The Wright Stuff

Donnie Wahlberg approves this post.

Donnie Wahlberg approves this post.

Welcome to the final Monday of Summer!  Just like the most overrated season of the year, the countdown that has kept you entertained since the days when there was still snow on the ground is also about to mercifully come to a conclusion.  It’s time for the next to last entry in The Nest’s Top 30 Cover Songs of All Time countdown!  We’ve made it all the way up to #2, and thus far, my tribute to pop song recycling has largely been dominated by the decade of my youth, the 1980’s, and the immediate years surrounding it.  We haven’t seen a single song from the current century since the first half this series… so wouldn’t it figure that DJ Scratchy and the Sponkies will get to press play on a more modern CD this time around rather than another dusty old vinyl record…


#2. “Love Is Alive” – Joan Osborne

In 1975, an artist by the name of Gary Wright released an album titled “The Dream Weaver” which the following year would spawn the two biggest hits of his otherwise anonymous career.  Gary took us to an astral plane in the album’s title track, which made it all the way up to #2.  That was followed up with “Love Is Alive,” which also made it up into the first loser position of the Billboard Hot 100 a few months later.  Wiki credits Wright with helping give the synthesizer a more prominent role in rock music, and that makes him practically a hero to me… I don’t care what those so-called music purists think about synth pop.

Ody is so glad I retired the keyboard I couldn't play a few years ago.

Ody is so glad I retired the keyboard I couldn’t play a few years ago.

Joan Osborne is perhaps one of the most star-crossed pop artists to ever try and find success in the music biz.  Not only did she manage to slot herself as a one-hit wonder, but most people wrongly attribute that one hit to a more popular artist who never even recorded it!  Joan’s only Billboard entry, her 1995 #4 hit “One of Us,” came out the same year Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” was taking the country by storm… and since Joan kinda sounds like the angsty little YCDToTV alum, a lot of people just assume it was Alanis wondering what it would be like if God was one of us…

That probably somehow fits Alanis' definition of ironic.

That probably somehow fits Alanis’ twisted definition of ironic.

Poor Joan needs some love, and she’s going to get it from The Nest!  The countdown committee of Me, Myself And I ranked her 2000 rendition of “Love Is Alive” as the second best cover song of all time.  Even though I totally love Gary Wright’s original, Joan managed to somehow make it even insanely better!

I would have never, ever known this song even existed had it not been a staple of Mecca Radio during the first half of the 2000’s.  What a totally kickass, funky, soulful take on what was already a pretty damn good song to begin with!  Rather than hold that love for the original against Joan in ranking this song, I instead gave her immense credit for finding a way to somehow improve on it!  Even if we can’t all agree it trumps the Wright version, I can’t imagine there’s anyone out there who would dislike the Joan Osborne take.

Well, except for the Pope maybe in Rome...

Well, except for the Pope maybe in Rome…

Twenty-nine songs down, just one more to go!  Are you ready to find out what cover The Nest has ranked as its number one of all time?  Let’s put 168 hours on the clock and return next Monday for the countdown’s thrilling conclusion….


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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18 Responses to The Wright Stuff

  1. I never knew this existed. Wow. The girl can sing. I will miss this series. I always learn something new.

    And speaking of cats… your cats are so sleek and shiny. Oh man, they are cute.

    • It’s funny how much of my musical knowledge I can pass on solely because I learned it from 17 years of listening to retail radio. The Mecca music will continue on Mondays after the countdown ends, and I’ll come up with a new countdown with a different theme sometime next year!’

      I love how shiny black cats always look, especially when photographed. Though Ody thinks he always glows…. typical cat!

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I like Joan Osborne but nothing can beat the trippy Gary Wright version.

    • It’s funny… when I went to listen to Gary’s version again a few weeks ago (And probably for the first time in a couple years), I realized I liked it even more than I thought I did. Still not as much as I prefer Joan’s version, but an odd instance where a cover song I actually like gave me more of an appreciation for the original as well…

  3. fanrosa says:

    Maybe Joan could commiserate with Meredith Brooks, since Prof. McGoogle seems to think that Alanis Moorriisseettee also did Bitch…..

    Also, dude! What do you have against the 70s??

    • If it’s female, angsty, and from the mid 90’s, it must be Alanis. And Alanis isn’t even all that… I like “You Oughta Know” and that’s about it from her.

      And you know how much I love 70’s music! I like to think the songs from that decade were so good that they provided ripe opportunities to be covered even better…

  4. gentlestitches says:

    She wins and my money is on Pope Francis liking it too. ❤

  5. markbialczak says:

    Joan’s blues growl beats Gary’s dream weave by far. The Pope would say so, too, if he cared of such important stuff as best cover songs of all time. Perfect timing, Bill!

  6. AND there’s a new Frisbee Wednesday this week. I’m doing it for you, because you deserve it! Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. Where are the bright leaves? We got the cooler air. I like that, but where are the colors? Not even in Vermont. They are hiding. Late or not at all???

    • I saw that, and I’ve been thinking of my entry all week. It’ll probably be another “baseball pic that I’ll try to put a non-baseball spin on”… but since my final game of the year is tomorrow, that will only be fitting…

      I do not know where the bright colored leaves are… perhaps they are wherever my acorns have gone. Two straight years with nary a nut from my oak tree! That after only one fruitless year of the previous five…

  7. Ally Bean says:

    Didn’t know about Joan’s version. Like it much better than the original. If this is #2, then cannot imagine what to expect next week with #1.

  8. crimsonowl63 says:

    Nice funky version! I have never heard this. I love the Gary Wright version, but this is super good. Can’t wait to find out what’s number one.

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