Take Cover! The Dead Weather Vs. Tubeway Army

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.

The Cover:

The Original:

4 replies on “Take Cover! The Dead Weather Vs. Tubeway Army”

two totally diff genres. one, pure new wave, the other dirty alt-rock. both perfectly hit the mark. just makes it even better when one great song, in an alternative music genre, is covered in another alternative genre just as effectively.

Love Numan. Jack White’s alright, but this cover seems pointless. Chris Whitley did a truly brilliant and genuinely inspired version that was released soon after his passing. It’s on YouTube, of course, look it up!

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