When is a cover song better than the original? Only you can decide. This week the Dead Weather takes on Tubeway Army’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” MAGNET’s Edward Fairchild pulls the pin. Take cover!
Gary Numan’s first number-one single in the U.K., “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” was born from the lucky combination of a lack of musicianship and songwriting ability. In an interview, Numan said, “You couldn’t dance to it, and it didn’t have a singing chorus; instead, it had a spoken part, like two different middle-eights, really. Everything about it was wrong in terms of having a hit single, yet it did what it did. Really, if you think about it, the song came about through my lack of songwriting prowess, because I couldn’t finish two songs, so I stuck them together and created the song. I can’t step away from that and say what a great songwriter I am, because it’s quite the opposite. Someone with a better songwritng ability than me would have made two songs instead of one. I was also lucky with the playing; one day I hit a wrong note, which was slightly flatter, and it suddenly made the track grate a little bit. And I thought, ‘I prefer that actually.'” Jack White’s Dead Weather covered the track for a b-side to its debut single, “Hang You From The Heavens,” last year. The Dead Weather’s second album, Sea Of Cowards, hit stores yesterday.