Monday, March 26, 2018

Cover Wars: "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"

Cover Wars is an idea that I came up with years ago as a segment on the radio.  A DJ would play a song and then play a cover version of the same song and ask people to call in to vote for their favorite.  Back in 2011 I did a series of Cover Wars posts and recently I decided to bring the concept back, this time as a poll on Twitter.

This week we've got "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville."  Written and recorded by R.E.M., the song was the second and final single for the band's sophomore full-length Reckoning.  According to Wikipedia, the song was a plea by bassist Mike Miles to his then girlfriend to not move back to Rockville, MD.

J Church's recording of the song originally appeared on Surprise Your Pig: A Tribute To R.E.M. and happened to be the first thing the band ever recorded.  From -- 
From Lance's original J Church website: "Yes, what a way to start your recording career. A piece of poop tribute record to R.E.M. I love R.E.M. and the compilation seemed like a good line-up. How were we to know that they would all be sending in their worst possible songs? We covered Rockville as I have fond memories of seeing the band on the Reckoning tour, October 31st 1984 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was our first recording ever. I made up the back up vocals spontaneously in the studio... (A side note, I sing the shitty, hay fevered backing vocals on the Jawbreaker song). I don't know if this is still in print but it sucks anyway."
Lance's words in the sleevenotes: "I think I was a senior in high school when I saw R.E.M. It was Halloween of 1984 and I think they were on the Reckoning tour. I had a choice of R.E.M. or a hardcore show. I picked R.E.M. Thinking back it was probably the right choice."
The song then appeared on the excellent singles collection Camels, Spilled Corona And The Sound Of Mariachi Bands.

10,000 Manias also did a version of the song on the Candy Everybody Wants EP.  I am not including it in this week's Cover Wars not because it isn't good (it's very good) but when I think of this song I think first of R.E.M. and then J Church.

Here are this week's contenders:


J Church

Vote here --

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