney song)

5)  “Baby” – Relient K (Cover of Justin Bieber)

6)  “Not Fade Away” – Florence and the Machine (Cover of Buddy Holly)

7)  “Interstate Love Song” – Relient K (Cover of Stone Temple Pilots)

8)  “It’s So Easy” – Paul McCartney (Cover of Buddy Holly)

9)  “Listen to Me” – Brian Wilson (Cover of Buddy Holly)

10) “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Brian Wilson (Cover of the Disney song)


Honorable Mention:

“Surf Wax America” – Relient K (Cover of Weezer)

“Not Fade Away” (Buddy Holly, Rolling Stones Cover)

By Federico Borluzzi:

Acoustic cover of “Not Fade Away,” a song written in 1957 by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty and covered by the Stones in 1964. I had the Rolling Stones’ version in my mind while I was covering it.  I play my acoustic guitar and my G-tuned harmonica.


For his second Guest Session, Federico has chosen one of the all-time great cover songs.  After all, Buddy Holly may have written “Not Fade Away,” but the Rolling Stones took it to the next rock’n’roll level as their first single.

A few other artists and bands have covered it since, like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen.

Although I enjoy the Rolling Stones version better, there really is an innocence to the Buddy Holly & the Crickets version from 1957.  I’m listening to it as I type, and that guitar sound may be simple, but the Fifties band vibe is inimitable.

So thank you, Federico, for bringing your recording of this classic song to the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover song music video blog!

“Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly Cover)

By Chris Moore:

I had such fun going back in time with “Dock of the Bay” that I decided to go even farther back… to Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue”! This is a 1950’s hit that is one of those songs everyone just seems to know. It only made it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957, but this song has been in so many movies and played on the radio so much since then…

I actually learned a lot by recording it today. I realized, for one thing, that the song is deceptively simple, in the sense that Holly’s voice is so distinctive and really makes it the hit that it was. Also, there’s no question that it was simple to play, seeing as how it uses only A and D chords, with the occasional E and maybe an F thrown in. This might seem like a good thing, but it only puts the pressure on to make a simple song sound interesting and fun to listen to!

I hope you enjoy this and would love you to leave a comment! Then, of course, don’t forget to come back to tomorrow for an all-new session from the library of Jeff Copperthite!

See you next session!

“Maybe Baby” (Buddy Holly cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Hello everyone- it’s a Tuesday, so that mean’s it’s another edition of The Laptop Sessions and another acoustic cover song from me, Jim Fusco! Tonight, I bring you an oldie, but a goodie in Buddy Holly’s classic tune, “Maybe Baby”.  You know, it’s funny- I can almost picture how Buddy wrote this song.  He started playing an A chord, followed by an F#m chord, which is a nice change.  I can tell that he really liked it and kept playing it over and over until the tune of, “Maybe baby, I’ll have you…” came into his head.  The rest of the song is pretty formulaic after that.

But, that’s what I love so much about these very early rock’n’roll songs- it must’ve been great to have a wide-open slate because no one had done it before!  So, even the simplest chord changes (like the one I just mentioned) became opportunities for new rock songs.  I’m sure someone used that progression in jazz or another form of earlier music, but since Buddy was such a pioneer, he was the first to utilize such chord progressions in rock music.

Now, of course, Buddy Holly had the advantage of being one of the first to write modern rock’n’roll songs in this style, but it wasn’t easy.  Having a blank slate seems great- “Oh, okay, I have every chord and no one has taken any of the potential melodies yet- this will be easy to write a song!”  But, you have to remember that Buddy, unlike the rest of us, didn’t have a lot to draw from.  He didn’t grow up listening to similar music like I did.  He had to do it first, which is infinitely more difficult to do than when you have some prior knowledge to draw on.

So, even though “Maybe Baby” may not be the hardest or most complicated song, I still give the man all the credit in the world because he paved the way for so many others.  I plan on starting a little Buddy Holly collection- I saw a really great CD retrospective once with all of his original, earliest recordings.  That blows me away- there’s some songs in there from the early 50’s!

For this video, I tried to sing the song true to the original, but it’s tough to do that on a Buddy Holly song without having it sound like an imitation.  Of course, I never want that.  So, I tried singing just like myself, but threw in a few “hiccups” of Buddy Holly’s style in there.  It was a lot of fun to record!

The busiest month of the year so far…and it’s only the first one!  I keep telling myself, “Well, as soon as (insert major event here) is over, then things will go back to normal.”  But, as soon as home life returns to normal, work life goes crazy, and vice-versa.

I hope you have a great week and stop back, if for nothing else than my next post next Tuesday!