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by Jim Allen

June 8, 2014

Covers by Classic Rockers

by Jim Allen  |  June 8, 2014

In our mind's eye, we tend to envision classic rockers in a Mount Rushmore-like scenario, with regal, immutable visages that seem as though they're almost as old as the earth itself. But even larger-than-life figures such as Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones didn't emerge fully formed -- like everyone else, they were deeply influenced by their own musical heroes. And there are plenty of recorded instances of classic rock legends paying tribute to their influences, whether it's Cream covering Chicago blues kingpin Willie Dixon's "Spoonful," The Grateful Dead kicking into country mode with Marty Robbins' "El Paso," or Neil Young unleashing his all-covers album, A Letter Home. Sometimes those covers have eclipsed the originals (Santana's hit version of Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman") and sometimes they've brought obscure tunes to an expanded audience (David Bowie's interpretation of Ron Davies' "It Ain't Easy" on the former's game-changing Ziggy Stardust album). But they always reveal at least as much about classic rock's kings and queens as those iconic artists' own songs.

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